Summer 2018

Corruption & Purity

Susan Rose-Ackerman
In her essay, Susan Rose-Ackerman explores corruption through a legal framework. Troubled by the prevalence of definitions that frame any violation of a person’s ideals as corruption, Rose-Ackerman defines corruption as any circumstance in which a steward of a public program operates in his or her own private interest in such a way that undermines the goals of the program. From this definition, she analyzes clear-cut cases of corruption, including petty corruption (bribery of officials) and election fraud, which can be remedied by changing certain private actors’ relationships to the state; as well as more ambiguous cases such as campaign finance, for which more nuanced policy solutions are necessary.
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