Perceptions of Corruption Before and After the Pandemic: A Survey of Households in Bangladesh31 May 2022
• The survey finds that awareness of the anti-corruption laws among the citizens of Bangladesh is very low, registering only overall 5.7%
• While 44.0% of the respondents find the current level of corruption unacceptable, about one-third (34.0%) find it acceptable, and a little more than one-fifth (22%) are unsure.
• At least one person in an estimated 14.7 million households (41% of the total population) lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Respondents chose the Army as the most trusted of seven selected institutions, while Political Parties were least trusted.
Most of the Bangladeshi citizens are against any type of corruption, but many hold a lenient view in this regard. Citizens with more permissive views of corruption generally have not been victims of corruption and reside in rural areas.
COVID-19 have severely impacted the poorer segments of the society and job loss has been experienced by one in four families. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the poor poorer, while the affluent households remained somewhat unaffected.
These were revealed in a household survey conducted by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS), and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The survey was administered by the Org-Quest Research Limited (OrgQuest). The survey captured the perception and the experiences of corruption before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also examined the nature and scope of corruption in the country.
Corruption is perceived as endemic in the country, and despite slight improvement in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of the Transparency International in recent years, it is ranked as one of the highly corrupt countries. The 2021 ranking of Bangladesh was 147 with a score of 26, only ahead of Afghanistan in South Asia.
The survey was conducted among 1,231 nationally representative adults through the computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) method between 27 August and 08 September 2021. Respondents were selected randomly through Resilient Distributed Datasets (RDD) system. The detail report of the survey is available at:
The survey finds that awareness of the anti-corruption laws among the citizens of Bangladesh is very low, registering only overall 5.7%. However, among those who were aware, more than two-thirds believe that the rights stipulated in the Act can be exercised.
The incidences of corruption faced by the citizens are deemed to be substantially higher in public/government offices than in private organisations. However, despite this phenomenon, investigations are more likely to be carried out by the relevant government agencies on reported cases of corruption in private organisations than in public/government offices.
The perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs about corruption indicate a mixed disposition. While 44.0% of the respondents find the current level of corruption unacceptable, about one-third (34.0%) find it acceptable, and a little more than one-fifth (22%) are unsure.
The level of unacceptability rises significantly when asked whether “some form of corruption is acceptable.” Around two-thirds of respondents (62%) found it unacceptable, while the number of those who found it acceptable remained at around one-third (31%), and a few (8%) remained unsure.
Slightly more than two-thirds expressed their feeling that unofficial services, gratification money, or bribes are ‘never justified.’ The remaining one-third maintained that it is ‘always or sometimes justified.’ Around one-third have remained relatively consistent in their support for corruption.
Respondents have suggested several measures to prevent corruption in the country. These include raising public awareness, strengthening laws and regulations, stronger enforcement of measures and punishment, strengthening state control over public administration, ensuring consistent implementation of the rule of law, and ensuring transparency in administrative decision-making.
The survey examined the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, especially on their economic wellbeing. It is found that at least one person in an estimated 2.1 million households (6.0% of Bangladesh’s total households) was infected by COVID-19 as of September 2021. Between March 2020 and September 2021, at least one person from about half (51.0%) of the country’s total households received some form of health service, mainly from the government health facilities but also to a lesser extent from the private hospitals/clinics, village doctors, and pharmacies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe adverse effects on national employment and household incomes, especially amongst the country’s lower-income segments. At least one person in an estimated 14.7 million households (41% of the total population) lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many families, particularly lower-income households, lost their primary sources of income. In contrast, families in the upper-income segments remained somewhat at the same level as they were before the pandemic. In addition, around 3 million families reported receiving assistance from the government between March 2020 and September 2021.
In response to the trust on public institutions, respondents chose the Army as the most trusted of seven selected institutions, followed by the legal and judicial system, local government, land administration/registration, local leaders, and the police in order from most to least trusted. Respondents trusted political parties the least.
About Centre for Governance Studies-
CGS is a think tank based in Bangladesh conducting research and media studies on issues of Good Governance, Corruption, Human Rights, Democracy, and Development. The Centre was established to address the challenges for Bangladesh in coping with the rapidly changing national and global scenarios. The Centre aims at facilitating collaborative efforts among the academic community, government, private sector, civil society and development partners to improve the quality of governance, address the security needs of Bangladesh, foster the conditions for efficient and prudent utilisation of available resources towards poverty reduction, human resource development, and stabilisation of political and social order through increased democratisation, participation and sustainable economic development.
About Center for International Private Enterprise-
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is an NGO working at the intersection of democracy, governance, and economic development. CIPE has nearly 40 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating projects worldwide that strengthen democratic governance, combat corruption, empower marginalized populations, and open space in closed political systems. CIPE is a core institute of the U. S. National Endowment for Democracy and a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and currently has more than 200 projects and grants with local partners in over 80 countries. Learn more about CIPE’s work in Bangladesh and elsewhere at cipe.org.