Are phenomena labeled as corrupt subject to systematic social science investigation, or does corruption lie so much in the eye of the beholder as to frustrate serious analysis? The editors of this volume, which follows up an important earlier work on the same subject, hold that the comparative perspective, involving both comparisons over time and comparisons between systems, is crucial if the study of corruption is to reach the point where it can be studied as s socio-political phenomenon.
The studies of political corruption included here pertain to all areas of the world, but especially to the United States, Communist systems and Europe. Most were published during the last fifteen years, and some were written especially for the volume. Although the editors are political scientists, scholars from all social science disciplines, as well as law, history and communications, are represented among the authors of the approximately sixty selections included in this volume.
The first of the book's four parts deals with changing conceptualization and definition in the study of corruption. The second part examines the incidence of corruption in the context of political development and modernization. The third part examines the special vulnerability of some local, national and international systems to corrupt practices. In the final part, perceptions of corruptions are related to scandal and other social control efforts, as well as to studies of the effect and consequences of corruption.