Sweden took the third spot in the study released by the World Justice Project (WJP), with neighbouring Denmark narrowly beating Norway to claim first place as the world's least corrupt country.
It got a mark of 0.85 in WJP's Rule of Law index, which assumes 1.0 is a perfect score, with its Scandinavian neighbours edging ahead with marks of 0.87, although Denmark was given the highest global rating overall.
The index ranks 102 countries and claims to be the most comprehensive study of its kind. Performance is assessed using 44 indicators across eight categories including Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Fundamental Rights and Criminal Justice.
— WorldJusticeProject (@TheWJP) June 2, 2015
Sweden was most praised for a perceived absence of corruption by its citizens, achieving a score of 0.91 in this category. Other high marks were granted for factors including fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and a right to privacy, an absence of crime and a high civic participation in open government.
Even though it received high marks in the study, alongside other Scandinavian nations, WJP's CEO William Neukom argued that “the rule of law can always be strengthened”, when reflecting on the report.
“Effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, alleviate poverty, improve public health and education, and protect people from injustices and dangers large and small,” he said in a statement.
The bottom of WJP's list was rounded out by Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Venezuela.
The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law around the world. It describes the rule of law as the foundation for communities of peace, opportunity, and equity – underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights.
Sweden's strong position comes just months after Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) listed the country fourth in its rankings.
In December it was listed among the top five nations held up as an example to others by the Berlin-based campaign group, although its Nordic neighbour Denmark once again topped the list.