Angling for Sharks, Not Pilot Fish: Deep Corruption, Venal Corruption, and Public Values Failure

Angling for Sharks, Not Pilot Fish: Deep Corruption, Venal Corruption, and Public Values Failure Abstract The existing literature in public administration and related disciplines tends to view government corruption in terms of legal transgression, specific acts by public officials in violation of public law. The present authors contend that a particularly worrisome form of corruption, one generally overlooked in the literature, is deep corruption, acts by public officials thwarting public values but acts not necessarily countermanded by public laws. Examples of deep corruption include pervasive use of excessive and targeted (but possibly legal) deadly force and measures to abridge voting rights, such as erecting increasingly stringent (legal) barriers to voting, barriers chosen because they differentially affect voting groups less favored by the public officials advocating the barriers. Generally, deep corruption has greater potential for social damage than do specific incidents involving bribes and kickbacks. Drawing on public values theory, the authors argue that the concept public values failure is a useful starting point for identifying and possibly explaining instances of deep corruption. 在公共行政及相关学科领域中,现有文献倾向于从违法角度来看待政府腐败,将其视为公务员触犯公法的特定行为。本文作者认为,一种通常被文献忽略,同时也更令人担忧的腐败形式是深度腐败。这种腐败行为损害公共价值,但是却不一定为公法所禁止。深度腐败的例子有:滥用过度且有针对性(但可能合法)的强制力,采取剥夺投票权的各种措施,比如制造日益严苛的关于投票的法律障碍。此类法律障碍由一些公务员主张设立,因为它们能够有选择性地影响那些不受这些公务员欢迎的选民群体。通常而言,相比牵涉贿赂和回扣的腐败事件,深度腐败更可能带来社会危害。基于公共价值观理论,本文作者认为公共价值观失效是一个有用的概念起点,由此出发可以识别并且有可能解释深度腐败的各种案例。 (Chinese Translation Credit: Hui Zhou, University of Houston) La literatura existente en la administración pública y disciplinas relacionadas tiende a ver la corrupción en el gobierno en términos de transgresiones legales, actos específicos por funcionarios públicos en violación al derecho público. Los autores sostienen que una forma de corrupción particularmente preocupante, que generalmente se pasa por alto en la literatura, es la corrupción profunda, actos por funcionarios públicos que obstruyen los valores públicos, pero que no son necesariamente contrarrestados por el derecho público. Ejemplos de corrupción profunda incluyen el uso generalizado de fuerza letal excesiva y específica (pero posiblemente legal) y medidas para limitar el derecho al voto, tales como imponer barreras (legales) cada vez más estrictas para votar, barreras escogidas porque afectan diferencialmente a grupos de votación menos favorecidos por los funcionarios públicos que abogan por estas barreras. En general, la corrupción profunda tiene un mayor potencial de daño social que incidentes específicos que involucran sobornos y prebendas. Basándose en la teoría de valores públicos, los autores argumentan que el concepto de falla de valores públicos es un punto de partida útil para identificar y posiblemente explicar casos de corrupción profunda. (Spanish Translation Credit: Johabed Olvera Esquivel, Ricardo Bello Gomez, Renzo de la Riva Aguero, Lina Ochoa, and Josefina Carcamo Vergara; Indiana University) About the Shark, phlegmatical one, Pale sot of the Maldive sea, The sleek little pilot fish, azure and slim, How alert in attendance be. From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw They have nothing of harm to dread, But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank Or before his Gorgonian head(.) —Herman Melville (1888), The Maldive Shark Introduction The pilot fish, a curious creature known for its ability literally to swim with the sharks, provides a serviceable metaphor for the symbiotic relationship between two forms of corruption, one of them a subject of Public Administration scholarship and the other largely neglected. We use the term venal corruption to denote the bad behaviors of everyday life: the bribes, the favors, and the kickbacks, generally the sorts of acts that benefit individual malefactors. This is the type of corruption that has garnered the most attention in the literature, and it plays the part of the pilot fish in our nautical metaphor. In contrast, we define deep corruption as authoritative actions using structures of government, governance, or public policy to thwart society’s core public values. In some instances, deep corruption is in direct violation of laws, but in most cases such actions are legal, perhaps hiding behind the law or knowingly distorting the law in order to achieve an outcome of importance to individual or narrow group interest. We argue that manifestations of deep corruption are the sharks in the water. Like the pilot fish and the sharks, the two types of corruption are often related. In some cases, societies’ deep corruption enhances the possibilities for venal corruption and in others venal corruption promotes a political climate facilitating bolder deep corruption. In comparison to other fields, such as economics or political science, the body of Public Administration research engaging corruption as its central theme is scant. In what little corruption-focused research that does exist, it is easy enough to understand why Public Administration research focuses on venal corruption, the small fry, while largely ignoring the “saw-pit mouth” of deep corruption that the small fry swim in and around. Deep corruption presents a remarkable array of analytical challenges, as we detail later, perhaps the chief one being the difficulty of drawing corruption boundaries and determining who, specifically, is corrupt. Venal corruption is much easier to understand because there is more often a visible set of offenders committing identifiable acts that almost anyone would judge as corrupt. Just as important, venal corruption is typically against the law, which is in line with the tendency of Public Administration scholars to start, and often end with, issues of public law. But when such a socio-political pox as dark money (millions of dollars of deliberately nontransparent but legal campaign contributions) is making a laughing stock of democratic ideals (Krell 2016; Mayer 2016), all with the sanction of public law, it seems time to devise a new approach to the study of corruption in Public Administration. In our view, the fact that Public Administration gives relatively little attention to corruption is exacerbated by the fact that it focuses so little on deep corruption. Public Administration, especially when taken together with political science and economics, provides abundant theory and research on such important issues as bribery, kick-backs, siphoning of public funds, and, in general, corruption focused on individual economic gain. However, the lacunae in the corruption literature is the study of the structural elements that undergird large-scale demolition of public values, not only for private economic gain but also in the service of the interests, political and economic, of powerful groups, often groups so powerful as to be able to subvert the legal system and turn it to its narrow purposes. When the legal system and public policies have been “weaponized,” focusing most attention on discrete illegal acts seems to us insufficient. In a later section, we outline not only the concept of deep corruption but also what is known about it and what we feel needs to be known. A starting point is simply to acknowledge that deep corruption can be found anywhere, it is not a North-South, Developed-Less Developed economy dividing issue. To illustrate this point, let us consider the case of Denmark, the perennial winner (as least corrupt nation) of Transparency International’s perceived corruption index. A few years ago, this same organization (Transparency International 2012) issued an extensive report warning that Denmark’s system of campaign financing, which then permitted the nonreporting of private donations and donors, presented a threat to transparency and good government. But for a smoking gun, as opposed to warnings and suspicions, a more recent case can be considered. In 2015, Denmark’s Minister of Defense, Carl Holst, resigned in disgrace after revelations of his use of a taxpayer-funded staff member as a political operative, one assigned to work on the Minister’s parliamentary re-election. Perhaps not Watergate-level mischief, but it was enough to besmirch Denmark’s clean government legacy. True, the Denmark foibles do not suggest that the country is in danger of becoming the next Somalia (the most woeful nation on the corruption index); indeed, Denmark did not even slip in the rankings. Nevertheless, if even Denmark, the lowest of low in corruption, is occasionally racked with corruption, then it is safe to assume corruption is universal among governments. Deep corruption transcends nations and national borders, but also sectors. Deep corruption in most instances manifests a “dimensional publicness” (Bozeman 1987; Moulton 2009) of the most egregious sort, an entanglement of political authority with private actors in pursuit of the basest private interests (for the moment, we hold in abeyance the question of whether accelerating trends of government-by-contractor, privatization and public-private power sharing contribute to deep corruption). Case in point is the US Citizens United case (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558 U.S. 310 [2010]), a case that essentially gutted all attempts to limit the amount that private groups and corporations can spend on campaigns or the ability to ensure transparency in campaign contributions. The “will of the people” now includes corporations as people, including the rights of private organizations to shelter their religious sensitivities from requirements of law (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. 573 U.S. [2014)]). In short, private interests are not public interests, and private organizations are essentially private citizens. The implications are dire for the control of the US political system and for the denigration of the rights of human, individual citizens (Briffault 2010; Hasen 2011). The issues related to whether corporations are people may pose somewhat of a conundrum, so let us also offer another candidate for deep corruption. Various European countries, such as the Netherlands, Ireland, and Luxembourg, offer large multinationals including Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple preferential tax arrangements. Under these so-called sweetheart deals, companies can reduce their tax obligations to practically nothing. Not only are national governments’ tax collections far lower because of these deals, but sweetheart deals also constitute an unfair competitive advantage when it comes to attracting large multinationals. The European Commission has deemed this type of preferential tax arrangement illegal state aid (and fined Apple $14.5 billion for its tax deal with Ireland in the process), but judicial proceedings will be ongoing for years while sweetheart deals continue to be used.1 Yet another example of deep corruption is the case of voting rights in the United States. Against the backdrop of rapidly changing US demographics, whereby the nation is projected to have people now considered minorities as the majority of the total population by the year 2043 (US Census Department 2016),2 many state governments have taken steps to restrict voting, allegedly to guard against voter fraud (Minnite 2010). Yet, repeated examination (Alvarez et al. 2008; Kiewiet et al. 2008; Lipton and Urbina 2007) reveals that instances of voter fraud are miniscule. One potential reason for this is that most states have polling inspectors, and voter impersonation entails a hefty fine and possibly imprisonment. Although the implementation of laws that affect US citizens’ voting rights is subject to the discretion and preferences of local officials, sweeping changes to elections laws often occur at the state-level (Burden et al. 2012; Kimball et al. 2013). With provisions to increase the standards of identification needed for verification of voter eligibility, what good is served beyond the present rather substantial legal deterrents? Some argue that stricter identification requirements can even exacerbate fraud by including yet another type of identification in the process (Gilbert 2015). So, what is achieved? The fact that stricter voting requirements legislation is cropping up in states where Republicans are now in the electoral majority but are rapidly losing numbers may not altogether be accidental, given that the largest racial and ethnic minorities tend not to vote for Republicans. Indeed, the intensification of voter identification requirements is arguably but one of the several legal instruments that have been used to dilute the electoral influence of minorities (Hajnal, Lajevardi, and Nielson 2017). Other means, such as the implementation of at-large elections and non-November elections, have long been contested due to the limits they impose upon the political influence of minority groups (Leal et al. 2004; Molina and Meier 2016; Trounstine and Valdini 2008). Arguably, attempting to ensure electoral fortunes not by the appeal of policy and politics but by requiring ever-higher voting barriers, barriers that appear to differentially affect minorities, is a systematic, entirely legal form of deep corruption. In 2013, the disarming of a key section of 1965 Voting Rights Act by the US Supreme Court led to swift plans to impose such barriers (Bobo 2016). Note the “arguably” qualifier in the above sentence. Is this deep corruption? Perhaps. However, the example points to an interesting problem in theorizing about deep corruption: knowing whether an action is motivated by some semblance of public values reasoning (e.g., a real commitment, even if a misguided one, to minimizing voter fraud) or whether there is veiled intent to subvert public values (e.g., providing legal, “soft” discrimination in favor of one set of voters and against another). Since so much about legal deep corruption involves bending laws to one’s own interest rather than outright breaking them, analysis of deep corruption requires a willingness to consider motive and to weight outcomes, not prerequisites to the study of bribery, kick-backs, and other such elements of illegal, venal corruption. One of the characteristics of deep corruption is that it is so ubiquitous, has so many hydra-like heads with so many different motives and justifications, pseudo and real, that allegations of deep corruption are inevitably contentious. A focus on deep corruption often requires taking a stand, a requirement that often makes scholars squeamish, perhaps for good reason. If one’s authority is based on expertise, objectivity and the ability to persuade with facts, statistical evidence or (less often) unimpeachable historical evidence, a research agenda requiring taking a stand may seem to threaten the authority of the scholar. Yet, it is precisely doing this that we propose here. In this article, nearly equal parts, review, research agenda, and conceptual theory, we argue that Public Administration scholarship can and should direct its intellectual energies to deep corruption, not foregoing research on the ordinary and more prosaic forms of corruption, but understanding its subsidiary place in the corruption universe. Although corruption research abounds in economics and political science, we believe that Public Administration scholars are particularly well placed to study deep corruption for two reasons. First, deep corruption is not bound by sectors or organization types and will usually involve a variety of public and private actors. A substantial stream of literature in Public Administration has focused on untangling differences and similarities between public and private organizations and examining public–private networks. Second, Public Administration scholars often have strong ties to public administrators. While it is critical for scholars to maintain their academic neutrality, such strong ties to practice provide a crucial access point for collecting data on deep corruption. Hence, the connection between Public Administration academia and practice is of value in the context of deep corruption research. We call for both conceptual and empirical knowledge of deep corruption. The crucial question in studying deep corruption is “Where does one even begin?”. We propose that public values theory (Bozeman 2002, 2007) provides a good starting point for empirical analysis of deep corruption, for two reasons. First, because public values theory presents a preliminary series of criteria, “public values failure,” that may prove useful for identifying and perhaps even explaining deep corruption and, second, because public values theory is agnostic about sector and not bounded by public law. In the remainder of this article we first examine the existing literature on corruption, beginning with the literature in economics and political science as a backdrop for our focus on the corruption literature in Public Administration. Next, we provide more detail about the idea of deep corruption. We then discuss the applicability of public values theory. We conclude with a discussion of research issues in the study of deep corruption as well as a review of the problems likely to be encountered in research on this thorny topic. Economics and Political Science Literatures on Corruption: A General Overview Despite our focus on Public Administration theory, we devote considerable attention here to the corruption literature in economics and political science. We do this because, first, the literature of these fields is relevant to the topic and much more extensive (Jain 2001; Svensson 2005) than the Public Administration corruption literature and, second, because the study of corruption cannot be contained or even easily differentiated by discipline. One would be hard pressed to find a topic presenting a more obvious amalgamation of politics, policy, economics, and administration. Despite the substantial diversity of corruption studies, both across-discipline and within-discipline diversity, one taking a bird’s eye view of the literature finds considerable overlap in terms of research topics, questions, and designs. Here, we identify and discuss four broad themes that seem particularly relevant to our study and can inform our envisioned Public Administration research agenda, namely definitions, antecedents, consequences, and data sources/levels of analysis of corruption. Definitions of Corruption Research on corruption is characterized by a spectrum of definitions that moves from very narrow to very broad. Tanzi (1998, 564) notes that “[c]orruption has been defined in many different ways, each lacking in some aspect. […] However, like an elephant, while it may be difficult to describe, corruption is generally not difficult to recognize when observed.” Essentially, corruption definitions differ on two dimensions. The first dimension relates to whether corruption should be limited to criminal acts, or also involves improper behavior that is not illegal. In one of the earlier academic papers on corruption, Rose-Ackerman (1975, 187) argues that “[a]lthough corrupt behavior can arise in a number of different contexts, its essential aspect is an illegal or unauthorized transfer of money or an in-kind transfer.” More recently, Lederman et al. (2005, 2) note that “there is no question that corruption is a type of crime”, while Glaeser and Saks (2006, 1055) refer to corruption as “crimes by public officials for personal gain.” This narrow definition of corruption as a form of criminal act is understandable if one merely equates corruption with bribes, which is indeed an illegal activity. Yet, in practice, corruption can take on many guises, some of which are not necessarily illegal, as we argue strongly throughout this article. The notion that corruption entails more than criminal acts alone is also reflected in the literature. Habib and Zurawicki (2002) point out that many governments aim to reduce corruption by focussing on behavior that is both illegal and improper, where improper behavior may go against the public interest, public opinion, and/or legal norms (e.g., Sandholtz and Koetzle 2000). If no legal norms are violated, corruption can be gauged by assessing behavior according to societal norms (Ashforth and Anand 2003). Hence, although many corrupt acts—especially those that are highly publicized—are illegal, there is strong support in the literature that corruption reflects behavior that goes against society’s rules of the game more generally. Yet, for the most part corruption caused by behavior that is not illegal is still tied to stand-alone acts by individuals. So, while we subscribe to the notion of corruption involving more than illegal activities alone, we also note that the breadth and scope of corruption and its link to public values theory remains underdeveloped in existing research. Later in the article, we argue that further attention to developing public failure criteria may give clues to needed research on deep corruption. Another debate concerns the involvement of public officials in corruption. Many scholars argue that corruption requires the abuse of public power or