The study of corruption in the developed world by economist Ian Senior awards Olympic-style medals for corruption at different levels of government and society, so that corruption by Presidents and Prime Ministers results in a gold medal and corruption by lesser politicians and officials leads to the award of silver or bronze medals.
According to this method, at the head of the medal table France receives four gold medals, Japan three gold medals and Italy two.
The UK lies in fourteenth place, with no gold or silver medals, but three bronze.
The study also shows that corruption has significant negative economic and social consequences. It is not the case that corruption helps to lubricate the wheels of trade, as has sometimes been claimed. Rather, corruption makes society poorer by misdirecting resources to the already wealthy and powerful and making goods and services more expensive than they would otherwise be.
According to Senior: ‘Corruption is a cancer. Cancer destroy individual bodies, corruption destroys institutions and societies. The elimination of corruption is an important step to making the world more prosperous and more democratic.’
Read the full study here.