Corruption as a Feature of Governmental Organization

in The Journal of Law and Economics, December 1975, Vol. 18, pp. 587-605. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).


This is an exploratory paper, the purposes of which are to identify the principal variables having to do with corruption in governmental organizations in the United States and to point out some significant relationships among them. The paper begins by setting forth a conceptual scheme for the description and analysis of corruption in all sorts of organizational settings. This is applied first to the “typical” business and then to the “typical” governmental organization. (The reason for introducing the business organization into the discussion is to create a contrast that will highlight the characteristic features of governmental organization.) In the concluding section some dynamic factors are noted.

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