public office for personal gain (e.g., Gupta, Davoodi, and Alonso-Terme 2002; Kaufmann 1997; Shleifer and Vishny 1993). A further distinction is often made between political corruption, which refers to illicit activities by rule-makers, and bureaucratic corruption, which concerns corrupt acts from rule implementers (Kolstad and Wiig 2008). In this “public office centered view,” corruption exists only if government officials are explicitly involved. The narrow conceptualization of corruption as explicitly requiring the involvement of public officials does not coincide with a contemporary world of “revolving door” careers between public and private sector, rapid moves from legislative positions to lobbying firms and to one-issue office holders seeking power chiefly to represent a private interest. As mentioned by Jain (2001, 73): “Certain illegal acts such as fraud, money laundering, drug trades, and black market operations, do not constitute corruption in and of themselves because they do not involve the use of public power. However, people who undertake these activities must often involve public officials and politicians if these operations are to survive and hence these activities seldom thrive without widespread corruption.” Hence, one can make a compelling argument that corruption exists in the presence of either explicit or implicit involvement of public officials, which is precisely the point that we will build on when making our case for deep corruption. Antecedents of Corruption Existing research assumes that a necessary condition for corruption to materialize is that politicians, legislators, or managers can wield discretionary powers to enrich themselves at the expense of others (Bardhan 1997; Jain 2001). The utility for an individual to engage in illicit activities is determined by the size of the economic rent that can be extracted, on the one hand, and the psychological, social, and financial costs of getting caught and punished, on the other hand (Treisman 2000). For the most part, scholars have been concerned with identifying—mostly country level—political, economic, and cultural factors that either stimulate or hamper corrupt practices (La Porta et al. 1999). Although we will discuss these political, economic, and cultural factors separately, it is important to note that all three factors are strongly related. Indeed, before discussing the antecedents of corruption in more detail, we must first turn our attention to one of the main limitations of the corruption literature, namely concerns about causality. As with many macro-economic studies, the interactive nature of variables studied implies that endogeneity issues feature heavily in empirical corruption research (Jain 2001). In many cases, there are theoretical and/or methodological concerns that hint at the possibility of reverse causality (Glaeser and Saks 2006). In this light, Jong-sun and Khagram (2005) find that income inequality is an antecedent of corruption, while Gupta, Davoodi, and Alonso-Terme (2002) find the opposite, namely that corruption is an antecedent of income inequality. Similarly, although strong links have repeatedly been found between GDP per capita and corruption, it is unclear what the causal relationship between the two concepts is (Lambsdorff 1999). As a result, the purpose of the discussion below is not to provide the reader with an exhaustive exposition on the antecedents of corruption in this section—and of consequences of corruption in the next subsection—but rather to give an overview of concepts that are strongly intertwined with the study of corruption. That being said, we mirror the discussion in the literature of different concepts as being antecedents or consequences of corruption as much as possible. A key antecedent of corruption is the strength and quality of a country’s political and legal institutions (Treisman 2007). The main reasoning here is that high-quality institutions reduce or minimize corruption, whereas the opposite holds for low-quality institutions. In this light, competitive and transparent political and electoral systems with checks-and-balances hold politicians more easily accountable, and are thus associated with less corruption (Kolstad and Wiig 2008; Lederman et al. 2005; Persson, Tabellini, and Trebbi 2003). Similarly, stricter law enforcement increases the potential costs of engaging in corrupt acts, and may thus act as a corruption deterrent (Ades and Di Tella 1997). Fiscal decentralization, a larger proportion of women in parliament and senior government positions, and press freedom have also been associated with less corruption, while federal states and presidential systems are conducive to more corruption (Brunetti and Weder 2003; Chowdhury 2004; Dollar, Fisman, and Gatti 2001; Fisman and Gatti 2002; Kunicova and Rose-Ackerman 2005; Lederman et al. 2005; Swamy et al. 2001; Treisman 2000, 2007). Another determinant of corruption is a country’s legal system. Corruption has been found to be lower in common law as opposed to civil law countries (e.g., Jong-sun and Khagram 2005; Treisman 2000). This finding can be explained by the fact that common law has come about to protect property rights of private actors vis-à-vis the state, whereas civil law has traditionally been used by the sovereign for state building purposes (La Porta et al. 1999). In terms of economic factors, more economically developed countries exhibit less corruption (La Porta et al. 1999; Treisman 2007), which is unsurprising as richer countries will also have higher quality political institutions, ceteris paribus. Various macro-economic factors have been found to affect corruption levels; lower average income and inflation increase corruption (Paldam 1999; Sandholtz and Koetzle 2000), whereas openness to foreign trade and successfully implemented pro-growth economic policies lower it (Treisman 2000). Furthermore, the likelihood of corruption decreases if there is more market competition for the provision of public goods (Ades and Di Tella 1997). Another often-cited determinant of corruption is the wage level for public servants vis-a-vis their private counterparts. Studying corruption in Thailand, Svensson (2005, 19) notes that “[w]hen a well-paid CEO wishes for a job with low official pay in the government sector, corruption is almost surely a problem!” Yet, empirical evidence regarding the relationship between the wages of public officials and corruption is mixed. While Van Rijckeghem and Weder (2001) find that substantially increasing the salaries of public servants can reduce corruption, Treisman (2000) does not find support for such a relationship in his cross-country analysis of corruption determinants. Other studies emphasize that higher wages need to be accompanied by appropriate enforcement mechanisms in order to curtail corruption (Di Tella and Schargrodsky 2003; Svensson 2005). Overall, the existing literature shows that the relationship between wages of public officials and corruption is complex. Finally, corruption is also driven by cultural elements. As societal norms play part in determining whether a certain act is considered corrupt, differences in such norms, especially between the West and developing countries, may lead to different interpretations as to what corruption entails (Kaufmann 1997). In this light, Montinola and Jackman (2002, 148) note that, in some cultures, “corruption stems from social norms that emphasize gift-giving and loyalty to family or clan, rather than the rule of law.” A higher level of trust within a country also means less corruption (La Porta et al. 1999). Another cultural antecedent of corruption worth mentioning here is religion. Most notably, corruption has been found to be lower in Protestant countries, which can be explained by the fact that Protestantism is a relatively egalitarian religion that allows for state officials to be challenged more readily than in more hierarchical religions (La Porta et al. 1999; Sandholtz and Koetzle 2000; Treisman 2000). As we will discuss in detail later, our conceptualization of deep corruption entails similar challenges. Consequences of Corruption Despite its overall negative connotations, considerable attention has been given in the literature to potential positive outcomes of corruption, especially in developing countries. Leff (1964) was one of the first authors to argue that corruption may be beneficial to economic development. Specifically, in his view, corruption enables certain stakeholders to participate more extensively in the decision-making process than would otherwise be the case. If the goals of these stakeholders have a positive effect on development (e.g., business groups advocating policies with a strong focus on economic growth), then the final outcomes of policy making with corruption may actually be more favorable than without. This line of reasoning reflects the argument that corruption can grease or speed up the wheels of an economy, especially in countries with excessive bureaucracies (for more detailed discussions, see Meon and Sekkat 2005; Wei 1999). This type of reasoning can also make it easier for manifestations of deep corruption to appear legitimate. Although corruption may be beneficial under a specific set of conditions, there is overwhelming empirical evidence in support of the opposite view. In this light, Kaufmann (1997, 116) notes that “[i]nstead of corruption being the grease for the squeaky wheels of a rigid administration, it becomes the fuel for excessive and discretionary regulations.” Indeed, corruption has repeatedly been found to harm a country’s overall economic performance and development. For example, Mauro (1995) finds support for a negative association between corruption and private investment that in turn lowers economic growth. Meon and Sekkat (2005) show that corruption is even more detrimental to investment for countries with a poor quality of governance. Owing to its secretive and uncertain nature, corruption also increases transaction costs in a way that is more harmful than taxes (Jain 2001; Shleifer and Vishny 1993). Countries with high levels of corruption also find it harder to attract foreign direct investment, which in turn negatively affects economic growth. Foreign investors may shy away from having to deal with corrupt government officials, as corruption leads to operational inefficiencies, increases costs, and is viewed as morally wrong (Habib and Zurawicki 2002; Lambsdorff 1999; Wei 2000). In the context of public procurement procedures, the existence of corruption may lead contracts to be awarded to the producer that is able pay the largest bribe, rather than the most efficient producer (Rodriguez, Uhlenbruck, and Eden 2005; Rose-Ackerman 1975). Similarly, public officials may decide to invest in projects that offer the best opportunities for rent-seeking and bribes, rather than projects with the highest value from the public’s perspective (Tanzi 1998). Such considerations mean that too much money is spent on defense and infrastructure projects, and too little on improving a country’s health and education systems (Gupta, de Mello, and Sharan 2001; Mauro 1998; Treisman 2000; Shleifer and Vishny 1993). Furthermore, since bribes take place “off the books,” countries miss out on both direct tax revenues linked to the bribes, and indirect tax revenues related to the hidden activities that would otherwise have been taxed (Seligson 2002). Finally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, given the wide range of negative consequences of corruption as outlined above, corruption lowers society’s trust in government (e.g., Seligson 2002). Anderson and Tverdova (2003) find that higher levels of corruption are associated with more negative evaluations of a country’s political system, and less trust in public officials. Similarly, Hakverdian and Mayne (2012) show for a sample of 21 European countries that the negative relationship between trust and corruption is affected by citizens’ level of education. In summary, there is overwhelming empirical support that corruption harms a country’s economic performance and development, as well as the public’s trust in its political institutions. Data Sources and Levels of Analysis in the Political Science and Economics Literature The vast majority of corruption studies have used country-level survey measures of corruption provided by such institutions as the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Institute for Management Development, Transparency International, and the World Economic Forum (e.g., Ades and Di Tella 1997; Chowdhury 2004; Lambsdorff 1999). These datasets have been criticized extensively, particularly on the grounds that corruption perceptions may be biased strongly by ideological and cultural differences between countries, rather than ‘objective’ manifestations of corruption (e.g. Treisman 2007). In this light, Fisman and Miguel (2007, 1021) argue that “the study of corruption beyond the realm of opinion surveys is still in its infancy.” Unlike most country-level studies, many organization- and regional-level empirical corruption studies have used more innovative measures and data sources. Olken (2009) compares the costs of road building in Indonesian villages as reported by officials with the costs of building each road as estimated by a team of engineers and surveyors. Although the author finds a positive correlation between corruption perceptions and the more objective expert-based corruption measure of “missing expenditures,” this correlation is rather weak as officials are able to strategically hide corruption from the public eye (in this case, through inflating quantities used, as opposed to marking up prices). Di Tella and Schargrodsky (2003) also focus on price levels as a corruption measure. Specifically, the authors show how a crackdown on corruption in the city of Buenos Aires during 1996–1997 significantly lowered prices paid by public hospitals for homogenous inputs. Fisman and Miguel (2007) analyze parking violations by United Nations diplomats from 149 countries in Manhattan. The authors find that, in the absence of rule enforcement, the number of unpaid parking tickets is strongly correlated with diplomats’ home country level of corruption. Interestingly, there is very little research on corruption at the level of the individual. Ashforth and Anand (2003, 5) summarize the literature as follows: “corruption is usually the product of strong situations that override individual differences.” Nonetheless, a small number of studies have looked at how corruption may affect the individual. For example, Gatti, Paternosto, and Rigolini (2003) analyze the determinants of individual attitudes toward corruption. Using data from the World Values Survey, the authors find that women are more averse to corruption, as are individuals with low incomes. Furthermore, there is support for a positive relationship between age and aversion to corruption, as well as a negative relationship between unemployment and corruption. Similarly, De Andrade Costa and Wagner Mainardes (2016) use data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor on more than 76,000 individuals from 53 countries to show that perceived corruption has a negative association with an individual’s entrepreneurial intention. In summary, we note that our conceptualization of deep corruption reflects some themes found in the economics and political science literatures, especially the idea that corruption entails more than just illegal activities and affects a wide range of organization and country-level outcomes. Furthermore, many of the political, economic, and cultural drivers of corruption that have been studied in the past likely also affect the likelihood of deep corruption manifestations. Yet, whereas existing research has mostly been concerned with country-level antecedents and outcomes of corruption, which in turn are driven by acts of venal corruption (such as bribes or kick-backs), our view on deep corruption is substantially broader. While some of the political science and economics literature recognizes this broader-based corruption, it has not devoted much attention to it. That is something it has in common with the much smaller Public Administration literature, reviewed below. Public Administration Literature on Corruption While the Public Administration literature on corruption is not vast, it has made some significant contributions, most of these to analysis of administrative corruption, especially of the venal sort, and corrupt relationships between administrators and elected officials, although not through the lens of deep corruption and focussing almost exclusively on breaches of the law. Before filling out our conceptualization of deep corruption and considering research approaches, we first must get some purchase on the existing literature, its strong points, and areas of weakness. Thus, we provide a systematic review and critical analysis of the recent literature in Public Administration on corruption and compare this to the above discussion on corruption research in economics and political science. The review does not provide a detailed discussion of the specific findings because this is not a literature review per se but an overview needed to advance our suggestion that the literature needs to extend its focus and, especially, to embrace the study of deep corruption. The review of the Public Administration literature focuses on empirical studies, both quantitative and qualitative, rather than conceptual studies or admonitory ones. As we see below, the Public Administration corruption literature, while dwarfed by the corruption literature in political science and economics, shares many themes and concerns and, notably, like other disciplines, gives little attention to the concern we advance here, the concern for deep corruption. The Public Administration journals examined represent a list of those that include empirical research on corruption. Studies are thus considered from: Journal of Public Administration Theory and Research, Public Administration Review, Public Administration, International Public Management Journal, Public Management Review, Administration and Society, Public Administration and Development, and International Review of Public Administration. From each journal, we included in our review articles that focus explicitly on corruption, as opposed to articles that only control for corruption or include it as one of the several emphases. Although we do not claim that our list is exhaustive—there may be differences in what various observers would consider “primarily on corruption”—we are confident that we have identified and included most recent empirical corruption studies in Public Administration journals.3 The questions examined in the review include: How is corruption defined and measured? What research approaches and methods are employed in the study? Is corruption a dependent variable or independent variable (or both)? What nation or population is the focus of corruption research? What are the chief findings of the studies, but also what are the foci of studies and why? Table 1 provides rough summary answers to these questions, but they are considered in more detail in the body of this section. Table 1. Characterization of Public Administration Literature on Corruption Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Note:aThis definition of corruption is taken from previous literature, governmental codes of conduct, or international standards. View Large Table 1. Characterization of Public Administration Literature on Corruption Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Note:aThis definition of corruption is taken from previous literature, governmental codes of conduct, or international standards. View Large Understanding the Structure of the Corruption Literature in Public Administration This literature review, which is strictly speaking more a characterization of the literature than an intensive review, has as its goal providing evidence that almost all Public Administration literature focuses not on deep corruption but rather on individuals, usually public officials, breaking the law by discrete corrupt acts. Returning to the questions posed above (and reflected in Table 1), one can see that corruption is in most studies not defined or it is defined in terms of officials’ use of public office for private gain (e.g., bribery, nepotism). There is also considerable variation in the measurement of corruption. In part this is owing to the fact that some studies treat corruption as a dependent variable and some treated as an independent variable. This seems perfectly appropriate. Corruption clearly is not exclusively one or the other; it makes sense to try to understand both what causes corruption and its effects. Relatively few studies provide operational measures or any measurement detail, but most examine empirical data. About half of the empirical studies employ qualitative data, including case studies (Choi 2007; de Graaf and Huberts 2008), historical analysis (Agbiboa 2015), interviews (Gebel 2012; Javor and Jancscis 2013; Marquette 2012; Sundstrom 2016), focus groups (Walton 2013), “creative