Ranking Government Corruption and Waste in America

In looking through the 2013 – 2014 edition of "The Global Competitiveness Report" from the World Economic Forum, I found a bit of interesting data that I wanted to pass along for your illumination.

 
To complete its annual analysis, The World Economic forum used survey results from 13,638 business leaders in 148 countries for an average of 94.7 respondents per nation.  The survey is divided into fourteen sections as follows:
 
The respondents then rank their nation on these issues on a scale of 1 to 7 as shown in this sample question:
 
A score of 1 represents the worst possible situation and a scale of 7 represents the best.  The largest number of respondents in 2013 was from the United States with 598.  China had 364 respondents, Canada had 133, Germany had 170, Russia had 294 and the United Kingdom had 1118.
 
In this posting, I want to focus on how the 598 business leaders from the United States feel about the key areas of corruption in government and government trustworthiness and effectiveness in general.
 
Here is how America compares to its peers when it comes to corruption (i.e. the diversion of public money to companies, individuals or other groups), keeping in mind that a score of 7 means that corruption does not occur and 1 meaning that it occurs all of the time:
 
 
I found it rather interesting that America's corporate leadership gave the U.S. a score of only 4.6, putting it in 29th place behind a number of Middle East nations including Saudi Arabia, the UAD and Oman and just ahead of much-beleaguered Georgia.  The United Kingdom comes in 13th place with a score of 5.7 and Canada comes in 19th place with a score of 5.3. 
 
Here's how America compares to its peers regarding public trust in politicians, again, keeping in mind that a score of 7 means that the ethical standards of politicians are extremely high and 1 means that they are extremely low:
 
Again, its interesting to note that the United States scored only 3.3, putting it in 50th place overall.  Rather surprisingly, this ranking suggests that American executives have the same level of trust in their politicians as those living in Iran and Liberia and less trust than those living in Kazakhstan.  Canada comes in 15th place with a score of 4.5 and the United Kingdom comes in 22nd place with a score of 4.2.
 
Here's how America compares to its peers when examining the use of irregular payments or bribes connected to imports and exports, public utilities, annual tax payments, awarding of public contracts and obtaining favourable judicial decisions with a ranking of 7 meaning that such actions never take place and 1 meaning that such actions are very common:
 
Once again, it is interesting to note that the United States comes in 38th place with a score of 4.9, the same ranking as Jordan and well behind Georgia, Rwanda and a wide selection of Middle East nations including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  
 
Here's how America compares to its peers when looking at whether or not government officials show favouritism in the awarding of contracts and the formation of policies with a score of 7 meaning that favouritism never takes place and 1 meaning that favouritism is always shown:
 
The United States has an extremely poor rating in this metric, coming in 54th place with a score of 3.3, tied with Zambia and Cyprus and just ahead of Nicaragua and Lesotho.  America's rating is well behind the United Kingdom (17th place with a score of 4.3) and Canada (20th place with a score of 4.2).
 
Lastly, here's how America compares to its peers when looking at the degree of waste in government spending with a score of 7 meaning that government is extremely efficient in providing goods and services and reducing waste and a score of 1 meaning that government is extremely inefficient:
 
In this metric, the United States comes in with a ranking that puts it in the bottom half of the 148 country sample, scoring 3.1 which puts it in 76th place, tied with nations including Iran, Albania and Senegal.  By way of comparison, Canada comes in 24th place with a score of 4.1 and the United Kingdom comes in 39th place with a score of 3.7.  Apparently, the degree of ineffective spending by governments in the United States is of great concern to America's executives.
 
While the rankings in this analysis reflect the opinions of the world's corporate elite, it is interesting to see that America's corporate leadership does not express a great deal of confidence in the U.S. government.  With gridlock in Congress and constant partisan bantering about the debt ceiling and growing level of the federal debt, perhaps there is a good reason for their negative opinions.  After all, issues related to government effectiveness and efficiency have a substantial impact on competitiveness and, ultimately, productivity.
 
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