"The ratings of the United States and Italy on corruption have significantly worsened since 1998, and Chile, a middle-income developing country, now performs as well on this measure as the United States, according to the report. In fact, a dozen emerging economies, including Chile, Botswana, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Latvia and Lithuania, scored higher on the rule of law and controlling corruption than some industrialized countries, like Italy and Greece.
"It begins to challenge these long-held popular notions that the rich world has reached nirvana in governance," said Daniel Kaufmann, an author of the report who heads global programs at the World Bank Institute, the bank's knowledge-sharing and training arm.
After Paul Wolfowitz, then president of the World Bank, became mired in scandal this year over charges of favoritism, bank staff had to fight for the institution's own credibility in judging governance in the developing countries it serves.
Kaufmann said countries rightly asked the bank: "What right do you have of rating the world when you first have to rate yourselves? It has to start at home.""(thanks Yasmine)