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Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
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Richard L. Cassin
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Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
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Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
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Marc Alain Bohn
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Bill Waite
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Shruti J. Shah
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Russell A. Stamets
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Eric Carlson
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Clean air and dirty pols don’t mix

Over the years, we’ve looked at the correlation between graft and war, debt problems, failed states, earthquake damage, the rule of law, press freedom, and air disasters. Now let’s look at environmental stewardship.

The Environmental Performance Index is produced by Yale University, with help from Columbia University and the World Economic Forum. It measures and ranks the way countries take care of the environment — pollution controls, water management, sanitation, forestry, agriculture, and so on.

Here are the top 15 countries on the Environmental Performance Index, with their rank on TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index in parentheses:

1 Switzerland (7)

2 Luxembourg (11)

3 Australia (26)

4 Singapore (5)

5 Czech Republic (57)

6 Germany (12)

7 Spain (40)

8 Austria (26)

9 Sweden (3)

10 Norway (5)

11 Netherlands (8)

12 United Kingdom (14)

13 Denmark (1)

14 Iceland (12)

15 Slovenia (43)

Their average rank on the Corruption Perceptions Index is 18.

And here are the bottom 15 countries on the Environmental Performance Index, followed by their rank on the CPI:

164 Myanmar (157)

165 Mauritania (119)

166 Madagascar (127)

167 Burundi (157)

168 Eritrea (160)

169 Bangladesh (136)

170 Dem. Rep. Congo (154)

171 Sudan (174)

172 Liberia (83)

173 Sierra Leone (119)

174 Afghanistan (175)

175 Lesotho (55)

176 Haiti (163)

177 Mali (127)

178 Somalia (175)

The bottom 15 countries on the EPI have an average CPI rank of 138.

*     *     *

The correlations aren’t perfect. Some countries are better at fighting graft than pollution, and other countries do better keeping the environment clean than keeping their pols and bureaucrats honest.

But the averages don’t lie: The odds of enjoying clean air and water are better in countries that control corruption.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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