Israel ranks 32 out of 180 on the list of the world's corrupt countries, according to a study released by the International Transparency Organization on Tuesday.

The ranking is one spot lower than last year's, apparently due to the election of a new government and the incarceration of former ministers Shlomo Benizri and Abraham Hirchson.

In 2007 the country was ranked 30, and in 2006, 34 - the lower the ranking, the more corrupt a country is considered to be.

The study defined corruption as misuse of a position of public influence to further one's personal interests.

According to the study, Israel has been on a fast and steady decline since the the ranking began in 1997. Then, Israel was considered among 15 countries with the least amount of political corruption.

The ranking is based on a grade which combines data from 13 questionnaires, executed by 11 different research centers. The results are based on the answers of 28,000 business people and experts from Israel and abroad.

According to the final results, Israel ranked the same as Spain, with both countries receiving the grade 6.1. This put it ahead of the Dominican Republic, Portugal and Puerto Rico (35), Botswana and Taiwan (37). Some of the countries ranked lower than Israel include Poland (49), Italy (63), China (79), Syria (126) and Iran (168).

According to the study, News Zealand, Denmark, Singapore and Sweden are the least corrupt countries in the world, while Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Sudan are considered the most corrupt countries in the world.

This is the first time New Zealand, graded 9.4, has been ranked as the country with the least amount of corruption in the world, followed closely by Denmark with the grade of 9.3.

The United States ranked 19, just after Britain, which came in at 17.