More than one person in four paid a bribe in the last 12 months, according to a survey carried out in 107 countries by Transparency International.
According to TI's "Global Corruption Barometer 2013," corruption is widespread, with 27 percent of respondents having paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last 12 months.
That represented no improvement from previous surveys, TI said.
Voice of America pointed out that according to the survey results, corruption was in fact perceived to be getting worse in many countries, and added that trust in governments was falling worldwide.
The problem appeared to be worse in Africa than elsewhere, with Sierra Leone having the highest proportion of respondents — 84 percent — admitting to having paid a bribe. Seven out of nine of the countries with the highest reported bribery rate were in sub-Saharan Africa.
The countries with the lowest reported bribery were Denmark, Finland, Japan and Australia. They all have a bribery rate of 1 percent.
Importantly, TI said, nearly nine out of 10 people surveyed said they would act against corruption, and two-thirds of those who were asked to pay a bribe had refused.
Huguette Labelle, the chair of Transparency International, said:
"Bribe-paying levels remain very high worldwide, but people believe they have the power to stop corruption and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery is significant."
She said the responses suggested that governments, civil society and the business sector need to do more to engage people in thwarting corruption.
"Governments need to take this cry against corruption from their citizenry seriously and respond with concrete action to elevate transparency and accountability. Strong leadership is needed from the G20 governments in particular. In the 17 countries surveyed in the G20, 59 percent of respondents said their government is not doing a good job at fighting corruption."