What Institutional Corruption Shares with Obscenity

29 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2013

See all articles by Gregg Fields

Gregg Fields

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Date Written: April 18, 2013


The devastating economic collapse of 2008 produced the worst downturn since the Great Depression and revealed the high price to society when institutions designed to serve and protect the public fail. Clearly, preventing a repeat of that catastrophe requires better tools for detecting institutional corruption and reducing its influence on public policy. This paper uses the banking crisis as a template for identifying situations that appear to potentially nurture institutional corruption. Although the paper primarily focuses on banking and related regulatory agencies, similar concerns apply to other industries. Thus, the hope is that this Working Paper can provide a useful framework for investigating institutional corruption in non-financial fields as well.

Keywords: Institutional Corruption, banking, regulatory capture, rent-seeking, moral hazard, FDIC, too big to fail, financial crisis, Dodd-Frank

Suggested Citation

Fields, Gregg, What Institutional Corruption Shares with Obscenity (April 18, 2013). Edmond J. Safra Working Papers, No. 6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2252033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2252033

Gregg Fields (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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