nonfiction narrative” (Vickers 2014) and textual analysis (Heywood and Meyer-Sahling 2013). Among those studies presenting quantitative data and analysis, most are based on questionnaire data (Grimes and Wängnerud 2010; Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen 2016; Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena 2013), but some use aggregate data from standard corruption indices (Berkovich 2015; Liu and Mikesell 2014; Themudo 2014). In short, it can be concluded that a variety of methods and measures are brought to the analysis of corruption, presenting all advantages and the disadvantages of different methodological approaches. While some of the studies, especially those using index data, are truly cross-national (e.g., Berkovich 2015; Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen 2016; Liu and Mikesell 2014), most are single-nation studies focusing on a variety of nations, including South Africa, Poland, New Guinea, Australia, Nigeria, Moldova and Hungary among others. Studies of the United States and Australia are in the mix, but the majority of studies look at less well-developed countries, or countries that have recently fallen on hard economic or political times. The empirical findings from these studies are, both literally as well as figuratively, “all over the map.” One of the most important distinctions among the studies is, as previously mentioned, whether they conceptualize corruption as a dependent variable. None focus (at least in their analysis) on corruption as a dependent and independent variable, which means that reciprocal effects or simultaneous effects are not examined. The studies also operate at very different levels of analysis, varying from the individual respondent (e.g., Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen 2016) to the nation (e.g., Berkovich 2015). When one considers as well the vast differences in methods and data, it is easy to see that findings are not often comparable. Among the studies that focus on the question “what causes or contributes to corruption?”, few studies grapple with the diversity of corruption drivers. Instead, most Public Administration scholars are interested in specific correlates of corruption. This is not at all surprising since a comprehensive theory of corruption would be remarkably difficult to establish and even more difficult to test. For example, if one considers only a relatively straightforward case—officials behaving badly—it is almost certainly the case that bad behavior is in most instances related not only to the characteristics of individuals but also, among other factors, the immediate social milieu, the work context, aspects of policy and administrative rules, group dynamics, and a nation’s history and culture. Public administration researchers examine many of these factors but, due to complexity and data requirements, no one examines the multiple layers of causality. Thus, for example, Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) find that higher wages are associated with corruption (but surely this is a correlation at best and perhaps a spurious one); Sundstrom (2016) finds that threats and intimidation affect corruption; Berkovich (2015) asserts that nations’ corruption and educational attainment are related (with corruption viewed as an independent variable in what is almost certainly a case of reciprocal causality), whereas Kwon (2014), focusing at the individual level, asserts that perceptions about corruption are related to perceptions about the relation of performance to advancement. Given the complexity of corruption dynamics, particularly in a multi-level setting, it is unsurprising that empirical studies have only chopped away at bits and pieces. Indeed, the Public Administration literature includes no broad-gauge theory of corruption. Nor is one presented here. However, we do consider some of the elements required for such a theory. A first step involves a consideration of the reasons why Public Administration has been so focused on what we refer to as venal corruption, while largely overlooking deep corruption. A strong theory of corruption requires consideration of both corruption types and the relation between the two. Venal Corruption, Deep Corruption, and Public Values Although Public Administration scholarship on corruption has steadily accreted, the clear majority (exceptions include Choi 2007 and Teachout 2016) focus almost entirely on what we refer to as venal corruption—individuals setting aside their obligations of public office and committing illegal acts for personal gain (viz., Agbiboa 2015; de Graaf and Huberts 2008; Sundstrom 2016). Generally, venal corruption is localized, often fragmented and, once uncovered, easy to spot and to understand. When one sees kickbacks, bagmen, or money funneled into offshore accounts, in these cases it is easy enough to identify corruption and usually its causes. Perhaps one reason that Public Administration scholarship has been focused for the most part on venal corruption is that the field has its roots, at least in the United States, in early reform efforts. The emergence of Public Administration coincided to a large degree with various “good government” initiatives in the first three decades of the 20th century. Thus, early articles and books in political science and what was then its subfield of public administration focused either on electoral corruption or such forms of venal corruption as bribery. Let us consider just one widely influential early work on corruption, Robert Brooks (1910),Corruption in American Politics, a study viewed at the time as one of the more comprehensive on the topic. According to one reviewer (Haines 1911, 309), Brooks “discusses fully the nature of corruption, its prevalence and influence on American life, the methods of combating the resulting evils and the outlook with respect to the future.” But in fact, the book provided very few instances of actual corruption and focused instead on arguments against taking bribes or evils of the spoils system. The “outlook with respect to the future” turns out to have been a bit too optimistic. In Brooks’ words: “(T)he process of reform will be slow, but we are on the right road … the grosser forms of corruption that disgrace and disgust the present era will be eliminated, there can be no doubt(.) … Never before have men cooperated on so large a scale and so honest a basis as here and now” (Haines 1911, 311). Since there were no Public Administration journals prior to 1940, work on the topic in general and corruption specifically was published in American Political Science Review and Political Science Quarterly, the two oldest continuous political science journals. One foundational work is Woodrow Wilson’s (1887) famous “Study of Administration.” Although some view Wilson’s essay as the cornerstone of the politics–administration dichotomy later decried by such political realists as Simon (1946) and Sayre (1951), more recent scholars (Rutgers 1997; Svara 1998; Terry 1995) have argued that the seemingly rigid and apolitical ideas of those such as Wilson (1887), Dimock (1936), and White (1926) were misrepresented as the field’s founders were focused on protecting public administrators from the worst excesses of corrupt electoral politics, not all politics. But what most agree upon is that the realm of the public administrator is one to be protected by various forms of venality, whether originating in spoils systems, machine politics, or influence peddling. Thus, such landmarks as the Hatch Act (Esman 1951), the city management movement (Reed 1955; Stillman 1974), and the Hoover Commissions (Finer 1949; Fesler 1957) have all been focused, to some extent, on reducing venal corruption. In contrast, deep corruption, as we note in the Introduction section, is “the thwarting of public values by immoral actions that are directly caused or enabled by core structures of government, governance or public policy.” While the definition of deep corruption that we present is our own, the idea of Public Administration focusing on more systemic corruption issues is not a novel one. In an article published nearly 25 years ago, Phillip Jos (1993) argued that Public Administration studies of corruption tend to avoid major normative issues and instead focus on the smaller issues, ones more easily attacked by empirical studies. We agree with Jos’ observation about the tendency of Public Administration scholarship to focus on smaller issues and avoid the major underlying causes of corruption and, indeed, that observation is no less valid today than it was in 1993. However, we do not feel that the desire for better and clearer measurement is either a motivation for ignoring what we refer to as deep corruption or at all necessary. The problem is partly analytical, but chiefly conceptual. Whether or not measurement is involved, it is simply easier to identify, conceptualize, and set boundaries around discrete, individual acts of corruption than systemic or pervasive and interlocking corruption. Interestingly, the Public Administration work that comes closest to advocating the study of what we refer to as deep corruption is that of Caiden and Caiden (1977: 301), work preceding by many years Jos’ call for attention to systemic corruption. Decades ago, Caiden and Caiden criticized traditional approaches to corruption as well as more theoretically focused “revisionists” approaches for their tendency to “think of corruption in individual terms without recognizing the existence of systemic corruption.” However, the prescription was not (as is ours) developing theory of deep corruption, but rather focusing on approaches to ethics that might recognize and cope with systemic corruption (Caiden 2001). We have not to this point taken on the problem of immoral actions by whom and in whose perspective. For the present, let us suffice to say that delving into deep corruption requires taking a stand about values but does not require consensus on either specific public values or widely accepted confirmation that questionable events are violations of public values. The key issue is to provide specifications of values, clear-cut assumptions, and such empirical evidence as can be developed and to use these to promote public deliberation about possible deep corruption. The “proof” is in the transparency of deliberative process, not in scientific evidence about deep corruption. We return to this point below in our discussion of the use of public values theory as a lens on deep corruption. One tool for identifying possible deep corruption is the notion of public values criteria or public values failures (Bozeman 2002). When legitimated public policies systematically thwart such public values as civil rights, opportunity, or even human sustenance, then it is likely that deep corruption directly enables such public values failures. It is easy enough to think of historical cases of public values failures that were clearly rooted in deep corruption, examples such as the Jim Crow laws that employed the legitimate coercive force of government to thwart a variety of public values related fundamentally to human welfare and well-being. Likewise, such legally sanctioned initiatives as the internment of Japanese citizens in the 1940s, the disintegration and dislocation of Native American families and the banning of indigenous languages in Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools, poll taxes, and “literacy” tests disenfranchising citizens, all would be cases of public values failures associated with deep corruption. It is easier to make moral judgments in hindsight, but today’s examples of public values failures based on deep corruption are not as easily identified or agreed upon. What all of the examples above have in common is that they are no longer supported in public policy and, indeed, in most cases are now explicitly prohibited. But one cannot, of course, know today which of the current public policies will later be viewed as draconian vestiges of a darker time. Thus, conducting research on deep corruption must face this obstacle—the almost certain disagreement about its nature and content. We return to this issue in the concluding section of the article. Recall that deep corruption does not require illegal or criminal acts, which is the primary focus of most contemporary corruption research. Illegal acts are, by definition, not supported by government structures, policies, and institutions. The exception is the case in which entire agencies or institutions of government act illegally, not just cases of individual humans behaving badly. Thus, Watergate meets the definition of deep corruption as does the US Public Health Service’s use of troops as unwitting subjects in medical experiments, the infamous Tuskegee experiments. Both of these cases qualify as deep corruption, because the acts were permitted by deeply flawed elements of political cultures. Table 2 compares and contrasts the concepts “venal corruption” and “deep corruption.” The table shows differences in definition and also their respective relation to public law, government authority, social dynamics among other factors. Perhaps the most striking point to be gleaned from Table 2 is the respective role of public law. While a deep corruption emphasis certainly does not require or encourage a lack of respect for the rule of law, it does not take the position that rule of law is a transcendent value that trumps all others. In this respect, the emphasis in deep corruption is a Lockean focus rather than a Hobbesian one. The rule of law, by this view, is legitimated by the de facto social contract and when those in authority violate the social contract they call into question the legitimacy of the rule of law. Thus, it is argued here that the starting point for assessing corruption is not a legal one but a moral one, embedded not in personal morality but morality as reflected in public values and the public interest. Table 2. Comparing Venal Corruption and Deep Corruption Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex View Large Table 2. Comparing Venal Corruption and Deep Corruption Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex View Large This latter point is key. We are not suggesting a moral free-for-all or a solipsistic conceptualization of corruption but rather one grounded in public values where “public values are those providing normative consensus about (1) the rights, benefits, and prerogatives to which citizens should (and should not) be entitled; (2) the obligations of citizens to society, the state and one another; and (3) the principles on which governments and policies should be based” (Bozeman 2007). By this notion, public values have no necessary concordance with the law or the state. It is possible for laws to advance, thwart or have no effect on public values. A key word in the conceptualization is should, as in “government and policy should be based,” recognizing that it is not at all inevitable that they will be rooted in public values. Given this starting point, it is not surprising that deep corruption and venal corruption tend to feature quite different culprits engaging in categorically different corrupt acts. In Public Administration scholarship, most studies of corruption have focused on legal transgressions of public officials (e.g., Agbiboa 2015; Liu and Mikesell 2014; Themudo 2014; Vickers 2014) with the most common transgression the use of public office for private gain. Obviously, these are vitally important issues and worth the attention they receive. However, in the case of deep corruption, the concern is with a much more diverse set of corrupt acts, as diverse as public values themselves, and the misdeeds may be undertaken by public or private officials, and perhaps most common, with the two working in concert. An interesting distinction between venal and deep corruption, but not an absolute one, is that whereas venal corruption, usually being illegal, hides from public scrutiny, deep corruption often occurs in full view or, if not in full view, at least not so far removed from it. The reason is that deep corruption often, though certainly not always, is protected by the law. When public policy and governance succeed in violating public values on a massive scale, they often do so because a set of powerful social actors have assiduously, but legally, changed the political game and often the rules of the market to serve their interests at the expense of the greater number of but less powerful citizens. Let us consider a simple example, albeit one that gives rise to endless argument. The US income tax system permits some billionaires to literally pay no taxes while taxing median wage earners at an effective rate (after deductions and credits) of about 13% (US Treasury 2016).4 Many argue that rich people pay more taxes, technically true, but others consider a tax system benefiting the superrich (who are, in fact benefited more than the “merely” wealthy) to be indefensible in a nation that has “equal opportunity” as its credo. Another example, also subject to endless debate, is the US primary and secondary educational system based on “local control” which, when translated into economic terms, means that children in poor school districts often have a comparatively small fraction spent on their public education in relation to students in affluent districts (Hochschild 2003; Saltman 2015). When taken together with affluent students’ easier access to costly private schools and private tutoring and the rise of charter schools that, while diverse in nature, tend to serve more affluent families (Ravitch 2013), a pessimist could argue that the commonly cited public value of equal opportunity is, because of the structure of government and public policy, a cruel illusion. Is this deep corruption? Is it any sort of corruption? At least, we argue, it is a clear-cut public failure; one well reflected in US comparative educational statistics. And, as argued above, public values failures are at least a good point to start when looking for deep corruption. Public Values and Public Failure: A Public Administration Entre into the Study of Deep Corruption In seeking to understand deep corruption, we feel that the tendency to focus on either individual immoral acts or ethical codes (which must, after all, be executed by individuals to have much meaning) provides only modest benefit. For this reason, among others, we advocate public values theory as a lens on deep corruption. Despite the fact that we do not favor conceptualization of deep corruption in terms of individual morality, we do, in a sense, argue that the scholar applying a public values framework will need to be prepared to take positions on value and even morality. If we accept the idea that there is no consensus-based, canonical set of public values, the position argued by Bozeman (2002, 2007) among others, then we are left with this question: “What can public values theory add to the study of deep corruption other than argumentation?” Our response: effective argumentation can be quite valuable, especially when buttressed by clear propositions and available empirical evidence. No consensus is required and, in most cases, no consensus is possible about either particular public values or about public failures reflected in deep corruption. As Bozeman notes: “the search for public values has merit even if that effort fails to identify public values about which there is consensus” (2007: 133). Jorgensen and Bozeman (2007), in their literature review and inventory of public values, review several possible approaches to identifying public values (e.g., historical documents, survey research, cultural analysis) but conclude that the most important point is to be explicit about public values arguments because a discussion or a dialectic about public values may often be more important than a search for a canonical set. In making the case for public values, one provides propositions and, in some cases, causal claims that may be extremely valuable starting points for civic discourse. That does not in any sense imply that chaos ensues but quite the reverse. By carefully articulating one’s value position and the empirical bases of resultant assumptions about consequential outcomes, one brings order to the chaos, even if it is a contestable sort of order. One helpful approach to identifying possible public values breaches associated with (what may be) deep corruption is to specify public values failure criteria, not unlike the way in which specified market failure criteria can edify decisions about resource allocation among sectors and institutional actors. Bozeman (2002) began this process in an early work on public values, identifying public values criteria that, to some extent, resembled market failure criteria (e.g., failures of legitimate monopolies; imperfect public information; benefit hoarding), later adding criteria related to preserving the public sphere and equality of opportunity (Bozeman and Johnson 2015). Moreover, no extant list of public values criteria and no inventory of public values should serve as a barrier to developing and arguing for new public values and public values criteria; the key is to be as explicit as possible about ones values, the assumptions behind them and propositions about their relation to empirical outcomes. Any resolution of public values failures, and particularly deep corruption, requires first a plausible argument and second a dialogue with the public sphere (Jørgensen and Rutgers 2015; Nabatchi 2012; Sandfort and Quick 2015). Another important argument in support of drawing on public values theory in developing a deep corruption research agenda is its agnosticism about sector (Anderson 2012; Moulton and Eckerd 2012). If public values are undermined with resultant great harm to the structure and quality of governance and society writ large, there seems no need to define corruption solely in terms of public officials’ corrupt behaviors. Especially now that public–private partnerships, “hybridization,” and multisector networks are an ever-increasing feature of government and public policy, why should one expect that corruption should be partitioned by sector? One may argue that public officials should be held to a higher standard of comportment (O’Kelly and Dubnick 2006; Van Wart 1996) and, in fact, there are important aspects in the law and in officials’ oaths of office (Rutgers 2010, 2013) that reflect that higher standard. However, that important point does not mitigate the argument. When corrupt actions undermine public values, the parsing of blame according to job title or sector affiliation seems beside the point. While we have no brief for Public Administration examining corruption in business or nonprofit organizations, if the causes of deep corruption can be traced to flawed policies, government institutions or policy networks, or to public–private relationships, then the public values failure that ensues certainly seems fair game. An example of a private sector social problem and public failure that has been investigated in Public Administration (though not from a deep corruption perspective) is the cataclysmic 2010 British Petroleum (BP) Deep Horizon oil spill. Even casual readers of newspaper accounts know this episode was rife with dastardly behavior and gave rise to environmental and personal calamities that are still being felt. However, this disaster cannot be put squarely at the doorstep of government because adequate regulations were in place and these regulations were flouted (Ladd 2012). True, it is possible to quibble about specific elements of regulations, but the bad behavior cannot reasonably be passed off as owing to a fundamental flaw in public policy. A large share of culpability can be traced to BP’s corporate governance (Lin-Hi and Blumberg 2011), a factor not in any significant sense subject to government policy influence. In contrast, in a great many cases of corruption leading to cataclysmic outcomes, the results are best understood not as a business failure or a government failure but a disaster resulting from business and government working together to create, either intentionally or not, a massive public values failure. