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Political Corruption

Political scientists have developed sophisticated analyses for the study of political corruption. No single definition of political corruption can avoid controversy since, barring consensus on the proper nature and extent of legitimate politics, we necessarily lack agreement on how to define corrupted politics. Nonetheless, as one would expect, researchers emphasize political, institutional, or bureaucratic locations of corruption; the misuse of public power; or "behavior which deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private-regarding … pecuniary or status gains; or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private-regarding influence" (Nye, p. 419).

Political corruption presents itself in a host of settings. Susan Rose-Ackerman considers the legislative and bureaucratic arenas, and presents political corruption as an economic, cultural, and political phenomenon with important implications for democratic societies. More broadly, scholars have attempted to analyze political corruption in a variety of global contexts (Heidenheimer, 1970; Heywood, 1997). Nor has this research necessarily involved a turning-away from historical concerns with equality and participation: Patrick Dobel offers a general theory of corruption that draws on classical authors yet speaks to contemporary political life, suggesting practical steps toward staving off corruption in modern states.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Condensation to CoshCorruption - Corruption, Civic Republicanism, And Republican Historiography, Political Corruption, Other Contexts, Conclusion, Bibliography