Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

(Photo: Tax Credits/flickr/cc)

Though substantial, report authors say that the documented cases of corporate bribery are only "the tip of the iceberg." (Photo: Tax Credits/flickr/cc)

Study: Corporate Bribery and Corruption Grease the Gears of Global Capitalism

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that large multinational corporations, led by top managers, are behind majority of documented bribery cases

Sarah Lazare

Large multinational corporations are behind the majority of documented bribes worldwide, with most payers and takers hailing from rich nations, according to a study released Tuesday by the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The report, which evaluated data obtained from 427 bribery offense cases spanning the past 15 years, found that 57 percent of all bribes examined involved corporate efforts to obtain public contracts—mostly in western, more developed states. Customs and defense officials accounted for a significant proportion of bribe recipients, at 11% and 6% respectively.

According to the study, the average bribe amounts to 10.9% of the total value of the transaction, with the average payout calculated at nearly $14 million for the cases reviewed.

Regarding the impact such bribery is having on business and governance, the report states: "The true social cost of corruption cannot be measured by the amount of bribes paid or even the amount of state property stolen. Rather, it is the loss of output due to the misallocation of resources, distortions of incentives and other inefficiencies caused by corruption that represent its real cost to society."

When it comes to corporate bribes, the analysis found that these instances are generally not committed by lone low-ranking individuals. According to the report, 53 percent of known bribery cases directly involved high-level corporate managers or CEOs. “Most international bribes are paid by large companies, usually with the knowledge of senior management,” the study states.

Almost two-thirds of bribery cases occurred in just four sectors, the report revealed. The highest proportion of bribes occur in the extractive industries—such as fossil fuels and other mining activities— and account for 19 percent of all bribery cases. This was followed by the construction, transportation and storage, and information and communication sectors.

However, the report states that, due to the complex and secretive nature of global corruption, its findings are just "the tip of the iceberg."

 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Terrible Idea': Biden Preparing to Shift Costs of Covid Treatments, Vaccines to Patients

"We must push back," said one doctor. "Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important."

Kenny Stancil ·


Trump-Appointed Judge Permanently Blocks Biden's Oil and Gas Leasing Moratorium

Fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters has accounted for an estimated 25% of all U.S. carbon emissions since 2005.

Jake Johnson ·


In Landslide 1,108-to-387 Vote, Maine Nurses Reject Effort to Decertify Their Union

"They thought because we were a new union, they could manipulate Maine Med nurses and overturn our 2021 election," said one nurse. "But we just showed them the door."

Jake Johnson ·


Dems Threaten to Subpoena FTI Consulting Over 'Blanket Refusal' to Provide Info on Fossil Fuel Work

"FTI's refusal to cooperate with this congressional inquiry shows that they have something to hide, which will reveal the dangerous ways agencies like theirs have promoted fossil fuel greenwash and misinformation," said the Clean Creatives campaign's leader.

Jessica Corbett ·


Bad Day for DeSantis as 'Stop WOKE Act' Hit With Injunction, Lawsuit

"If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case," a federal judge wrote in blocking part of the controversial law. "But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo