61.3 percent believe ‘government is corrupt’

A new report launched Monday by the Legatum Institute finds that 61.3 percent of Austrians believe that business and government in the country are corrupt.

61.3 percent believe 'government is corrupt'
Former minister Grasser (L) was allegedly involved in corruption scandals. Photo: APA

The report, which has been published for the past eight years, conducted a comparative analysis of 142 countries, representing more than 96 percent of the world’s population and 99 percent of global GDP.

It ranked countries in terms of their prosperity, finding that Norway ranks as the world's most prosperous land.

Austria is ranked in 15th position, the same place it held last year.  Austria's best performance is in the Health sub-index, where it ranks 8th in 2014.

Austria's lowest rank is in the Education sub-index, where the country ranks 25th in 2014.  Nearly one third believe it's hard to find work in the country.

Social cohesion is good in Austria, with 95 percent of people saying they can rely on others in a time of need.

The UK is the most prosperous of all the leading major EU nations, coming ahead of Germany (14th), France (21st), Spain (26th) and Italy (37th).

Austrians however are very suspicious about the ties between big business and government, with 61.3 percent believing that they are corrupt.  

These findings are bolstered by the series of financial and banking scandals, some of which implicated politicians, including the Hypo Alpe Adria scandal which cost the country's tax-payers €19 billion.

Other disgraced politicians include former Freedom Party politician Ewald Stadler (guilty of blackmail), deceased BZÖ politician Jörg Haider (bribed by a German banking boss), former Interior Minister Ernst Strasser (found guilty of corruption in October), and former Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser (facing charges for alleged tax evasion.)

By comparison with the world's most prosperous country, nearly one-third of Norwegians (29.7 percent) thought corruption in business and government  were widespread.  Compare this to the Central African Republic's results – the least prosperous country in the world – where 75 percent of the nation's population believe corruption is widespread.

Nearly three quarters believe that Austria is a good place to live for immigrants.

The rankings are based on eight variables of a country's prosperity performance:

  • Economy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Governance
  • Education
  • Personal freedom
  • Health
  • Security
  • Social capital

You can read more in the full report here.

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