About two in three adults worldwide believe corruption is widespread in the businesses in their countries. This belief is relatively commonplace everywhere in the world -- ranging from 60% in the U.S.A. to a high of 76% in sub-Saharan Africa -- but it tends to be higher in lower income regions.
Gallup's data, collected in 2011, demonstrate that corruption in business is an issue for developed and developing countries. However, developing nations may suffer more because corruption can stymie financial development and foreign investments and foster income inequality.
This is apparent in many developing countries' lower rankings on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index -- which gauges how conducive a country's business environment is to starting and operating a local firm -- and higher levels of perceived corruption.
In several regions, results vary widely across countries -- particularly countries at different stages of development. In Asia, for example, a relatively low 13% of residents in highly developed Singapore perceive corruption as widespread, and the city-state ranks first on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. In contrast, nearly nine in 10 adults in neighboring Indonesia perceive corruption as widespread in their businesses, and Indonesia's Ease of Doing Business Index ranking is 129.
According to the World Bank, corruption is "one of the single largest obstacles to economic and social development." Corruption in business is an important global concern that involves developing and developed countries. It can be difficult to accurately monitor corruption in business, particularly in countries with little or nonexistent transparency, making tracking their residents' perceptions even more relevant.
Strong leadership, policies, laws, and greater transparency are necessary to fight corruption, which in turn may actually promote job creation and economic development. Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs rely on a stable environment, but widespread corruption makes it difficult to estimate the risks involved in starting new enterprises.