“According to a recent study, the United States has more public sector corruption than do many other developed economies.”
“Perception” is only a measure of popularity. It is not a fact of relative corruption. The problem faced by the USA is that it is too large, and our political system is insufficient for a democratic republic of this size and complexity.
The vast progress that has been made by human beings has largely been due to the invention of technologies, namely the scientific method, mathematics and in particular probability, but including laws, regulations, accounting, banking and interest – technologies that improve our fairly limited if not entirely incompetent perceptions. Our perceptions are notoriously faulty.
So what instead are meaningful measures of corruption. Corruption defined as the privatization of public office for personal benefit?
Most people confuse corruption with immorality or incompetence. And those three artifacts of human behavior each have different causes. The vast majority of the references that people actually refer to are the result of natural bureaucratic incompetence when bureaucrats are isolated from the market process of competition. The rest are either the natural side effect of the democratic process which all but requires deception, or the difference between an individual’s perception of the real world, and the actions that are possible under this form of government given the size and diversity of classes, races cultures and economic interests that exist in the polity.
As such the rating is nonsensical. It is trivial for Denmark to have lower perceived corruption than the USA. However, it is in fact, far harder to to create lower perceived corruption in the vast bureaucracy of an international empire like the USA.
Because perceptible corruption is largely the result of whether you agree or disagree with what you perceive.
People in government are rarely evil. They are more likely lazy, ignorant, incompetent, or simply happy to profit from their isolation from the market process and their ability to dodge the delivery of customer service we experience in the rest of our lives.