Corruption in Italy

December 19, 2008

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On Thursday, we talked about Sweden and why it's one of the cleanest governments in the world. If all the talk of Swedish social equality and fairness made you a little ashamed about the “Chicago Way,” then take heart: Next, we take you to the land of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

It's part of our ongoing series Here, There that examines how other countries approach universal problems.

Italy has long been considered one of the most corrupt developed countries. Every year, watchdog group Transparency International measures corruption around the world. On a scale from 1 to 180, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark are at the top, with Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia at the bottom. Italy comes in at 55. The United States is a relatively impressive 18. 

Simona Piattoni is a professor of political science at the University of Trento in Italy. She says, to understand contemporary Italy, you have to know its past as cluster of city states and regional divisions.

(To find out where other countries rank on the corruption scale, take a look at Transparency International's 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index.)