Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Bribes, Corruption Remain High in Mexico, Survey Finds

Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Bribes, Corruption Remain High in Mexico, Survey Finds

Article excerpt

Corruption and bribery remain major problems in Mexico despite President Vicente Fox's promise to address the problem during his administration. In its latest biannual report, Transparencia Mexicana (TM), an affiliate of the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI), said the average Mexican is obligated to pay more and more in small bribes to police and bureaucrats to survive.

The TM's latest Indice Nacional de Corrupcion y Buen Gobierno (INCBG), which measures the number of times that a bribe was paid for every 100 transactions, yielded a score of 10.1 points for 2005, up from 8.5 in 2003. The organization obtained its data by conducting a survey among 15,123 households around the country. The margin of error for the survey was about 1 percentage point.

Bribes were estimated to cost Mexicans about 19 billion pesos (US$1.69 billion) in 2005. "This is the worst kind of tax you can impose on citizens," said Roy Campos, a member of the TM advisory committee. Campos is also president of the respected polling organization Consulta Mitofsky.

Federico Reyes Heroles, president of the TM governing council, said the cost of bribes represents 24% of the income in lower-income households. He noted, however, that homes with the highest educational level "continue to be the most likely to participate in acts of corruption."

The transactions with the "highest corruption level" are generally traffic infractions, among them being arrested or avoiding having one's car towed by the police, the TM poll found.

Reyes Heroles said the increase between 2003 and 2005 could be linked to a variety of factors, including the reactivation of economic activity in Mexico, a change in demographics, and the lack of oversight by authorities who "let their guard down" in the effort to fight corruption. …

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