Elgar original reference
Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Tina Søreide
Susan Rose-Ackerman and Tina Søreide Corruption occurs where the private search for economic advantage and personal advancement clashes with laws and norms that condemn such behavior. Further complicating the picture, some illegal corrupt transactions accord with social norms favoring one’s family, friends, and ethnic group. Other actions may be formally legal but have harmful effects similar to outright bribery. Reformers often label practices ‘corrupt’ simply because they disapprove of them, but economists seek a more objective concept that they can study theoretically and empirically and then evaluate for its normative characteristics. As many of the chapters in this volume demonstrate, one must study corruption in context. Understanding the consequences of corrupt transactions requires one to know what is being bought with a bribe and how the behavior of public and private actors has been affected. What will happen if corruption is reduced? Will other forms of favoritism and selfdealing of marginal legality substitute for outright payoffs and kickbacks, or will the result be an honest and well-functioning system? Reformers must address the underlying institutional and social conditions that encourage this behavior. Is corruption the side-effect of a larger problem of monopolistic behavior or entrenched organized crime influence? If so, eliminating corruption may simply benefit the bribe payers who may continue to operate with impunity. This volume complements Susan Rose-Ackerman’s first International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption (2006). That volume began by introducing readers to debates over the value of cross-country indices that aggregate perceptions of corruption to permit...