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No evidence that corruption is on the rise in Sweden despite all the noise and fears

Monday, 10 October 2011

Question: Has Sweden become more corrupt?
Answer: "There is no indication that Sweden is now a more corrupt country"

A growing number of people are worried that Sweden has become more corrupt, in the wake of various “corruption scandals" which exploded in recent years. This has made many Swedish people question the tenet of their institutions, some leaders and certain sections of their society such as the business and municipal sectors.

But according to latest observation, no recent studies or crime statistics indicate that there has been increased corruption in Sweden. Noises about corrupt practices have been raised but no clear evidence that corruption is on the rise in Sweden.

“Our institutions have the ability to resist corruption,” said Claes Sandgren in an article sent to the Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter’s debate page. He is a Professor of Civil Law at Stockholm University, chairman of the Institute for the study of kickbacks.

Occasional "corruption practices can create fears and worries, but not more. Although corruption has not increased, we should be on our guard. Not least, the municipalities and the construction industry should watch out,” writes Claes Sandgren.

The fear that Sweden might have been slipping towards that direction has led to the government to  appointed a special commission to address the root of the matter. But here's the catch: neither studies done recently nor crime statistics indicate that corruption has increased


According to the global survey of corruption tendencies in the world carried out by Transparency International, it always indicates that Sweden belongs to the group of least corrupt countries. This comes out like that year after year, so also in the latest rankings, where Sweden is placed 4 (out of 178 countries).

"The World Justice Project," which produces an index of the quality of countries' judicial systems, placed Sweden this year in first place as least corrupt among 66 countries.

The World Bank's "Governance Indicators", placed Sweden in second place out of the twenty-seven European countries in terms of overall societal governance quality and third in terms of corruption control.

SOM Institute at Gothenburg University asked if the citizens during the past 12 months have been asked to pay some form of bribe by a public authority / official. 1.2 percent said yes.

The extensive survey of municipal politicians and officials who made the Linnaeus University, 93 percent of its members said that abuse of power in the municipality declined or remained unchanged.

In construction managers Survey of 2011, 64 percent of respondents considered that corruption “happened" in the sector in order to get contract and to gain a competitive advantage. It is not possible to know how often this is "happening", according to the professor.

But the Crime Prevention Council's (Brå’s) official statistics appear to show "increase corruption" as a fantasy. The number of criminal prosecution of bribery has been falling dramatically in recent years. In 2006, there were 77, 2007 - 73, 2008 - 36, 2009, - 4; and 2010, - 3.

The question now is why the Swedish people feel that there is increased corruption in their country.  One reason is that the range of alarming reports circulated, investigations initiated, preliminary investigations that are announced, prosecutions brought in the courts, and more has made people to perceive that there is an increase in corruption.

Myth has its origins in a large number of people with vested interest in exaggerating the prevalence of corruption: the media, researchers, government representatives, opposition politicians, auditors, commentators and others may be more attention, resources and assignments, if corruption is considered below.

For the record, according to the professor, Sweden is not a corrupt country and corruption is not increasing. 
By Team

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