A non-profit group says corruption is thought to be on the rise in many countries, and trust in government is weakening worldwide. Transparency International turned to more than 114,000 people in 107 countries for their thoughts on the issue. Jim Tedder has more on the findings.
The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is not a pretty picture. Transparency International says, for example, that bribery was common in some countries. A bribe is something given to a person in a position of power for special treatment.
Robert Barrington is Executive Director of Transparency International-United Kingdom.
"In terms of bribe paying, there are a couple of countries where three in four people say they have had to pay bribes in the past year. That's Sierra Leone and Liberia."
The report found that more than half of those who were questioned believed corruption and bribery had increased in the past two years.
"Ultimately, our target has to be policymakers, because leadership from the top is critical in this. And when you look at the countries that have improved, perhaps Georgia and Rwanda compared to past surveys, it's generally been politically driven governments that want to do something about corruption that's made the change."
Bertrand de Speville leads an anti-corruption group that has advised more than 50 governments. He says that too often the early push by new leaders to fight corruption weakens over time.
"This is a strategy that's going to apply to the whole country and to everybody in it. It suddenly dawns on him that that might affect colleagues, friends, political allies, family, maybe even himself. And time and again, I've seen the political will die while you're talking to him."
In India in 2011, social activist Anna Hazare gained worldwide fame after leading a hunger strike against corruption. He described the reasons for his protest.
"I want the poor to get justice and to see the money given back that has been lost to corruption."
Hundreds of supporters joined him in the protest, and the government agreed to offer anti-corruption legislation. But the resulting Lokpal Bill has not been passed.
Anti-corruption expert Bertrand de Speville says it is poor people who suffer most, and bribery must be tackled at every level.
"Small incidents of corruption can have disastrous consequences. You only have to think of the fields of security or public health to realize the truth of that. One small bribe can have disastrous consequences."
But, he says efforts by international organizations like the World Bank to advise on ways for fighting corruption have had little effect.
"Given the amount of resources that have been devoted to the problem, in my view it is little short of scandalous. I don't believe it's that difficult. And indeed places like Hong Kong and Singapore have demonstrated that it's not that difficult."
Transparency International says at least some individuals appear willing to fight corruption. More than half of those questioned in the survey said they would be willing to report an incident of bribery.
I'm Jim Tedder.And that's As It Is for today. I'm Caty Weaver. Thanks for tuning in.