To establish the scope and level of corruption in the contemporary United States, a collaborative project of political scientists is needed. Such a study should start with explicating the definition of corruption various scholars use. Three are noted here: using public goods for personal gains, deflecting public goods to private groups, and making such moves when these are legal although they are still illicit. To assess corruption on these levels, we must consider that various forms that “capture” takes beyond the corruption of the laws themselves. A study of the major differences in the level of corruption among the three branches of government may improve our understanding of the prevalence and causes of corruption. A study of “rent” may help predict that future course of corruption. Other topics whose study warrants collaborative investigation are listed.
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