What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Corruption?

33 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2017

See all articles by Robert Klitgaard

Robert Klitgaard

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Date Written: August 11, 2017

Abstract

Corruption is one of the most discussed concepts in the world. Usages escalate from bribery through untoward business-government connections on up to culture and human nature. Measures at the national level include amalgamations of perceptions and of “experience.” Since corruption conveys shame and blame, concepts and measures are especially controversial. This paper shows how definitions can be induced from examples and framed in terms of political economy models. It examines the coherence, reliability, and predictive power of measures of corruption. Although this paper deals with corruption, it may serve as a methodological warm-up exercise for other important topics in the social sciences, from democracy to mental health, from sustainability to poverty, where we need to clarify what we are talking about.

Suggested Citation

Klitgaard, Robert, What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Corruption? (August 11, 2017). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 17-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3018299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3018299

Robert Klitgaard (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

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