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Corruption increasing, say 62% of Hungarians

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Global watchdog organization Transparency International has released results from its extensive survey on problems associated with corruption in the public sphere which surveyed some 114,000 adults in 107 countries to get a clearer picture on the issue.

The verdict? “Corruption is a very real burden” – and just about everywhere, it appears. The “Global Corruption Barometer 2013” fleshes out a mostly bleak story over its 48 pages, though in most quarters optimism about fixing the problem apparently still flourishes.

Key statistics revealed by Hungarian respondents included that 34% thought the level of corruption had increased “a lot” in the past two years, while 28% said it had increased “a little,” 32% said it had “stayed the same”, and 6% thought the level of corruption had declined.

Sixty-eight percent of Hungarian respondents stated that political parties were affected by corruption; Hungary sided with nearly half (51) of the nations surveyed in reporting its political parties from among a list of 12 major institutions as the most rife with corruption. About 63% opined that corruption affected the business world, 56% Parliament, and 36% public officials and civil servants.

Worldwide, 53% opined that corruption has increased over the past two years, with just 18% believing that a decrease has shown. With the European Union, Belgium was most improved, as over 50% of Belgian respondents stated that corruption has declined; results in Georgia and Serbia showed similar numbers.

Among the survey's more telling statistics was the 27% who had reported paying a bribe within the previous year “when interacting with key public institutions and services” and the 31% of respondents who had bribed a law enforcement officer within that time period. From Hungary, just 12% of respondents reported having paid such a bribe within the previous 12 months.

Amazingly, results from Mexico showed that average-income household devote 14% and low-income households a whopping 33% of their budgets to bribery of officials.

When asked whether they thought “the government is run by a few big interests,” 52% of Hungarian respondents answered “to a large extent” or “entirely,” putting Hungary right on the median among nations on this question. Norway saw the fewest such answers at 5%, while those surveyed in Greece believed this to be true at a rate of 83%.

Perhaps most surprising of all was, despite apparently fairly widespread corruption around the world, numerous respondents still showed optimism toward the greater picture. When asked on a scaled scoring system, “Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘Ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption’,” a 60% or greater majority answered “agree” or “strongly agree” in 71 of the countries surveyed – including Hungary.

Hungary landed in the 61-80% quartile among these responses, with 48% strongly agreeing in the difference-making of the individual. The downside here: When asked whether they might be willing to do/participate in any of six “different things people could do to fight corruption” suggested on the survey, just 54% of respondents answered in the affirmative, a figure lower than any nation except Armenia.

The “Global Corruption Barometer 2013” may be read in its entirety here.

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