From www.transparency.org (check it out for the details/methodology/notes)
"The Corruption Perceptions Index is a poll of polls, reflecting the perceptions of business people and country analysts, both resident and non-resident. This year's Corruption Perceptions Index draws on 18 surveys provided to Transparency International between 2002 and 2004, conducted by 12 independent institutions."
Transparency International notes that it includes only 146 countries as there is not enough data for many countries. It is interesting to observe the listing of the least corrupt countries:
2. New Zealand
3. Denmark & Iceland
11. United Kingdom
13. Austria & Luxembourg
16. Hong Kong
17. Belgium & Ireland & USA
22. France & Spain
29. Oman & UAE
31. Botswana & Estonia & Eslovenia
and let us look at Latin America in particular
41. Costa Rica
51. El Salvador
60. Belize & Colombia
62. Cuba & Panama
87. Dominican Republic
114. Honduras & Venezuela
122. Bolivia & Guatemala
I don't know if one would go so far as to call it a correlation but it does seem that the less well off, the poorer a nation is the more corrupt it is...Chile's position is a remarkable achievement in a continent rampant with cronyism...
And whats with the United States? I thought the US was tops at everything.. the "envy of the world" as Bush said with respect to our health care "system" (45 million uninsured...oh, i guess they do not count!)
It might be interest to correlate GNP per capita with the corruption indices and see what happens....