Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Political Corruption in America: A Search for Definitions and a Theory, or If Political Corruption Is in the Mainstream of American Politics Why Is It Not in the Mainstream of American Politics Research?*

  • John G. Peters (a1) and Susan Welch (a1)
Abstract

Lack of a clear definition of political corruption has limited its systematic study by analysts of American politics. This article offers a conceptual framework with which to view corruption. A corrupt act is categorized by its four components: the donor, the favor, the public official and the payoff. For each component, propositions about perceived corrupt and noncorrupt elements can be formulated and tested. The usefulness of this scheme in analyzing attitudes about corruption is demonstrated with data from state legislators. Finally, the article suggests some future research possibilities using this scheme to compare elites and public or other groupings in the political system.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

The authors would like to thank Barry S. Rundquist, University of Illinois-Urbana, and Alan Booth, University of Nebraska-Lincoln for their helpful comments. This project was supported by a grant from the University of Nebraska Research Council.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Anderson, Jack (1976). “A Citizen's Committee is Needed to Crack Down on Congressmen who Cheat.” Parade, 21 November 1976, 45.
Banfield, Edward and Wilson, James Q. (1963). City Politics. New York: Vintage.
Beard, Edmund and Horn, Stephen (1975). Congres sional Ethics: A View from the House. Washington: Brookings.
Berg, Larry L., Hahn, Harlan, and Schmidhauser, John R. (1976). Corruption in the American Political System. Monistown, N.J.: General Learning Press.
Cohen, Richard M., and Witcover, Jules (1974). A Heartbeat Away. New York: Viking.
Edelman, Murray (1964). The Symbolic Uses of Politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Elazar, Daniel (1966). American Federalism: A View from the States. New York: Crowell.
Gardiner, John (1970). The Politics of Corruption. New York: Sage.
Getz, Robert S. (1966). Congressional Ethics: The Conflict of Interest Issue. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand.
Greenstein, Fred I. (1964). “The Changing Pattern of Urban Party Politics.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 353:113.
Heidenheimer, A. J., ed. (1970). Political Corruption: Readings in Comparative Analysis. New York: Holt.
Lippman, Walter (1970; first published 1930). “A Theory about Corruption. In Heidenheimer, Arnold (ed.), Political Corruption. New York: Holt, pp. 294–97.
Nye, J. S. (1967). “Corruption and Political Development: A Cost-Benefit Analysis.” American Political Science Review 61:417–27.
Pinto-Duschinsky, Michael (1976). “Theories of Corruption in American Politics,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, 1976.
Rogow, Arnold A. and Lasswell, Harold (1963). Power, Corruption and Rectitude. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Rundquist, Barry S. and Hansen, Susan (1976). “On Controlling Official Corruption: Elections vs. Laws.” Unpublished manuscript.
Rundquist, Barry S., Strom, Gerald S. and Peters, John G. (1977). “Corrupt Politicians and Their Electoral Support: Some Theoretical and Empirical Observations.” American Political Science Review 71:954–63.
Scoble, Harry (1973). “Systemic Corruption,” a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans, September, 1973.
Scott, James (1972). Comparative Political Corruption. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
De Tocqueville, Alexis (1961). Democracy in America, Vols. 1–2. New York: Schocken.
Welch, Susan and Peters, John G. (1977a). “Some Problems of Stimulating Responses to Mail Questionnaires: Controllable and Non Controllable Aspects.” Political Methodology 4:139–52.
Welch, Susan and Peters, John G. (1977b). “Attitudes of U.S. State Legislators Toward Political Corruption.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 2:445–64.
Wilson, James Q. (1966). “Corruption: The Shame of the States.” The Public Interest 2:2838.
Wolfinger, R. E. (1972). “Why Machine Politics Have Not Withered Away and Other Revisionist Thoughts.” Journal of Politics 34:365–98.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed