14 November 2014

The TRACE Matrix is an Anti- Bribery Index first published this week.  The Matrix produces a markedly different picture of the interaction of good government components from the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (first released 19 years ago). The focus is on assessing “… the propensity for public-sector bribery and its associated business risk while providing actionable intelligence to inform a company’s compliance processes…”

The TRACE Matrix produces a composite score for each of the 197 assessed countries, with a range from 1 to 100: the higher the score, the greater the business bribery risk.  The Matrix assesses countries across four domains-

  • business interactions with government,
  • anti-bribery laws and enforcement,
  • government and civil service transparency, and
  • the capacity for civil society oversight, including the role of the media.

The scores should enable businesses to tailor their compliance practices to the markets in which they trade.

The Scandinavian dominance of the CPI is much less evident in the Matrix. Iceland for example ranks in 35th place and Norway in 28th.  Australia is at 29th, ahead of Britain in 32nd.  Similarly there is a different mix of the “worst” countries.

New Zealand, which has been perceived as having the least corrupt public sector for the last eight years according to the CPI, ranks 3rd place overall on the TRACE Matrix but is not an exemplar of any of the assessed domains.

The United States, which has never rated well on the CPI, is placed 10th on the Matrix. It rates best for Government and Civil Service Transparency.

Singapore rates best for Interactions with Government, South Korea for Anti-bribery and Enforcement, and Germany is assessed as  having the highest Capacity for Civil Society Oversight.

TRACE Matrix 2014 ( Top Ten )

Overall ranking   Interactions with Government Anti-bribery and Enforcement Government and Civil Service Transparency Capacity for Civil Society Oversight
1 Ireland 15 24 30 4
2 Canada 25 22 20 9
3 New Zealand 13 48 23 18
4 Hong Kong 4 51 27 30
5 Sweden 9 53 25 20
6 Finland 11 52 26 23
7 Singapore 1 54 37 35
8 Japan 33 17 6 10
9 Germany 28 31 33 1
10 United States 35 23 1 7