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to come up with examples of deep corruption partnerships. One especially well-known and damaging example is the US housing policy crisis caused in part by subprime mortgages, some illegal but also some legal and owing to flawed policies in which the federal regulators were seemingly coopted by those whom they were supposed to be regulating (Altman 2009; Jaffee and Quigley 2008). The subprime-mortgage crisis is, in many respects, a paradigmatic case of deep corruption. Serving as yet another example of deep corruption are the recent events involving the Wells Fargo 2016 scandal, a scandal that involved the issuing of credit cards to Wells Fargo costumers without their consent. These activities are thought to be the product of failures in organizational culture and oversight (Woodside and Sharma 2017). Although the 2016 Wells Fargo scandal did not involve the explicit intermingling of private and public firms per se, its seems clear enough that changes to the legal environment of banking in the 1990s through such legislation as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act greatly loosened financial regulations and strongly encouraged innovations in banking, including ones that in hindsight appear to have provided strong benefits to banks while victimizing customers (Mamun, Hassan, and Maroney 2005). While there are demonstrably many instances of illegal behavior on the part of some rogue lenders and employees, the wellspring of corruption is a cozy public–private relationship that conduces relaxed regulations, a tendency to think of the public interest and aggregated private interests as one and the same, and fundamentally flawed policy and institutions. As noted by the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report, the crisis was caused by “Widespread failures in financial regulation, including the Federal Reserve’s failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages; Dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance including too many financial firms acting recklessly and taking on too much risk; An explosive mix of excessive borrowing and risk by households and Wall Street that put the financial system on a collision course with crisis; Key policy makers ill prepared for the crisis, lacking a full understanding of the financial system they oversaw; and systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels” (2011: 70). This is textbook deep corruption and a massive public values failure. It is noteworthy that the fact that scores of individual mortgage officers broke rules and illegally signed up people for mortgages for which they were not eligible under formal rules (Rom 2009), while inexcusable, provides a good contrast between their venal corruption and the deep corruption partnership that gave succor to such behavior. Public values theory focuses on the extent to which public values are achieved or, when they have not been achieved, on the sources of public failure, independent of the culpable sector. In this sense, public values theory is an ideal lens for understanding deep corruption inasmuch as deep corruption sources are so often trans-sector. In addition to the advantage of its “big picture” focus, public values theory includes a set of public failure criteria (Bozeman 2002, 2007), criteria that expand and evolve rather than remaining static (Andersen et al. 2012; Bozeman and Johnson 2015). Perhaps most impressive is the fact that public values theory, especially public values failure criteria, can be used ex ante to investigate possible deep corruption rather than to wait until damages result that are splashed across the headlines and website banners. At the same time, Public Administration scholars may raise concerns about deep corruption research. We address these concerns below. Deep Corruption: Leave it to Others Because… We suggest that there is one major reason and one minor reason for Public Administration to avoid undertaking a research program on deep corruption. The minor reason is that researchers focussing on deep corruption are highly unlikely to obtain research resources, especially grants and contracts, to study deep corruption. This is a minor reason because Public Administration scholars, particularly in the United States, only infrequently obtain funding for research on public administration topics. There is no national public administration foundation, and agency research providers tend to focus on their missions (e.g., energy, transportation, environment) rather than the public administration reasons why their missions so often fail. The best reason to ignore deep corruption, at least as a research topic, is that it is so great a challenge. Most of the topics studied in public administration provide more clues and active trails for researchers. If researchers study red tape, they often know what it is and where to go to study it; if they study performance management, they often have either contracts or, at least, a willing clientele. But the study of deep corruption entails substantial challenges right at the beginning, challenges of boundary setting, multiple causality and, most certainly, unwilling clients. It is not and cannot be “business as usual” for researchers. However, other likely objections are easier to meet. Researchers Study Public Administration, Not Policy, Not Politics At first blush, this seems a formidable objection. Deep corruption rarely originates in public administration, even in those cases where public administrators are complicit. To refer back to the historical examples herein, public administrators did not establish Jim Crow laws nor did they come up with the idea of sending Native Americans along their “trail of tears.” Public administrators were not the culprits in the Watergate scandal, rather it was elected officials and political appointees that hatched the “third rate burglary” and its cover-up. In the case of Watergate, public administrators were, arguably, the heroes, ultimately, along with journalists, shedding light. There are at least as many instances of public administration professionals fighting deep corruption as there are instances of their being the cause or complicit in corruption. That is one reason to explore the role of public administrators in fighting deep corruption as, indeed, some have done (Adams and Balfour 2014; De Graaf 2010; O’Leary 2013). Another reason for a central role for Public Administration scholars in the study of deep corruption is they are likely a good source of “forensic research.” Even when deep corruption does not originate in public agencies and is not executed by public administrators, it is nonetheless the case that public administration often provides an excellent entry point for deep corruption. Public bureaucracies keep records, they communicate massively, and they have multiple lines of accountability. That is to say, public bureaucracy is the forensic ethicist’s best-equipped laboratory; one cannot envision a more ideal entry point for gathering data and ultimately developing explanations for deep corruption. We Are Scholars, Not Investigative Journalists This is precisely why a deep corruption research program is so important. Investigative journalists have training, tools, and methods that are not often found among scholars. That is why they often do such a good job of uncovering scandals and seeing through to the culminations, frequently in criminal convictions or professional disgrace. Often investigative journalists do an excellent job reporting on deep corruption, exploring topics as diverse as why we are fat and getting fatter (Schlosser 2012) to the oppression of the people who serve us our fast food (Ehrenreich 2010). But investigative journalists do not serve as social science theorists and even if there are cases where they shed light on causes and causal explanation, theory is not their mission and few have directly relevant training in developing social science theory. Of course, the knowledge journalists provide about deep corruption is no less valuable than the knowledge that could be provided by social scientists, but we would argue that it is different and has a different value. It is knowledge produced for a different audience and a shorter time-frame and often with less commitment to the long run. Thus, the same author who gave us The Big Short, one of the best journalistic efforts on the housing market meltdown, also gave us Moneyball and Pacific Rift. Public administration theorists may be more plodding but likely more methodical as well. Public Administrators Have Responsibility to Law and Political Superiors, Not to the Aggressive Enactment of Their Own Values Our view is quite straightforward: we feel that public administrators have a responsibility to follow the law, not to bend the law to their values and ideological presumptions. Why? Chiefly because the notion that public managers’ values are more noble than their political superiors or their citizen clientele is, to borrow a phrase, devoid of empirical support (Marini 1971). We can easily debate such important ethical issues as the public administrator’s duties in the face of immoral policies, but in most cases the idea of following the law and one’s sworn duty is a good one. Whether one is prone to the self-actualizing administrator model, where the public administrator is chiefly a change agent rather than a handmaiden to a bureaucratic superior (Marini 1971), or the neutral competence administrator model (Rourke 1992), the legal responsibilities and roles of public administrators are entirely beside the point to a research program on deep corruption. Most Public Administrator scholars work in settings, usually universities, that permit an exceptionally high degree of autonomy with respect to research focus, approach, and political values and views. While it is entirely understandable that Public Administration scholars often identify closely with practitioners, this empathy and mutual respect should not obscure the very different social roles enacted by the respective parties. Public administration scholars, because of their close ties to public administrators, are in many ways ideally positioned to conduct research on deep corruption. We Don’t Even Know Where to Start At last, a compelling argument. Indeed it is difficult to know where to start with a deep corruption research agenda, chiefly because research on deep corruption focuses on a degree of complexity not found in research on venal corruption or, indeed, most of Public Administration. We conclude with a few thoughts about entry points and how to get started. A Brief Sketch for a Deep Corruption Research Agenda Undertaking a deep corruption research agenda presents formidable problems, ones that will be resolved slowly, not ones that will be swept away at the end of a first paper on deep corruption. Thus, our “brief sketch” resembles a statement of research obstacles as much as it does an agenda. One of the major problems in studying deep corruption is that the phenomenon is elusive and often contentious. As noted above, it is relatively easy to study venal corruption, particularly after the fact, by following the pathway of legal transgression. If a city building inspector requires a hefty transfer of money to a personal offshore bank account before issuing a permit, then that is a discrete act and one that is unequivocally corrupt. If the inspector happens to be caught, then the research “subject” could hardly be more obvious and the construct of corruption has unquestionable face validity. In contrast, most of the topics we suggest as possible deep corruption are less clear-cut. Much depends on interpretation and assignment of motives, not the terra firma upon which most scholars wish to stand their empirical research studies. One argument is simply to relax the usual demands for clear-cut phenomena and obvious construct validity because the phenomena are too important to avoid “merely” because one does not have an entirely satisfying construct or an optimal means of measuring it. However, a better approach, we think, is to worry little about motivation and about the massive divide between words and thoughts and, instead, start with outcomes. True, if we ask “what is wrong?” then there are many possibilities and corruption is only one. People suffer not only because of corrupt leaders and officials but also for many reasons, including natural disasters, disease, poverty, and bad fortune. However, even a person who is not by nature pessimistic can often see a role for deep corruption in most any large swath of social wrongs. Hurricanes strike, but corruption means that public relief resources are siphoned off and do not provide the intended succor; diseases occur and spread but public–private engagements may exacerbate bad outcomes by propping up drug and health care costs in ways that are counter to public values; the “poor are always with us” but sending the working poor packing because their undocumented parents came to the United States a week before they were born rather than a week after may contribute to bad outcomes; some individuals have the misfortune to be run over by a truck but if the truck driver is, due to his industry’s lobbying efforts and a lack of limits on campaign contributions, driving for 48 hours without rest, then it is not simply a matter of misfortune. In short, in advancing deep corruption research, a good starting point is this: what is the public values failure? In some cases, there is none. Maybe it is just wrong place-wrong time. But remarkably often there is a pivotal role for deep corruption, as one surely understands simply by reflecting on the case histories of recent, large scale, highly visible disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the sub-prime mortgage housing crisis, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, just to name a few. Granted, starting with “what is wrong?” and proceeding to “what is the public value failure?” does not take one very far. But let us assume that using this approach, one gets to an actual problem, including not ones such as in the example above but also smaller scale ones that nonetheless qualify as major problems even if not cataclysmic ones. What then? If one gets that far in the analysis, identifying events of interest, identifying public values failures, then tasks become more like conventional social science tasks of theory building. One can proceed by developing alternative plausible hypotheses and models that account for the phenomena of interest, but leaving open the possibility that deep corruption is a causal agent and giving thought as to possible causal linkages. What sort of data would one gather as evidence for deep corruption? Not an easy question to answer. However, we suggest that most deep corruption involves strong ties but ones that are not immediately visible, chiefly because those included in deep corruption networks have an interest in ensuring that the networks are as obscure as possible. Thus, an important task for public administration network researchers: identifying the networks of shared and often illicit interests capable in deep corruption. Indeed, public administration researchers already have made some progress in identifying and analyzing “dark networks” (O’Toole and Meier 2004; Raab and Milward 2003). What if one is so lucky as to succeed in grabbing the shark by the tail, what next? Almost certainly the epistemology of deep corruption studies will prove a bit different than for more traditional neo-positivist studies seeking to separate facts and values. Even with first-rate evidence, findings from deep corruption studies will face argument, so why not embrace argument? Toulmin (1958), among others, has suggested that a dialectical approach to exposition to research findings can have great value and some Public Administration scholars agree (Dunn 1982; Fischer and Forester 1993). 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Journal of Business Research 71 : 142 – 53 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Footnotes 1 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-apple-taxavoidance-idUSKCN114211 2 Figure according to press release from WEDNESDAY, DEC. 12, 2012 titled “U.S. Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More Diverse Nation a Half Century from Now” available at: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb12-243.html. 3 The review includes 23 studies focused on corruption and published in Public Administration journals. Rather than rely on a general article search engine, the search was conducted using the search option within each journal’s website. Search results were then sorted by relevance. 4 We are aware of the fact that by far the greatest proportion of income tax is paid by persons in the upper quartile of income. However, the effective tax rate is dramatically less for those at the upper .01% than for those at the median, the upper quartile or even the top 1%. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Public Management Research Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Perspectives on Public Management and Governance Oxford University Press

Angling for Sharks, Not Pilot Fish: Deep Corruption, Venal Corruption, and Public Values Failure

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Abstract

Abstract The existing literature in public administration and related disciplines tends to view government corruption in terms of legal transgression, specific acts by public officials in violation of public law. The present authors contend that a particularly worrisome form of corruption, one generally overlooked in the literature, is deep corruption, acts by public officials thwarting public values but acts not necessarily countermanded by public laws. Examples of deep corruption include pervasive use of excessive and targeted (but possibly legal) deadly force and measures to abridge voting rights, such as erecting increasingly stringent (legal) barriers to voting, barriers chosen because they differentially affect voting groups less favored by the public officials advocating the barriers. Generally, deep corruption has greater potential for social damage than do specific incidents involving bribes and kickbacks. Drawing on public values theory, the authors argue that the concept public values failure is a useful starting point for identifying and possibly explaining instances of deep corruption. 在公共行政及相关学科领域中,现有文献倾向于从违法角度来看待政府腐败,将其视为公务员触犯公法的特定行为。本文作者认为,一种通常被文献忽略,同时也更令人担忧的腐败形式是深度腐败。这种腐败行为损害公共价值,但是却不一定为公法所禁止。深度腐败的例子有:滥用过度且有针对性(但可能合法)的强制力,采取剥夺投票权的各种措施,比如制造日益严苛的关于投票的法律障碍。此类法律障碍由一些公务员主张设立,因为它们能够有选择性地影响那些不受这些公务员欢迎的选民群体。通常而言,相比牵涉贿赂和回扣的腐败事件,深度腐败更可能带来社会危害。基于公共价值观理论,本文作者认为公共价值观失效是一个有用的概念起点,由此出发可以识别并且有可能解释深度腐败的各种案例。 (Chinese Translation Credit: Hui Zhou, University of Houston) La literatura existente en la administración pública y disciplinas relacionadas tiende a ver la corrupción en el gobierno en términos de transgresiones legales, actos específicos por funcionarios públicos en violación al derecho público. Los autores sostienen que una forma de corrupción particularmente preocupante, que generalmente se pasa por alto en la literatura, es la corrupción profunda, actos por funcionarios públicos que obstruyen los valores públicos, pero que no son necesariamente contrarrestados por el derecho público. Ejemplos de corrupción profunda incluyen el uso generalizado de fuerza letal excesiva y específica (pero posiblemente legal) y medidas para limitar el derecho al voto, tales como imponer barreras (legales) cada vez más estrictas para votar, barreras escogidas porque afectan diferencialmente a grupos de votación menos favorecidos por los funcionarios públicos que abogan por estas barreras. En general, la corrupción profunda tiene un mayor potencial de daño social que incidentes específicos que involucran sobornos y prebendas. Basándose en la teoría de valores públicos, los autores argumentan que el concepto de falla de valores públicos es un punto de partida útil para identificar y posiblemente explicar casos de corrupción profunda. (Spanish Translation Credit: Johabed Olvera Esquivel, Ricardo Bello Gomez, Renzo de la Riva Aguero, Lina Ochoa, and Josefina Carcamo Vergara; Indiana University) About the Shark, phlegmatical one, Pale sot of the Maldive sea, The sleek little pilot fish, azure and slim, How alert in attendance be. From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw They have nothing of harm to dread, But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank Or before his Gorgonian head(.) —Herman Melville (1888), The Maldive Shark Introduction The pilot fish, a curious creature known for its ability literally to swim with the sharks, provides a serviceable metaphor for the symbiotic relationship between two forms of corruption, one of them a subject of Public Administration scholarship and the other largely neglected. We use the term venal corruption to denote the bad behaviors of everyday life: the bribes, the favors, and the kickbacks, generally the sorts of acts that benefit individual malefactors. This is the type of corruption that has garnered the most attention in the literature, and it plays the part of the pilot fish in our nautical metaphor. In contrast, we define deep corruption as authoritative actions using structures of government, governance, or public policy to thwart society’s core public values. In some instances, deep corruption is in direct violation of laws, but in most cases such actions are legal, perhaps hiding behind the law or knowingly distorting the law in order to achieve an outcome of importance to individual or narrow group interest. We argue that manifestations of deep corruption are the sharks in the water. Like the pilot fish and the sharks, the two types of corruption are often related. In some cases, societies’ deep corruption enhances the possibilities for venal corruption and in others venal corruption promotes a political climate facilitating bolder deep corruption. In comparison to other fields, such as economics or political science, the body of Public Administration research engaging corruption as its central theme is scant. In what little corruption-focused research that does exist, it is easy enough to understand why Public Administration research focuses on venal corruption, the small fry, while largely ignoring the “saw-pit mouth” of deep corruption that the small fry swim in and around. Deep corruption presents a remarkable array of analytical challenges, as we detail later, perhaps the chief one being the difficulty of drawing corruption boundaries and determining who, specifically, is corrupt. Venal corruption is much easier to understand because there is more often a visible set of offenders committing identifiable acts that almost anyone would judge as corrupt. Just as important, venal corruption is typically against the law, which is in line with the tendency of Public Administration scholars to start, and often end with, issues of public law. But when such a socio-political pox as dark money (millions of dollars of deliberately nontransparent but legal campaign contributions) is making a laughing stock of democratic ideals (Krell 2016; Mayer 2016), all with the sanction of public law, it seems time to devise a new approach to the study of corruption in Public Administration. In our view, the fact that Public Administration gives relatively little attention to corruption is exacerbated by the fact that it focuses so little on deep corruption. Public Administration, especially when taken together with political science and economics, provides abundant theory and research on such important issues as bribery, kick-backs, siphoning of public funds, and, in general, corruption focused on individual economic gain. However, the lacunae in the corruption literature is the study of the structural elements that undergird large-scale demolition of public values, not only for private economic gain but also in the service of the interests, political and economic, of powerful groups, often groups so powerful as to be able to subvert the legal system and turn it to its narrow purposes. When the legal system and public policies have been “weaponized,” focusing most attention on discrete illegal acts seems to us insufficient. In a later section, we outline not only the concept of deep corruption but also what is known about it and what we feel needs to be known. A starting point is simply to acknowledge that deep corruption can be found anywhere, it is not a North-South, Developed-Less Developed economy dividing issue. To illustrate this point, let us consider the case of Denmark, the perennial winner (as least corrupt nation) of Transparency International’s perceived corruption index. A few years ago, this same organization (Transparency International 2012) issued an extensive report warning that Denmark’s system of campaign financing, which then permitted the nonreporting of private donations and donors, presented a threat to transparency and good government. But for a smoking gun, as opposed to warnings and suspicions, a more recent case can be considered. In 2015, Denmark’s Minister of Defense, Carl Holst, resigned in disgrace after revelations of his use of a taxpayer-funded staff member as a political operative, one assigned to work on the Minister’s parliamentary re-election. Perhaps not Watergate-level mischief, but it was enough to besmirch Denmark’s clean government legacy. True, the Denmark foibles do not suggest that the country is in danger of becoming the next Somalia (the most woeful nation on the corruption index); indeed, Denmark did not even slip in the rankings. Nevertheless, if even Denmark, the lowest of low in corruption, is occasionally racked with corruption, then it is safe to assume corruption is universal among governments. Deep corruption transcends nations and national borders, but also sectors. Deep corruption in most instances manifests a “dimensional publicness” (Bozeman 1987; Moulton 2009) of the most egregious sort, an entanglement of political authority with private actors in pursuit of the basest private interests (for the moment, we hold in abeyance the question of whether accelerating trends of government-by-contractor, privatization and public-private power sharing contribute to deep corruption). Case in point is the US Citizens United case (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558 U.S. 310 [2010]), a case that essentially gutted all attempts to limit the amount that private groups and corporations can spend on campaigns or the ability to ensure transparency in campaign contributions. The “will of the people” now includes corporations as people, including the rights of private organizations to shelter their religious sensitivities from requirements of law (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. 573 U.S. [2014)]). In short, private interests are not public interests, and private organizations are essentially private citizens. The implications are dire for the control of the US political system and for the denigration of the rights of human, individual citizens (Briffault 2010; Hasen 2011). The issues related to whether corporations are people may pose somewhat of a conundrum, so let us also offer another candidate for deep corruption. Various European countries, such as the Netherlands, Ireland, and Luxembourg, offer large multinationals including Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple preferential tax arrangements. Under these so-called sweetheart deals, companies can reduce their tax obligations to practically nothing. Not only are national governments’ tax collections far lower because of these deals, but sweetheart deals also constitute an unfair competitive advantage when it comes to attracting large multinationals. The European Commission has deemed this type of preferential tax arrangement illegal state aid (and fined Apple $14.5 billion for its tax deal with Ireland in the process), but judicial proceedings will be ongoing for years while sweetheart deals continue to be used.1 Yet another example of deep corruption is the case of voting rights in the United States. Against the backdrop of rapidly changing US demographics, whereby the nation is projected to have people now considered minorities as the majority of the total population by the year 2043 (US Census Department 2016),2 many state governments have taken steps to restrict voting, allegedly to guard against voter fraud (Minnite 2010). Yet, repeated examination (Alvarez et al. 2008; Kiewiet et al. 2008; Lipton and Urbina 2007) reveals that instances of voter fraud are miniscule. One potential reason for this is that most states have polling inspectors, and voter impersonation entails a hefty fine and possibly imprisonment. Although the implementation of laws that affect US citizens’ voting rights is subject to the discretion and preferences of local officials, sweeping changes to elections laws often occur at the state-level (Burden et al. 2012; Kimball et al. 2013). With provisions to increase the standards of identification needed for verification of voter eligibility, what good is served beyond the present rather substantial legal deterrents? Some argue that stricter identification requirements can even exacerbate fraud by including yet another type of identification in the process (Gilbert 2015). So, what is achieved? The fact that stricter voting requirements legislation is cropping up in states where Republicans are now in the electoral majority but are rapidly losing numbers may not altogether be accidental, given that the largest racial and ethnic minorities tend not to vote for Republicans. Indeed, the intensification of voter identification requirements is arguably but one of the several legal instruments that have been used to dilute the electoral influence of minorities (Hajnal, Lajevardi, and Nielson 2017). Other means, such as the implementation of at-large elections and non-November elections, have long been contested due to the limits they impose upon the political influence of minority groups (Leal et al. 2004; Molina and Meier 2016; Trounstine and Valdini 2008). Arguably, attempting to ensure electoral fortunes not by the appeal of policy and politics but by requiring ever-higher voting barriers, barriers that appear to differentially affect minorities, is a systematic, entirely legal form of deep corruption. In 2013, the disarming of a key section of 1965 Voting Rights Act by the US Supreme Court led to swift plans to impose such barriers (Bobo 2016). Note the “arguably” qualifier in the above sentence. Is this deep corruption? Perhaps. However, the example points to an interesting problem in theorizing about deep corruption: knowing whether an action is motivated by some semblance of public values reasoning (e.g., a real commitment, even if a misguided one, to minimizing voter fraud) or whether there is veiled intent to subvert public values (e.g., providing legal, “soft” discrimination in favor of one set of voters and against another). Since so much about legal deep corruption involves bending laws to one’s own interest rather than outright breaking them, analysis of deep corruption requires a willingness to consider motive and to weight outcomes, not prerequisites to the study of bribery, kick-backs, and other such elements of illegal, venal corruption. One of the characteristics of deep corruption is that it is so ubiquitous, has so many hydra-like heads with so many different motives and justifications, pseudo and real, that allegations of deep corruption are inevitably contentious. A focus on deep corruption often requires taking a stand, a requirement that often makes scholars squeamish, perhaps for good reason. If one’s authority is based on expertise, objectivity and the ability to persuade with facts, statistical evidence or (less often) unimpeachable historical evidence, a research agenda requiring taking a stand may seem to threaten the authority of the scholar. Yet, it is precisely doing this that we propose here. In this article, nearly equal parts, review, research agenda, and conceptual theory, we argue that Public Administration scholarship can and should direct its intellectual energies to deep corruption, not foregoing research on the ordinary and more prosaic forms of corruption, but understanding its subsidiary place in the corruption universe. Although corruption research abounds in economics and political science, we believe that Public Administration scholars are particularly well placed to study deep corruption for two reasons. First, deep corruption is not bound by sectors or organization types and will usually involve a variety of public and private actors. A substantial stream of literature in Public Administration has focused on untangling differences and similarities between public and private organizations and examining public–private networks. Second, Public Administration scholars often have strong ties to public administrators. While it is critical for scholars to maintain their academic neutrality, such strong ties to practice provide a crucial access point for collecting data on deep corruption. Hence, the connection between Public Administration academia and practice is of value in the context of deep corruption research. We call for both conceptual and empirical knowledge of deep corruption. The crucial question in studying deep corruption is “Where does one even begin?”. We propose that public values theory (Bozeman 2002, 2007) provides a good starting point for empirical analysis of deep corruption, for two reasons. First, because public values theory presents a preliminary series of criteria, “public values failure,” that may prove useful for identifying and perhaps even explaining deep corruption and, second, because public values theory is agnostic about sector and not bounded by public law. In the remainder of this article we first examine the existing literature on corruption, beginning with the literature in economics and political science as a backdrop for our focus on the corruption literature in Public Administration. Next, we provide more detail about the idea of deep corruption. We then discuss the applicability of public values theory. We conclude with a discussion of research issues in the study of deep corruption as well as a review of the problems likely to be encountered in research on this thorny topic. Economics and Political Science Literatures on Corruption: A General Overview Despite our focus on Public Administration theory, we devote considerable attention here to the corruption literature in economics and political science. We do this because, first, the literature of these fields is relevant to the topic and much more extensive (Jain 2001; Svensson 2005) than the Public Administration corruption literature and, second, because the study of corruption cannot be contained or even easily differentiated by discipline. One would be hard pressed to find a topic presenting a more obvious amalgamation of politics, policy, economics, and administration. Despite the substantial diversity of corruption studies, both across-discipline and within-discipline diversity, one taking a bird’s eye view of the literature finds considerable overlap in terms of research topics, questions, and designs. Here, we identify and discuss four broad themes that seem particularly relevant to our study and can inform our envisioned Public Administration research agenda, namely definitions, antecedents, consequences, and data sources/levels of analysis of corruption. Definitions of Corruption Research on corruption is characterized by a spectrum of definitions that moves from very narrow to very broad. Tanzi (1998, 564) notes that “[c]orruption has been defined in many different ways, each lacking in some aspect. […] However, like an elephant, while it may be difficult to describe, corruption is generally not difficult to recognize when observed.” Essentially, corruption definitions differ on two dimensions. The first dimension relates to whether corruption should be limited to criminal acts, or also involves improper behavior that is not illegal. In one of the earlier academic papers on corruption, Rose-Ackerman (1975, 187) argues that “[a]lthough corrupt behavior can arise in a number of different contexts, its essential aspect is an illegal or unauthorized transfer of money or an in-kind transfer.” More recently, Lederman et al. (2005, 2) note that “there is no question that corruption is a type of crime”, while Glaeser and Saks (2006, 1055) refer to corruption as “crimes by public officials for personal gain.” This narrow definition of corruption as a form of criminal act is understandable if one merely equates corruption with bribes, which is indeed an illegal activity. Yet, in practice, corruption can take on many guises, some of which are not necessarily illegal, as we argue strongly throughout this article. The notion that corruption entails more than criminal acts alone is also reflected in the literature. Habib and Zurawicki (2002) point out that many governments aim to reduce corruption by focussing on behavior that is both illegal and improper, where improper behavior may go against the public interest, public opinion, and/or legal norms (e.g., Sandholtz and Koetzle 2000). If no legal norms are violated, corruption can be gauged by assessing behavior according to societal norms (Ashforth and Anand 2003). Hence, although many corrupt acts—especially those that are highly publicized—are illegal, there is strong support in the literature that corruption reflects behavior that goes against society’s rules of the game more generally. Yet, for the most part corruption caused by behavior that is not illegal is still tied to stand-alone acts by individuals. So, while we subscribe to the notion of corruption involving more than illegal activities alone, we also note that the breadth and scope of corruption and its link to public values theory remains underdeveloped in existing research. Later in the article, we argue that further attention to developing public failure criteria may give clues to needed research on deep corruption. Another debate concerns the involvement of public officials in corruption. Many scholars argue that corruption requires the abuse of public power or public office for personal gain (e.g., Gupta, Davoodi, and Alonso-Terme 2002; Kaufmann 1997; Shleifer and Vishny 1993). A further distinction is often made between political corruption, which refers to illicit activities by rule-makers, and bureaucratic corruption, which concerns corrupt acts from rule implementers (Kolstad and Wiig 2008). In this “public office centered view,” corruption exists only if government officials are explicitly involved. The narrow conceptualization of corruption as explicitly requiring the involvement of public officials does not coincide with a contemporary world of “revolving door” careers between public and private sector, rapid moves from legislative positions to lobbying firms and to one-issue office holders seeking power chiefly to represent a private interest. As mentioned by Jain (2001, 73): “Certain illegal acts such as fraud, money laundering, drug trades, and black market