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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 and Susan Welch
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 72, No. 3 (Sep., 1978), pp. 974-984
DOI: 10.2307/1955115
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1955115
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
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?
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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.

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