Peters and Welch, “Gradients of Corruption in Perceptions of American Life”

Definitions. Reviews Gardiner’s arguments

Claims study of corruption is held back by definition.

I wonder. Probably it is more held back by lack of useful research questions. Anyway..

Corruption is violation of formal norms/legal standards,
or includes “norms”
or public opinion

Heidenheimer (1970) black corruption: both officials and public wish an act could be stopped.

white corruption: petty corruption that neither officials nor government want to punish.

P&W define 4 dimensions of corruption

1. Official (position and context in which favor is performed)

–judge corruption versus mayor corruption

–inside official duties, in a gray area, or wholly outside

2. Favor performed

3. Payoff

4. Donor or recipient.
–in constituency?
–outside of it?

Administer survey to state senators (441 answered)

See p. 162. Table of “More Corrupt” and “Less Corrupt” actions.

Most consensus an act is corrupt if an action is illegal
1. politician gets a direct personal gain (DRIVEWAY)
2. “merger of roles”. Donor is the politician– we are talking about a simple direction of public resources to the politician’s gain.

Some ambiguity about campaign contributions.

If a donor just gave money for a policy favor, most would say it is corrupt.

But if the donation is into a campaign fund, people may see it differently. Especially if the donor is a constituent.

Also ambiguity about the “spoils system” and whether donors should bet Ambassadorships.

Lower agreement on corruption seen if
1. The official cannot gain so directly–STOCK, for example.

2. If gain is somehow constituency oriented, a long-run investment, then people are less likely to call it corrupt. Owning stock in a company that does well in one’s community.

How does that match up with Lawrence experience (Desidera Pharmaceutical Company).

About pauljohn

Paul E. Johnson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas. He is an avid Linux User, an adequate system administrator and C programmer, and humility is one of his greatest strengths.
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