Pas de Deux of Illegal and Legal Corruption in America

37 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021

See all articles by Oguzhan C. Dincer

Oguzhan C. Dincer

Illinois State University - Department of Economics; Illinois State University-Institute for Corruption Studies

Michael Johnston

Colgate University - Political Science Department; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: November 6, 2020

Abstract

American states vary in their ethical climates, but a lack of data impedes comparisons. Based on a survey of reporters covering state politics, we construct new indices measuring illegal and legal corruption in the states. Illegal corruption is private gain, in the form of cash or gifts, by a government official in exchange for specific benefits to private interests; legal corruption is political gain in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by an official in exchange for such benefits, whether by explicit or implicit understanding. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to capture the difference between the two in America. We find that states vary widely on both dimensions and there is a complementary relationship between illegal and legal corruption which is bidirectional.

Keywords: Illegal Corruption, Legal Corruption, American States

JEL Classification: D72, D73

Suggested Citation

Dincer, Oguzhan C. and Johnston, Michael, Pas de Deux of Illegal and Legal Corruption in America (November 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3726358

Oguzhan C. Dincer (Contact Author)

Illinois State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Illinois State University-Institute for Corruption Studies ( email )

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Michael Johnston

Colgate University - Political Science Department ( email )

United States

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

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

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

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