World Audit Democracy Rankings Amended

New Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International

Our data partners Transparency International, have in late January 2017 issued their most recent Corruption Perceptions Index enabling World Audit to amend its 2017 World Democracy data here in this issue. The link below gives the updated four divisions listing those 154 nations with a minimum one million population that World Audit monitors. These tables now show the amended Corruption rankings and the revised overall World Democracy rankings that result.

Summary of Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2016

Americas: From the Panama Papers in April to the record US$3.5 billion Odebrecht settlement in Brazil in December, 2016 was a good year in the fight against corruption in the Americas. But there is still a long way to go. Read more

Asia Pacific: Unfortunately, the majority of Asia Pacific countries sit in the bottom half of this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Poor performance can be attributed to unaccountable governments, lack of oversight, insecurity and shrinking space for civil society, pushing anti-corruption action to the margins in those countries. Read more

Europe and Central Asia: There are no drastic changes in Europe and Central Asia on this year’s index, with only a few exceptions. However, this does not mean that the region is immune from corruption. The stagnation also does not indicate that the fight against corruption has improved, but rather the opposite. Read more

Middle East and North Africa: Despite the political changes that shook the Arab region six years ago, the hope for Arab countries to fight corruption and end impunity has not seen any progress yet. This explains the sharp drop of most of Arab countries on the 2016 index – 90 percent of these have scored below 50, which is a failing grade. Read more

Sub Saharan Africa: 2016 saw elections across the African continent with the results providing a good reflection of corruption trends in the region. In Ghana, for example, voters voiced their dissatisfaction with the government's corruption record at the polls where, for the first time in Ghana's history, an incumbent president was voted out. Read more

For the Full “Corruption Perceptions Index” of January 2017 go to

…and how does this affect world democracy as a whole?


Readers may recall that World Audit has Four Divisions, with 30 nations this year in the 1st; and 6 in the 2nd Divisions; all of which are considered by our criteria to be fully democratic. World Audit is as old as the century and although change has been gradual, to be able to record 36 fully democratic nations out of 154 (populations exceeding one million), is as good as it has ever been. 

But that leaves 118 that are not democratic! 

Division 3 with 35 listed could at a stretch, be considered as a ‘grey area’ from which upwards (and downwards) movement takes place, yet even excluding these , it still shows with the 83 listed in Div 4, that over half of all nations listed in the report are simply not democratic. 

It painfully illustrates the vast divide in rankings as is detailed in our Four Divisions (linked below).
   Click on the Countries listed in the tables for that country's page which holds more details and reports.

The criteria determining in which of the four divisions a nation is placed are ‘Political Rights’ and ‘Civil Liberties,’ as assessed by Freedom House (the world’s first NGO). The rankings within each division are based on Freedom of Speech measured by Press Freedom; and the Perceptions of Corruption ranking, as reported by Transparency International. 

Our Third Division numbers 35 nations which, whilst not democratic by these measurements, have the most potential to improve and become promoted (alternatively capable of backsliding in civic standards and being demoted).

The Fourth Division easily and depressingly the largest, with 83 nations (more than half the nations in the world), simply are not democratic. By being in Div. Four they self-evidently fail the criteria of having acceptable political rights and civil liberties. They are not equivalent in flaunting democratic norms, but as they descend in ranking from 72nd to 154th many are characterised as having state-controlled media and no protection for freedom of speech, to the contrary it is suppressed; and unsurprisingly their societies and governments are shown to be deeply corrupt. Their civic societies by numerous economic studies tend to show a shared pattern of tiny but extremely wealthy elites, closely integrated with tightly held political power holders, dedicated to their own survival in control and resisting all but the minimal sharing of true democratic freedoms.

The sidebar tables additionally list nation states in their capacity as members of various world organisations:- OECD; NATO; the G8; which show them in that different perspective.
Similarly regional groupings: The European Union; Latin America; the African Union; the Arab League; APEC; ASEAN; are useful for additional detail. For example the Arab League includes no democracies at all, whilst the European Union of 28 members, currently has the top leaders and many of the world’s most democratic nations. Yet five are missing from the world’s top 36 of Divs 1&2 (being Latvia 37th; Romania 42nd; Hungary 44th; Bulgaria 47th; Greece 52nd).

On the World Audit League Tables pages (linked below) the application of the new corruption figures on Divisions 1&2 show that all 36 listed remain in these top two Divisions with some small changes in rankings: Denmark and Finland still share joint 1st, Sweden is 3d, Norway from 3d to 4th; Switzerland from 6th to 5th; Netherlands from 5th to 6th; Australia from 12th to 11th; UK from 12th to 11th; USA now 15th was 16th. The 8 listed nations of Div 2 show no changes in rank. 


Clive Lindley