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Corruption in contemporary politicsA new travel guide$
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James L. Newell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088919

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088919.001.0001

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The mechanisms and dynamics of corruption

The mechanisms and dynamics of corruption

(p.64) 4 The mechanisms and dynamics of corruption
Corruption in contemporary politics

James L. Newell

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers the conditions that have to be met in order for corrupt transactions to be possible at all. It argues that a lack of trust undermines prospects for the successful conclusion of corrupt transactions: because each party knows that the other cannot denounce cheating to the authorities without incriminating himself, each is fearful of being cheated by the other and is therefore incentivised to hold back from making a corrupt agreement in the first place. And yet corrupt agreements are made and corrupt transactions are successfully carried out. This is because of the mechanisms and dynamics involved – which have the effect, precisely, of helping the parties to overcome the trust problem. The 'mechanisms' are the resources, social and personal, psychological and material, the parties bring to the transaction, the 'dynamics' the patterns of action and interaction, through which the transactions take place. Showing how mechanisms and dynamics enable the overcoming of each of the problems that each of the parties face at each stage of the corrupt transaction makes it possible to understand how corruption itself ‘works’ in practice.

Keywords:   Trust, Mechanisms, Dynamics

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