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Ranking America’s ten most and least corrupt states

Click image to enlarge (Courtesy of the Public Administration Review)A study by Indiana University and the City University of Hong Kong has ranked the U.S. states from least to most corrupt, with Mississippi scoring worst and Oregon as best.

In the 10 most corrupt states, public spending averaged $1,308 extra per capita — 5.2% of the mean per capita expenditure for all 50 states, the study found.

There was a strong correlation between higher levels of public spending and corruption in all the worst states except South Dakota.

Researchers examined 25,000 convictions for violating federal anti-corruption laws between 1976 and 2008.

The results produced a “corruption index” for all 50 states comparing convictions and the number of government employees.

The study ranked the ten most corrupt states (from worst at number one) as follows:

1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

The worst states generally spent more per capita for construction, government employee wages, and law enforcement, the study found.

And the laggards typically undertook big infrastructure projects with money trails that weren’t fully transparent, according to the findings.

The worst-ranked states usually showed lower funding for public welfare, education, and health.

Using the same methodology, the study ranked the 10 least corrupt states as:

1. Oregon
2. Washington
3. Minnesota
4. Nebraska
5. Iowa
6. Vermont
7. Utah
8. New Hampshire
9. Colorado
10. Kansas

A full copy of the study is available in the May/June 2014 Public Administration Review here.


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

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1 Comment

  1. what about Washington DC?

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