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On the Comparative Study of Corruption


Franklin Zimring


University of California at Berkeley

David T. Johnson


University of Hawaii at Manoa


British Journal of Criminology, 2005
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 786145

Abstract:     
This essay identifies corruption as a priority target for comparative study and provides a definition of corruption as the illegal use of power. We locate this theory of corruption within the framework of other types of property criminality, and speculate on some of the determinants of rates of corruption cross-sectionally and over time. Finally, we argue that the emphasis on misuse of power in our analysis might help to explain the high intensity of interest in white-collar crime.

This article argues for comparative studies in criminology and uses corruption as an illustration of their value. We define corruption as the unlawful use of power and show haw that fits with the unlawful uses of force, stealth and fraud in other criminal law categories. We discuss some of the determinants of levels of corruption cross-sectionally and over time. We compare our treatment of corruption with issues in the social construction of white-collar crime.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: Corruption

JEL Classification: K42, K14

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Date posted: August 29, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Zimring, Franklin and Johnson, David T., On the Comparative Study of Corruption. British Journal of Criminology, 2005; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 786145. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=786145

Contact Information

Franklin E. Zimring (Contact Author)
University of California at Berkeley ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
David T. Johnson
University of Hawaii at Manoa ( email )
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
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