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Latin America: bribery victimization rate 2014-2019

Almost one every five Latin American citizens said they had been asked to pay a bribe in the previous 12 months, according to a survey carried out between September 2018 and April 2019. Respondents were asked whether they had to pay a bribe in different types of contexts and interactions, for example with public officers, the government, at work, courts of law, hospitals, and schools. The share of respondents who answered affirmatively to these questions was combined into a percentage that represents the bribery victimization rate. Among the 11 Latin American countries surveyed, such rate has remained relatively steady in the past few years, between 19.9 and 21.1 percent.

Share of respondents who were asked or had to pay a bribe in the last 12 months in Latin America between 2014 and 2019

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Release date

May 2019



Survey time period

2014, 2016/17 and 2018/19*

Special properties

Voting-age adults

Method of interview

Face-to-face interview

Supplementary notes

* In its latest edition, the survey was conducted from September 2018 to April 2019.
The following 11 Latin American countries were surveyed: Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Paraguay.
The source does not specify the number of respondents. In the previous edition of the study, the sample amounted to approximately 1,500 respondents in each country.

Respondents were asked the following questions:
"Has a police officer asked you for a bribe in the last twelve months?
In the last twelve months, did any government employee ask you for a bribe?
In the last twelve months, to process any kind of document in your local government, like a permit for example, did you have to pay any money above that required by law?
In your work, have you been asked to pay a bribe in the last twelve months?
Did you have to pay a bribe to the courts in the last twelve months?
In order to be seen in a hospital or a clinic in the last twelve months, did you have to pay a bribe?
Have you had to pay a bribe at school in the last twelve months?"
The source specifies that the answers to these questions were converted to an index, based on which the percentage of respondents who were victims of bribery was calculated.

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Statistics on "Corruption in Latin America"

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