operations, do not constitute corruption in and of themselves because they do not involve the use of public power. However, people who undertake these activities must often involve public officials and politicians if these operations are to survive and hence these activities seldom thrive without widespread corruption.” Hence, one can make a compelling argument that corruption exists in the presence of either explicit or implicit involvement of public officials, which is precisely the point that we will build on when making our case for deep corruption. Antecedents of Corruption Existing research assumes that a necessary condition for corruption to materialize is that politicians, legislators, or managers can wield discretionary powers to enrich themselves at the expense of others (Bardhan 1997; Jain 2001). The utility for an individual to engage in illicit activities is determined by the size of the economic rent that can be extracted, on the one hand, and the psychological, social, and financial costs of getting caught and punished, on the other hand (Treisman 2000). For the most part, scholars have been concerned with identifying—mostly country level—political, economic, and cultural factors that either stimulate or hamper corrupt practices (La Porta et al. 1999). Although we will discuss these political, economic, and cultural factors separately, it is important to note that all three factors are strongly related. Indeed, before discussing the antecedents of corruption in more detail, we must first turn our attention to one of the main limitations of the corruption literature, namely concerns about causality. As with many macro-economic studies, the interactive nature of variables studied implies that endogeneity issues feature heavily in empirical corruption research (Jain 2001). In many cases, there are theoretical and/or methodological concerns that hint at the possibility of reverse causality (Glaeser and Saks 2006). In this light, Jong-sun and Khagram (2005) find that income inequality is an antecedent of corruption, while Gupta, Davoodi, and Alonso-Terme (2002) find the opposite, namely that corruption is an antecedent of income inequality. Similarly, although strong links have repeatedly been found between GDP per capita and corruption, it is unclear what the causal relationship between the two concepts is (Lambsdorff 1999). As a result, the purpose of the discussion below is not to provide the reader with an exhaustive exposition on the antecedents of corruption in this section—and of consequences of corruption in the next subsection—but rather to give an overview of concepts that are strongly intertwined with the study of corruption. That being said, we mirror the discussion in the literature of different concepts as being antecedents or consequences of corruption as much as possible. A key antecedent of corruption is the strength and quality of a country’s political and legal institutions (Treisman 2007). The main reasoning here is that high-quality institutions reduce or minimize corruption, whereas the opposite holds for low-quality institutions. In this light, competitive and transparent political and electoral systems with checks-and-balances hold politicians more easily accountable, and are thus associated with less corruption (Kolstad and Wiig 2008; Lederman et al. 2005; Persson, Tabellini, and Trebbi 2003). Similarly, stricter law enforcement increases the potential costs of engaging in corrupt acts, and may thus act as a corruption deterrent (Ades and Di Tella 1997). Fiscal decentralization, a larger proportion of women in parliament and senior government positions, and press freedom have also been associated with less corruption, while federal states and presidential systems are conducive to more corruption (Brunetti and Weder 2003; Chowdhury 2004; Dollar, Fisman, and Gatti 2001; Fisman and Gatti 2002; Kunicova and Rose-Ackerman 2005; Lederman et al. 2005; Swamy et al. 2001; Treisman 2000, 2007). Another determinant of corruption is a country’s legal system. Corruption has been found to be lower in common law as opposed to civil law countries (e.g., Jong-sun and Khagram 2005; Treisman 2000). This finding can be explained by the fact that common law has come about to protect property rights of private actors vis-à-vis the state, whereas civil law has traditionally been used by the sovereign for state building purposes (La Porta et al. 1999). In terms of economic factors, more economically developed countries exhibit less corruption (La Porta et al. 1999; Treisman 2007), which is unsurprising as richer countries will also have higher quality political institutions, ceteris paribus. Various macro-economic factors have been found to affect corruption levels; lower average income and inflation increase corruption (Paldam 1999; Sandholtz and Koetzle 2000), whereas openness to foreign trade and successfully implemented pro-growth economic policies lower it (Treisman 2000). Furthermore, the likelihood of corruption decreases if there is more market competition for the provision of public goods (Ades and Di Tella 1997). Another often-cited determinant of corruption is the wage level for public servants vis-a-vis their private counterparts. Studying corruption in Thailand, Svensson (2005, 19) notes that “[w]hen a well-paid CEO wishes for a job with low official pay in the government sector, corruption is almost surely a problem!” Yet, empirical evidence regarding the relationship between the wages of public officials and corruption is mixed. While Van Rijckeghem and Weder (2001) find that substantially increasing the salaries of public servants can reduce corruption, Treisman (2000) does not find support for such a relationship in his cross-country analysis of corruption determinants. Other studies emphasize that higher wages need to be accompanied by appropriate enforcement mechanisms in order to curtail corruption (Di Tella and Schargrodsky 2003; Svensson 2005). Overall, the existing literature shows that the relationship between wages of public officials and corruption is complex. Finally, corruption is also driven by cultural elements. As societal norms play part in determining whether a certain act is considered corrupt, differences in such norms, especially between the West and developing countries, may lead to different interpretations as to what corruption entails (Kaufmann 1997). In this light, Montinola and Jackman (2002, 148) note that, in some cultures, “corruption stems from social norms that emphasize gift-giving and loyalty to family or clan, rather than the rule of law.” A higher level of trust within a country also means less corruption (La Porta et al. 1999). Another cultural antecedent of corruption worth mentioning here is religion. Most notably, corruption has been found to be lower in Protestant countries, which can be explained by the fact that Protestantism is a relatively egalitarian religion that allows for state officials to be challenged more readily than in more hierarchical religions (La Porta et al. 1999; Sandholtz and Koetzle 2000; Treisman 2000). As we will discuss in detail later, our conceptualization of deep corruption entails similar challenges. Consequences of Corruption Despite its overall negative connotations, considerable attention has been given in the literature to potential positive outcomes of corruption, especially in developing countries. Leff (1964) was one of the first authors to argue that corruption may be beneficial to economic development. Specifically, in his view, corruption enables certain stakeholders to participate more extensively in the decision-making process than would otherwise be the case. If the goals of these stakeholders have a positive effect on development (e.g., business groups advocating policies with a strong focus on economic growth), then the final outcomes of policy making with corruption may actually be more favorable than without. This line of reasoning reflects the argument that corruption can grease or speed up the wheels of an economy, especially in countries with excessive bureaucracies (for more detailed discussions, see Meon and Sekkat 2005; Wei 1999). This type of reasoning can also make it easier for manifestations of deep corruption to appear legitimate. Although corruption may be beneficial under a specific set of conditions, there is overwhelming empirical evidence in support of the opposite view. In this light, Kaufmann (1997, 116) notes that “[i]nstead of corruption being the grease for the squeaky wheels of a rigid administration, it becomes the fuel for excessive and discretionary regulations.” Indeed, corruption has repeatedly been found to harm a country’s overall economic performance and development. For example, Mauro (1995) finds support for a negative association between corruption and private investment that in turn lowers economic growth. Meon and Sekkat (2005) show that corruption is even more detrimental to investment for countries with a poor quality of governance. Owing to its secretive and uncertain nature, corruption also increases transaction costs in a way that is more harmful than taxes (Jain 2001; Shleifer and Vishny 1993). Countries with high levels of corruption also find it harder to attract foreign direct investment, which in turn negatively affects economic growth. Foreign investors may shy away from having to deal with corrupt government officials, as corruption leads to operational inefficiencies, increases costs, and is viewed as morally wrong (Habib and Zurawicki 2002; Lambsdorff 1999; Wei 2000). In the context of public procurement procedures, the existence of corruption may lead contracts to be awarded to the producer that is able pay the largest bribe, rather than the most efficient producer (Rodriguez, Uhlenbruck, and Eden 2005; Rose-Ackerman 1975). Similarly, public officials may decide to invest in projects that offer the best opportunities for rent-seeking and bribes, rather than projects with the highest value from the public’s perspective (Tanzi 1998). Such considerations mean that too much money is spent on defense and infrastructure projects, and too little on improving a country’s health and education systems (Gupta, de Mello, and Sharan 2001; Mauro 1998; Treisman 2000; Shleifer and Vishny 1993). Furthermore, since bribes take place “off the books,” countries miss out on both direct tax revenues linked to the bribes, and indirect tax revenues related to the hidden activities that would otherwise have been taxed (Seligson 2002). Finally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, given the wide range of negative consequences of corruption as outlined above, corruption lowers society’s trust in government (e.g., Seligson 2002). Anderson and Tverdova (2003) find that higher levels of corruption are associated with more negative evaluations of a country’s political system, and less trust in public officials. Similarly, Hakverdian and Mayne (2012) show for a sample of 21 European countries that the negative relationship between trust and corruption is affected by citizens’ level of education. In summary, there is overwhelming empirical support that corruption harms a country’s economic performance and development, as well as the public’s trust in its political institutions. Data Sources and Levels of Analysis in the Political Science and Economics Literature The vast majority of corruption studies have used country-level survey measures of corruption provided by such institutions as the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Institute for Management Development, Transparency International, and the World Economic Forum (e.g., Ades and Di Tella 1997; Chowdhury 2004; Lambsdorff 1999). These datasets have been criticized extensively, particularly on the grounds that corruption perceptions may be biased strongly by ideological and cultural differences between countries, rather than ‘objective’ manifestations of corruption (e.g. Treisman 2007). In this light, Fisman and Miguel (2007, 1021) argue that “the study of corruption beyond the realm of opinion surveys is still in its infancy.” Unlike most country-level studies, many organization- and regional-level empirical corruption studies have used more innovative measures and data sources. Olken (2009) compares the costs of road building in Indonesian villages as reported by officials with the costs of building each road as estimated by a team of engineers and surveyors. Although the author finds a positive correlation between corruption perceptions and the more objective expert-based corruption measure of “missing expenditures,” this correlation is rather weak as officials are able to strategically hide corruption from the public eye (in this case, through inflating quantities used, as opposed to marking up prices). Di Tella and Schargrodsky (2003) also focus on price levels as a corruption measure. Specifically, the authors show how a crackdown on corruption in the city of Buenos Aires during 1996–1997 significantly lowered prices paid by public hospitals for homogenous inputs. Fisman and Miguel (2007) analyze parking violations by United Nations diplomats from 149 countries in Manhattan. The authors find that, in the absence of rule enforcement, the number of unpaid parking tickets is strongly correlated with diplomats’ home country level of corruption. Interestingly, there is very little research on corruption at the level of the individual. Ashforth and Anand (2003, 5) summarize the literature as follows: “corruption is usually the product of strong situations that override individual differences.” Nonetheless, a small number of studies have looked at how corruption may affect the individual. For example, Gatti, Paternosto, and Rigolini (2003) analyze the determinants of individual attitudes toward corruption. Using data from the World Values Survey, the authors find that women are more averse to corruption, as are individuals with low incomes. Furthermore, there is support for a positive relationship between age and aversion to corruption, as well as a negative relationship between unemployment and corruption. Similarly, De Andrade Costa and Wagner Mainardes (2016) use data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor on more than 76,000 individuals from 53 countries to show that perceived corruption has a negative association with an individual’s entrepreneurial intention. In summary, we note that our conceptualization of deep corruption reflects some themes found in the economics and political science literatures, especially the idea that corruption entails more than just illegal activities and affects a wide range of organization and country-level outcomes. Furthermore, many of the political, economic, and cultural drivers of corruption that have been studied in the past likely also affect the likelihood of deep corruption manifestations. Yet, whereas existing research has mostly been concerned with country-level antecedents and outcomes of corruption, which in turn are driven by acts of venal corruption (such as bribes or kick-backs), our view on deep corruption is substantially broader. While some of the political science and economics literature recognizes this broader-based corruption, it has not devoted much attention to it. That is something it has in common with the much smaller Public Administration literature, reviewed below. Public Administration Literature on Corruption While the Public Administration literature on corruption is not vast, it has made some significant contributions, most of these to analysis of administrative corruption, especially of the venal sort, and corrupt relationships between administrators and elected officials, although not through the lens of deep corruption and focussing almost exclusively on breaches of the law. Before filling out our conceptualization of deep corruption and considering research approaches, we first must get some purchase on the existing literature, its strong points, and areas of weakness. Thus, we provide a systematic review and critical analysis of the recent literature in Public Administration on corruption and compare this to the above discussion on corruption research in economics and political science. The review does not provide a detailed discussion of the specific findings because this is not a literature review per se but an overview needed to advance our suggestion that the literature needs to extend its focus and, especially, to embrace the study of deep corruption. The review of the Public Administration literature focuses on empirical studies, both quantitative and qualitative, rather than conceptual studies or admonitory ones. As we see below, the Public Administration corruption literature, while dwarfed by the corruption literature in political science and economics, shares many themes and concerns and, notably, like other disciplines, gives little attention to the concern we advance here, the concern for deep corruption. The Public Administration journals examined represent a list of those that include empirical research on corruption. Studies are thus considered from: Journal of Public Administration Theory and Research, Public Administration Review, Public Administration, International Public Management Journal, Public Management Review, Administration and Society, Public Administration and Development, and International Review of Public Administration. From each journal, we included in our review articles that focus explicitly on corruption, as opposed to articles that only control for corruption or include it as one of the several emphases. Although we do not claim that our list is exhaustive—there may be differences in what various observers would consider “primarily on corruption”—we are confident that we have identified and included most recent empirical corruption studies in Public Administration journals.3 The questions examined in the review include: How is corruption defined and measured? What research approaches and methods are employed in the study? Is corruption a dependent variable or independent variable (or both)? What nation or population is the focus of corruption research? What are the chief findings of the studies, but also what are the foci of studies and why? Table 1 provides rough summary answers to these questions, but they are considered in more detail in the body of this section. Table 1. Characterization of Public Administration Literature on Corruption Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Note:aThis definition of corruption is taken from previous literature, governmental codes of conduct, or international standards. View Large Table 1. Characterization of Public Administration Literature on Corruption Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Article Corruption Definition Operationalization Method Geography Key Findings Choi (2007) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable measured using the presence of public–private network environments conducive to administrative corruption Qualitative approach using case study and ethnographic analysis Japan Although governmental– business ties will persist, they must be reinvented in a manner that reduces exclusivity in administrative ranks and bolsters citizen participation de Graaf and Huberts (2008) Public officials are corrupt when they act (or fail to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable treated as 10 case studies involving public officials suspected of corrupt acts Exploratory and inductive case study approach Netherlands Based on an exploratory analysis of 10 cases, the authors arrive at a series of propositions that explain officials’ predisposition to engaging in corruption. These include characteristics of the individual, and organizational traits Rubin and Whitford (2008) [t]ypically characterized as the use of public office for private gain Dependent variable operationalized using World Bank corruption index Multivariate regression analysis designed to assess the effect of civil service structure and corruption 26 OECD countries, along with eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe Corruption, as measured in this study, is not influenced by the structure of civil service for the countries in this sample although, in some settings, it was found to be lower in response to higher government wages Grimes and Wängnerud (2010) Administrative corruption is focal point but not precisely defined Dependent variable derived from Transparency Mexico survey respondents’ answer to question of whether they paid a bribe to access certain public services Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of social welfare reforms on corruption/ quality of government Mexico Social welfare reforms— defined as conditional cash transfers in this study—have a reductive impact on corruption Gebel (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Treated as an outcome of interest (dependent variable) Analysis based on text evaluation and interviews with officials from an anti-corruption agency Broad international focus The importance of institutional forms of anticorruption efforts notwithstanding, the ethical and moral dimensions of human decision-making merit greater emphasis in policy