HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
TRACE Matrix 2020

TRACE International, a non-profit business association, has released its annual global Bribery Risk Matrix (TRACE Matrix).

The TRACE Bribery Risk Matrix 2020 visualises the results of analysis of existing corruption risks for organisations in four key domains:

  • Business Interactions with Government;
  • Anti-Bribery Deterrence and Enforcement;
  • Government and Civil Service Transparency;
  • Capacity for Civil Society Oversight.

According to the data released by the TRACE Matrix 2020 for 194 jurisdictions, North Korea (the total score of 94 out of 100, where 1 score equals the lowest risk of corruption, and 100, conversely, mean the highest), Turkmenistan (86), South Sudan (85), Venezuela (82) and Eritrea (81) present the highest commercial bribery risk, while Denmark (1 score out of 100), Norway (5), Finland (7), Sweden(8) and New Zealand (8) present the lowest.

Some countries have got considerably lower scores than before. For example, Bahrain has fallen from the 57th to 133th place, Azerbaijan – from 79th to 136th, Qatar – from 56th to 111th, and Oman – from 48th to 94th. The United States has lost 2 scores and dropped out of the top twenty, falling to 23rd place in the ranking (last year the country was 15th); we have already written about the U.S. not being listed in the top twenty countries with the lowest level of corruption under the Corruption Perceptions Index for the second year in a row.

Other countries, on the contrary, have managed to improve their results if compared to the previous year. For instance, Namibia has risen from the 72nd to 58th place, Armenia – from 74th to 43rd, Maldives – from 124th to 85th, and China – from 134th to 126th.

The Russian Federation has fallen from 110th to 127th place in the ranking, between China and Tanzania, receiving 54 scores out of 100 (1 score less than the previous year). The authors of the research paper typify Russia along with Kazakhstan, Belarus and China as a country with strong authoritarian governments with a lack of anti-bribery enforcement. As for the key domains of risk of business bribery, Russia has been assigned the following scores: 

  • 50 out of 100 in the domain “Business Interactions with Government”. TRACE explains that there is a low degree of government interaction, a high expectation of bribes, and a medium regulatory burden (the number of acts regulating business activities);
  • 71 out of 100 in the domain “Anti-bribery Deterrence and Enforcement”, which is due to a low quality of anti-bribery dissuasion and enforcement;
  • 45 out of 100 in the domain “Government and Civil Service Transparency”, based on sufficient governmental transparency and medium transparency of financial interests;
  • 60 out of 100 in the domain “Capacity for Civil Society Oversight”, because of a low degree of media freedom/quality and a low degree of civil society engagement.

For reference: the TRACE Matrix is developed by TRACE International in cooperation with the RAND Corporation, a U.S. analytical centre, as an instrument that allows companies to assess risks of encountering corruption in doing business in a certain country. The Matrix has been published since 2014. If compared to the leading indices reflecting the level of corruption nationally, such as the TI Corruption Perceptions Index, the TRACE Matrix assesses corruption risks only for the private sector entities with countries being ranked based on the analysis of statistics by major civil society and international organisations, including the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, rather than on opinion surveys. 

Civil society
Corruption measurement

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