deliberations of how best to combat corruption Marquette (2012) Corruption is not precisely defined in this article Dependent variable measured as participant attitudes towards corruption obtained through group discussion Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of text India and Nigeria Findings indicate that while religion influences opinions on corruption, it may be unrelated to corrupt acts Vian et al. (2012) [d]efined as abuse of entrusted power for private gain Corruption is the outcome of interest though no precise measurement is present in this study This article develops a narrative based on the findings of “sixth Anti- Corruption Dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the international donor community.” Vietnam The efficacy of heightened political oversight, citizen participation, and structural reforms within healthcare bureaucracies as means to reduce corruption are dependent upon the strength or weakness of institutional constraints Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena (2013) [t]he abuse of official duty by public officials, entailing a direct or indirect benefit derived from a public service position for an individual or a group by privileging private interests over the common good and encompassing the violation of rules regulating public service behavior or the ethics of public servicea Independent variable measured using citizens’ perceptions of the pervasiveness of various forms of corruption, and how pervasive they perceive corruption to be a various levels of government (perceptions of administrative and political corruption) Quantitative analysis of survey data designed to analyze the effect of citizens’ perceptions of corruption on satisfaction and trust in government, and willingness to break certain rules Spain Perceptions of corruption are associated with lower levels of governmental trust and satisfaction, and bolstered respondents’ willingness to engage in rule-breaking behaviors Heywood and Meyer- Sahling (2013) No new or concise definition of corruption presented; emphasis is on “danger zones,” conceptualized as those areas of bureaucracy where corruption risks are highest Treated as a dependent variable based on interview data A mixed-method approach relying on interviews, textual analysis, and collection of archival data Poland Within Polish ministerial bureaucracy, the risk of corruption in the management of legislative affairs increased in the areas of personal/impersonal networks, screening in hiring, and political time horizons, and reduced in the presence of multiple principles/ overseers Walton (2013) Petty corruption— acts committed by “lower level” actors for low gain; grand corruption— acts committed by highly visible actors for grand gainsa Independent variable used to assess survey respondent assessment of corruption-related consequences 64 Focus-group discussions conducted during a 6-month period. Participants were drawn from four provinces in Papa New Guinea Papua New Guinea Focus-group participants viewed some forms of corruption as dysfunctional, while others, in particular those from marginalized groups, perceived some forms of corruption as functional if the corruption in question benefited the community Schatz (2013) [m]isuse of public office for private gaina Dependent variable measured as the level of corruption reduction in public administration Comparative case study analysis Tanzania, India, Uganda Suggestive results of the framework developed in this study provide some support for the notion the social accountability mechanisms can result in lower levels of corruption Agbiboa (2015) In general, the term corruption will be used loosely in this study to describe the misuse of one’s position or authority for personal or organizational (or subunit) gain, where misuse in turn refers to departures from accepted societal norms Dependent variable discussed as various forms of police corruption such as bribery, misappropriation of funds, and deviations from organizations rules Historical analysis Nigeria Corruption in Nigerian police departments and, more broadly, Nigerian society is deeply embedded. Efforts to combat corruption should address the socially embedded nature of corruption Javor and Jancsics (2013) In this research project, we used the widely accepted definition of organizational corruption claiming that corruption is abuse or misuse of authority for personal, subunit, or organizational benefitsa Dependent variable with emphasis on various patterns of corrupt behavior discussed by interviewed subjects Qualitative analysis based on interviews with actors within various Hungarian organizations. Individuals were reported to have been involved in corrupt acts or responsible for oversight of corrupt actors Hungary Derived from interviews with actors within various organizational tiers, isolated collusion (bottom of organization), protection upper management and “ad hoc deals” (by middle managers), and the corrupt agenda setting/ resource allocation by organizational elites were the various forms of corruption that emerged from the analysis Roman and Miller (2014) [a]n act (or failure to act) as a result of receiving personal rewards from interested outside partiesa Dependent variable with no precise measurement per se Qualitative approach using 33 interviews of informants and a descriptive review of 28 corruption cases Moldova The cases studied in this article reveal that kinship, citizens’ willingness to accept some degree of corruption, organizational and social influences, trust in corrupt administrators, and self-selection into corrupt jobs are important in understanding the broader of who public officials become corrupt Vickers (2014) In Australia, from where this case was drawn, corruption in a public organization is defined by the government watchdog as including deliberate impropriety, wrongdoing, and maladministrationa There is no specific measurement per se, but corruption is discussed as more of a dependent variable Creative non-fiction narrative of using the case of higher education in Australia, and interpretation of secondary data Australia A deeper understanding of corruption and the types of acts that constitute corrupt behavior can help organizations better deal with corruption at a system-wide level Kwon (2014) [c]orruption is defined as the abuse of power at the request of supervisors, relatives, or politicians and through the desire for personal gaina Dependent variable measured using bureaucrats’ opinion on whether a particular act (question: Do you think that taking 100,000 won (roughly US$100) from job-related companies in your child’s marriage ceremony is corruption) constitutes corrupt behavior Development of a formal theoretical model along with a quantitative test using data taken from a survey of 800 governmental bureaucrats Korea When a bureaucrat believes that promotions are performance-based, exhibit greater levels of inherent and public service motivation, their standards/interpretation of corruption appear to be more rigorous Liu and Mikesell (2014) [t]he misuse of public office for private gaina Independent variable measured using corruption index of public officials convicted for federal corruption abuses (state level analysis) Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) United States During the time period analyzed (1997–2008), increases in corruption were associated with greater levels of total expenditures within the individual states. Reduction in levels of corruption would have resulted in significant savings Themudo (2014) [a]buse of entrusted office for private gaina Dependent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross- national (index and other data cover 41 countries including United States) This study finds a negative relationship between corruption and the size of governmental and nonprofit sectors Berkovich (2015) Government corruption involves officials using public resources and authorities for personal gaina Independent variable measured using Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 45 countries including United States) At the country level, greater levels of corruption reduced levels of educational attainment Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) Corruption in the public sector, defined as the misuse of public power for private gain, is an undesired phenomenona Dependent variable measured using question that assesses attitudes toward bribery on the job Quantitative analysis (multivariate regression) Cross-national (sample of 58 countries including United States) Higher wages were found to result in greater levels of acceptance for corruption Teachout (2016) This is a perspective piece with no measurement or analysis per se, although corruption is the phenomenon of interest US Supreme Court A lack of legislative consensus on the meaning of corruption and bribery have opened the door to excessive forms of what amount to legal bribery, for example as in the case of campaign contributions Sundstrom (2016) Emphasis is on bureaucrats’ acceptance of bribery, although corruption itself is not clearly defined Dependent variable treated as interviewee past choices to engage in bribe-taking Qualitative analysis based on interviews with members of the South African Bureaucracy (Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries) South Africa The decision to engage in corrupt behavior occurs under the threats and intimidations interviewees perceived from members of the community, including their own coworkers Note:aThis definition of corruption is taken from previous literature, governmental codes of conduct, or international standards. View Large Understanding the Structure of the Corruption Literature in Public Administration This literature review, which is strictly speaking more a characterization of the literature than an intensive review, has as its goal providing evidence that almost all Public Administration literature focuses not on deep corruption but rather on individuals, usually public officials, breaking the law by discrete corrupt acts. Returning to the questions posed above (and reflected in Table 1), one can see that corruption is in most studies not defined or it is defined in terms of officials’ use of public office for private gain (e.g., bribery, nepotism). There is also considerable variation in the measurement of corruption. In part this is owing to the fact that some studies treat corruption as a dependent variable and some treated as an independent variable. This seems perfectly appropriate. Corruption clearly is not exclusively one or the other; it makes sense to try to understand both what causes corruption and its effects. Relatively few studies provide operational measures or any measurement detail, but most examine empirical data. About half of the empirical studies employ qualitative data, including case studies (Choi 2007; de Graaf and Huberts 2008), historical analysis (Agbiboa 2015), interviews (Gebel 2012; Javor and Jancscis 2013; Marquette 2012; Sundstrom 2016), focus groups (Walton 2013), “creative nonfiction narrative” (Vickers 2014) and textual analysis (Heywood and Meyer-Sahling 2013). Among those studies presenting quantitative data and analysis, most are based on questionnaire data (Grimes and Wängnerud 2010; Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen 2016; Villoria, Van Ryzin, and Lavena 2013), but some use aggregate data from standard corruption indices (Berkovich 2015; Liu and Mikesell 2014; Themudo 2014). In short, it can be concluded that a variety of methods and measures are brought to the analysis of corruption, presenting all advantages and the disadvantages of different methodological approaches. While some of the studies, especially those using index data, are truly cross-national (e.g., Berkovich 2015; Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen 2016; Liu and Mikesell 2014), most are single-nation studies focusing on a variety of nations, including South Africa, Poland, New Guinea, Australia, Nigeria, Moldova and Hungary among others. Studies of the United States and Australia are in the mix, but the majority of studies look at less well-developed countries, or countries that have recently fallen on hard economic or political times. The empirical findings from these studies are, both literally as well as figuratively, “all over the map.” One of the most important distinctions among the studies is, as previously mentioned, whether they conceptualize corruption as a dependent variable. None focus (at least in their analysis) on corruption as a dependent and independent variable, which means that reciprocal effects or simultaneous effects are not examined. The studies also operate at very different levels of analysis, varying from the individual respondent (e.g., Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen 2016) to the nation (e.g., Berkovich 2015). When one considers as well the vast differences in methods and data, it is easy to see that findings are not often comparable. Among the studies that focus on the question “what causes or contributes to corruption?”, few studies grapple with the diversity of corruption drivers. Instead, most Public Administration scholars are interested in specific correlates of corruption. This is not at all surprising since a comprehensive theory of corruption would be remarkably difficult to establish and even more difficult to test. For example, if one considers only a relatively straightforward case—officials behaving badly—it is almost certainly the case that bad behavior is in most instances related not only to the characteristics of individuals but also, among other factors, the immediate social milieu, the work context, aspects of policy and administrative rules, group dynamics, and a nation’s history and culture. Public administration researchers examine many of these factors but, due to complexity and data requirements, no one examines the multiple layers of causality. Thus, for example, Navot, Reingewertz, and Cohen (2016) find that higher wages are associated with corruption (but surely this is a correlation at best and perhaps a spurious one); Sundstrom (2016) finds that threats and intimidation affect corruption; Berkovich (2015) asserts that nations’ corruption and educational attainment are related (with corruption viewed as an independent variable in what is almost certainly a case of reciprocal causality), whereas Kwon (2014), focusing at the individual level, asserts that perceptions about corruption are related to perceptions about the relation of performance to advancement. Given the complexity of corruption dynamics, particularly in a multi-level setting, it is unsurprising that empirical studies have only chopped away at bits and pieces. Indeed, the Public Administration literature includes no broad-gauge theory of corruption. Nor is one presented here. However, we do consider some of the elements required for such a theory. A first step involves a consideration of the reasons why Public Administration has been so focused on what we refer to as venal corruption, while largely overlooking deep corruption. A strong theory of corruption requires consideration of both corruption types and the relation between the two. Venal Corruption, Deep Corruption, and Public Values Although Public Administration scholarship on corruption has steadily accreted, the clear majority (exceptions include Choi 2007 and Teachout 2016) focus almost entirely on what we refer to as venal corruption—individuals setting aside their obligations of public office and committing illegal acts for personal gain (viz., Agbiboa 2015; de Graaf and Huberts 2008; Sundstrom 2016). Generally, venal corruption is localized, often fragmented and, once uncovered, easy to spot and to understand. When one sees kickbacks, bagmen, or money funneled into offshore accounts, in these cases it is easy enough to identify corruption and usually its causes. Perhaps one reason that Public Administration scholarship has been focused for the most part on venal corruption is that the field has its roots, at least in the United States, in early reform efforts. The emergence of Public Administration coincided to a large degree with various “good government” initiatives in the first three decades of the 20th century. Thus, early articles and books in political science and what was then its subfield of public administration focused either on electoral corruption or such forms of venal corruption as bribery. Let us consider just one widely influential early work on corruption, Robert Brooks (1910),Corruption in American Politics, a study viewed at the time as one of the more comprehensive on the topic. According to one reviewer (Haines 1911, 309), Brooks “discusses fully the nature of corruption, its prevalence and influence on American life, the methods of combating the resulting evils and the outlook with respect to the future.” But in fact, the book provided very few instances of actual corruption and focused instead on arguments against taking bribes or evils of the spoils system. The “outlook with respect to the future” turns out to have been a bit too optimistic. In Brooks’ words: “(T)he process of reform will be slow, but we are on the right road … the grosser forms of corruption that disgrace and disgust the present era will be eliminated, there can be no doubt(.) … Never before have men cooperated on so large a scale and so honest a basis as here and now” (Haines 1911, 311). Since there were no Public Administration journals prior to 1940, work on the topic in general and corruption specifically was published in American Political Science Review and Political Science Quarterly, the two oldest continuous political science journals. One foundational work is Woodrow Wilson’s (1887) famous “Study of Administration.” Although some view Wilson’s essay as the cornerstone of the politics–administration dichotomy later decried by such political realists as Simon (1946) and Sayre (1951), more recent scholars (Rutgers 1997; Svara 1998; Terry 1995) have argued that the seemingly rigid and apolitical ideas of those such as Wilson (1887), Dimock (1936), and White (1926) were misrepresented as the field’s founders were focused on protecting public administrators from the worst excesses of corrupt electoral politics, not all politics. But what most agree upon is that the realm of the public administrator is one to be protected by various forms of venality, whether originating in spoils systems, machine politics, or influence peddling. Thus, such landmarks as the Hatch Act (Esman 1951), the city management movement (Reed 1955; Stillman 1974), and the Hoover Commissions (Finer 1949; Fesler 1957) have all been focused, to some extent, on reducing venal corruption. In contrast, deep corruption, as we note in the Introduction section, is “the thwarting of public values by immoral actions that are directly caused or enabled by core structures of government, governance or public policy.” While the definition of deep corruption that we present is our own, the idea of Public Administration focusing on more systemic corruption issues is not a novel one. In an article published nearly 25 years ago, Phillip Jos (1993) argued that Public Administration studies of corruption tend to avoid major normative issues and instead focus on the smaller issues, ones more easily attacked by empirical studies. We agree with Jos’ observation about the tendency of Public Administration scholarship to focus on smaller issues and avoid the major underlying causes of corruption and, indeed, that observation is no less valid today than it was in 1993. However, we do not feel that the desire for better and clearer measurement is either a motivation for ignoring what we refer to as deep corruption or at all necessary. The problem is partly analytical, but chiefly conceptual. Whether or not measurement is involved, it is simply easier to identify, conceptualize, and set boundaries around discrete, individual acts of corruption than systemic or pervasive and interlocking corruption. Interestingly, the Public Administration work that comes closest to advocating the study of what we refer to as deep corruption is that of Caiden and Caiden (1977: 301), work preceding by many years Jos’ call for attention to systemic corruption. Decades ago, Caiden and Caiden criticized traditional approaches to corruption as well as more theoretically focused “revisionists” approaches for their tendency to “think of corruption in individual terms without recognizing the existence of systemic corruption.” However, the prescription was not (as is ours) developing theory of deep corruption, but rather focusing on approaches to ethics that might recognize and cope with systemic corruption (Caiden 2001). We have not to this point taken on the problem of immoral actions by whom and in whose perspective. For the present, let us suffice to say that delving into deep corruption requires taking a stand about values but does not require consensus on either specific public values or widely accepted confirmation that questionable events are violations of public values. The key issue is to provide specifications of values, clear-cut assumptions, and such empirical evidence as can be developed and to use these to promote public deliberation about possible deep corruption. The “proof” is in the transparency of deliberative process, not in scientific evidence about deep corruption. We return to this point below in our discussion of the use of public values theory as a lens on deep corruption. One tool for identifying possible deep corruption is the notion of public values criteria or public values failures (Bozeman 2002). When legitimated public policies systematically thwart such public values as civil rights, opportunity, or even human sustenance, then it is likely that deep corruption directly enables such public values failures. It is easy enough to think of historical cases of public values failures that were clearly rooted in deep corruption, examples such as the Jim Crow laws that employed the legitimate coercive force of government to thwart a variety of public values related fundamentally to human welfare and well-being. Likewise, such legally sanctioned initiatives as the internment of Japanese citizens in the 1940s, the disintegration and dislocation of Native American families and the banning of indigenous languages in Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools, poll taxes, and “literacy” tests disenfranchising citizens, all would be cases of public values failures associated with deep corruption. It is easier to make moral judgments in hindsight, but today’s examples of public values failures based on deep corruption are not as easily identified or agreed upon. What all of the examples above have in common is that they are no longer supported in public policy and, indeed, in most cases are now explicitly prohibited. But one cannot, of course, know today which of the current public policies will later be viewed as draconian vestiges of a darker time. Thus, conducting research on deep corruption must face this obstacle—the almost certain disagreement about its nature and content. We return to this issue in the concluding section of the article. Recall that deep corruption does not require illegal or criminal acts, which is the primary focus of most contemporary corruption research. Illegal acts are, by definition, not supported by government structures, policies, and institutions. The exception is the case in which entire agencies or institutions of government act illegally, not just cases of individual humans behaving badly. Thus, Watergate meets the definition of deep corruption as does the US Public Health Service’s use of troops as unwitting subjects in medical experiments, the infamous Tuskegee experiments. Both of these cases qualify as deep corruption, because the acts were permitted by deeply flawed elements of political cultures. Table 2 compares and contrasts the concepts “venal corruption” and “deep corruption.” The table shows differences in definition and also their respective relation to public law, government authority, social dynamics among other factors. Perhaps the most striking point to be gleaned from Table 2 is the respective role of public law. While a deep corruption emphasis certainly does not require or encourage a lack of respect for the rule of law, it does not take the position that rule of law is a transcendent value that trumps all others. In this respect, the emphasis in deep corruption is a Lockean focus rather than a Hobbesian one. The rule of law, by this view, is legitimated by the de facto social contract and when those in authority violate the social contract they call into question the legitimacy of the rule of law. Thus, it is argued here that the starting point for assessing corruption is not a legal one but a moral one, embedded not in personal morality but morality as reflected in public values and the public interest. Table 2. Comparing Venal Corruption and Deep Corruption Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex View Large Table 2. Comparing Venal Corruption and Deep Corruption Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex Attribute Venal Corruption Deep Corruption Legality Generally focuses on illegal acts Focus on corruption of the public interest through corrupt laws or exploitation of legal authority Authority Individuals in authority misuse their authority for personal gain Groups of persons in authority conspire to distort policy processes in order to serve privileged group interests Characteristic Corrupt Acts Bribes, kickbacks, embezzlement Few “characteristic,” high-degree of idiosyncrasy Familiar Historical Instances Few familiar because more often “one off”; but includes Vice President Spiro Agnew kickbacks; GSA officials fired for spending $800,000 in Las Vegas for alleged training conference; Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Affair; Mayor Lee Alexander, Syracuse, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery; Major Bill Campbell, Atlanta, sentenced to prison after conviction for bribery Tuskegee experiments on African American men by US Public Health Service officials; appropriation of lands historically occupied by Native Americans; internment of Japanese citizens in World War II; the blacklisting of dozens of artists and celebrities by House Un-American Activities Committee; Teapot Dome Scandal; numerous events related to police profiling and unauthorized use of deadly force Visibility Almost always out of public view Hiding in plain sight Social Dynamics Small group phenomena, fragmented, few “moving parts” Larger groups, organizations and institutions, either coordinated or interlocking, complex View Large This latter point is key. We are not suggesting a moral free-for-all or a solipsistic conceptualization of corruption but rather one grounded in public values where “public values are those providing normative consensus about (1) the rights, benefits, and prerogatives to which citizens should (and should not) be entitled; (2) the obligations of citizens to society, the state and one another; and (3) the principles on which governments and policies should be based” (Bozeman 2007). By this notion, public values have no necessary concordance with the law or the state. It is possible for laws to advance, thwart or have no effect on public values. A key word in the conceptualization is should, as in “government and policy should be based,” recognizing that it is not at all inevitable that they will be rooted in public values. Given this starting point, it is not surprising that deep corruption and venal corruption tend to feature quite different culprits engaging in categorically different corrupt acts. In Public Administration scholarship, most studies of corruption have focused on legal transgressions of public officials (e.g., Agbiboa 2015; Liu and Mikesell 2014; Themudo 2014; Vickers 2014) with the most common transgression the use of public office for private gain. Obviously, these are vitally important issues and worth the attention they receive. However, in the case of deep corruption, the concern is with a much more diverse set of corrupt acts, as diverse as public values themselves, and the misdeeds may be undertaken by public or private officials, and perhaps most common, with the two working in concert. An interesting distinction between venal and deep corruption, but not an absolute one, is that whereas venal corruption, usually being illegal, hides from public scrutiny, deep corruption often occurs in full view or, if not in full view, at least not so far removed from it. The reason is that deep corruption often, though certainly not always, is protected by the law. When public policy and governance succeed in violating public values on a massive scale, they often do so because a set of powerful social actors have assiduously, but legally, changed the political game and often the rules of the market to serve their interests at the expense of the greater number of but less powerful citizens. Let us consider a simple example, albeit one that gives rise to endless argument. The US income tax system permits some billionaires to literally pay no taxes while taxing median wage earners at an effective rate (after deductions and credits) of about 13% (US Treasury 2016).4 Many argue that rich people pay more taxes, technically true, but others consider a tax system benefiting the superrich (who are, in fact benefited more than the “merely” wealthy) to be indefensible in a nation that has “equal opportunity” as its credo. Another example, also subject to endless debate, is the US primary and secondary educational system based on “local control” which, when translated into economic terms, means that children in poor school districts often have a comparatively small fraction spent on their public education in relation to students in affluent districts (Hochschild 2003; Saltman 2015). When taken together with affluent students’ easier access to costly private schools and private tutoring and the rise of charter schools that, while diverse in nature, tend to serve more affluent families (Ravitch 2013), a pessimist could argue that the commonly cited public value of equal opportunity is, because of the structure of government and public policy, a cruel illusion. Is this deep corruption? Is it any sort of corruption? At least, we argue, it is a clear-cut public failure; one well reflected in US comparative educational statistics. And, as argued above, public values failures are at least a good point to start when looking for deep corruption. Public Values and Public Failure: A Public Administration Entre into the Study of Deep Corruption In seeking to understand deep corruption, we feel that the tendency to focus on either individual immoral acts or ethical codes (which must, after all, be executed by individuals to have much meaning) provides only modest benefit. For this reason, among others, we advocate public values theory as a lens on deep corruption. Despite the fact that we do not favor conceptualization of deep corruption in terms of individual morality, we do, in a sense, argue that the scholar applying a public values framework will need to be prepared to take positions on value and even morality. If we accept the idea that there is no consensus-based, canonical set of public values, the position argued by Bozeman (2002, 2007) among others, then we are left with this question: “What can public values theory add to the study of deep corruption other than argumentation?” Our response: effective argumentation can be quite valuable, especially when buttressed by clear propositions and available empirical evidence. No consensus is required and, in most cases, no consensus is possible about either particular public values or about public failures reflected in deep corruption. As Bozeman notes: “the search for public values has merit even if that effort fails to identify public values about which there is consensus” (2007: 133). Jorgensen and Bozeman (2007), in their literature review and inventory of public values, review several possible approaches to identifying public values (e.g., historical documents, survey research, cultural analysis) but conclude that the most important point is to be explicit about public values arguments because a discussion or a dialectic about public values may often be more important than a search for a canonical set. In making the case for public values, one provides propositions and, in some cases, causal claims that may be extremely valuable starting points for civic discourse. That does not in any sense imply that chaos ensues but quite the reverse. By carefully articulating one’s value position and the empirical bases of resultant assumptions about consequential outcomes, one brings order to the chaos, even if it is a contestable sort of order. One helpful approach to identifying possible public values breaches associated with (what may be) deep corruption is to specify public values failure criteria, not unlike the way in which specified market failure criteria can edify decisions about resource allocation among sectors and institutional actors. Bozeman (2002) began this process in an early work on public values, identifying public values criteria that, to some extent, resembled market failure criteria (e.g., failures of legitimate monopolies; imperfect public information; benefit hoarding), later adding criteria related to preserving the public sphere and equality of opportunity (Bozeman and Johnson 2015). Moreover, no extant list of public values criteria and no inventory of public values should serve as a barrier to developing and arguing for new public values and public values criteria; the key is to be as explicit as possible about ones values, the assumptions behind them and propositions about their relation to empirical outcomes. Any resolution of public values failures, and particularly deep corruption, requires first a plausible argument and second a dialogue with the public sphere (Jørgensen and Rutgers 2015; Nabatchi 2012; Sandfort and Quick 2015). Another important argument in support of drawing on public values theory in developing a deep corruption research agenda is its agnosticism about sector (Anderson 2012; Moulton and Eckerd 2012). If public values are undermined with resultant great harm to the structure and quality of governance and society writ large, there seems no need to define corruption solely in terms of public officials’ corrupt behaviors. Especially now that public–private partnerships, “hybridization,” and multisector networks are an ever-increasing feature of government and public policy, why should one expect that corruption should be partitioned by sector? One may argue that public officials should be held to a higher standard of comportment (O’Kelly and Dubnick 2006; Van Wart 1996) and, in fact, there are important aspects in the law and in officials’ oaths of office (Rutgers 2010, 2013) that reflect that higher standard. However, that important point does not mitigate the argument. When corrupt actions undermine public values, the parsing of blame according to job title or sector affiliation seems beside the point. While we have no brief for Public Administration examining corruption in business or nonprofit organizations, if the causes of deep corruption can be traced to flawed policies, government institutions or policy networks, or to public–private relationships, then the public values failure that ensues certainly seems fair game. An example of a private sector social problem and public failure that has been investigated in Public Administration (though not from a deep corruption perspective) is the cataclysmic 2010 British Petroleum (BP) Deep Horizon oil spill. Even casual readers of newspaper accounts know this episode was rife with dastardly behavior and gave rise to environmental and personal calamities that are still being felt. However, this disaster cannot be put squarely at the doorstep of government because adequate regulations were in place and these regulations were flouted (Ladd 2012). True, it is possible to quibble about specific elements of regulations, but the bad behavior cannot reasonably be passed off as owing to a fundamental flaw in public policy. A large share of culpability can be traced to BP’s corporate governance (Lin-Hi and Blumberg 2011), a factor not in any significant sense subject to government policy influence. In contrast, in a great many cases of corruption leading to cataclysmic outcomes, the results are best understood not as a business failure or a government failure but a disaster resulting from business and government working together to create, either intentionally or not, a massive public values failure. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to come up with examples of deep corruption partnerships. One especially well-known and damaging example is the US housing policy crisis caused in part by subprime mortgages, some illegal but also some legal and owing to flawed policies in which the federal regulators were seemingly coopted by those whom they were supposed to be regulating (Altman 2009; Jaffee and Quigley 2008). The subprime-mortgage crisis is, in many respects, a paradigmatic case of deep corruption. Serving as yet another example of deep corruption are the recent events involving the Wells Fargo 2016 scandal, a scandal that involved the issuing of credit cards to Wells Fargo costumers without their consent. These activities are thought to be the product of failures in organizational culture and oversight (Woodside and Sharma 2017). Although the 2016 Wells Fargo scandal did not involve the explicit intermingling of private and public firms per se, its seems clear enough that changes to the legal environment of banking in the 1990s through such legislation as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act greatly loosened financial regulations and strongly encouraged innovations in banking, including ones that in hindsight appear to have provided strong benefits to banks while victimizing customers (Mamun, Hassan, and Maroney 2005). While there are demonstrably many instances of illegal behavior on the part of some rogue lenders and employees, the wellspring of corruption is a cozy public–private relationship that conduces relaxed regulations, a tendency to think of the public interest and aggregated private interests as one and the same, and fundamentally flawed policy and institutions. As noted by the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report, the crisis was caused by “Widespread failures in financial regulation, including the Federal Reserve’s failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages; Dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance including too many financial firms acting recklessly and taking on too much risk; An explosive mix of excessive borrowing and risk by households and Wall Street that put the financial system on a collision course with crisis; Key policy makers ill prepared for the crisis, lacking a full understanding of the financial system they oversaw; and systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels” (2011: 70). This is textbook deep corruption and a massive public values failure. It is noteworthy that the fact that scores of individual mortgage officers broke rules and illegally signed up people for mortgages for which they were not eligible under formal rules (Rom 2009), while inexcusable, provides a good contrast between their venal corruption and the deep corruption partnership that gave succor to such behavior. Public values theory focuses on the extent to which public values are achieved or, when they have not been achieved, on the sources of public failure, independent of the culpable sector. In this sense, public values theory is an ideal lens for understanding deep corruption inasmuch as deep corruption sources are so often trans-sector. In addition to the advantage of its “big picture” focus, public values theory includes a set of public failure criteria (Bozeman 2002, 2007), criteria that expand and evolve rather than remaining static (Andersen et al. 2012; Bozeman and Johnson 2015). Perhaps most impressive is the fact that public values theory, especially public values failure criteria, can be used ex ante to investigate possible deep corruption rather than to wait until damages result that are splashed across the headlines and website banners. At the same time, Public Administration scholars may raise concerns about deep corruption research. We address these concerns below. Deep Corruption: Leave it to Others Because… We suggest that there is one major reason and one minor reason for Public Administration to avoid undertaking a research program on deep corruption. The minor reason is that researchers focussing on deep corruption are highly unlikely to obtain research resources, especially grants and contracts, to study deep corruption. This is a minor reason because Public Administration scholars, particularly in the United States, only infrequently obtain funding for research on public administration topics. There is no national public administration foundation, and agency research providers tend to focus on their missions (e.g., energy, transportation, environment) rather than the public administration reasons why their missions so often fail. The best reason to ignore deep corruption, at least as a research topic, is that it is so great a challenge. Most of the topics studied in public administration provide more clues and active trails for researchers. If researchers study red tape, they often know what it is and where to go to study it; if they study performance management, they often have either contracts or, at least, a willing clientele. But the study of deep corruption entails substantial challenges right at the beginning, challenges of boundary setting, multiple causality and, most certainly, unwilling clients. It is not and cannot be “business as usual” for researchers. However, other likely objections are easier to meet. Researchers Study Public Administration, Not Policy, Not Politics At first blush, this seems a formidable objection. Deep corruption rarely originates in public administration, even in those cases where public administrators are complicit. To refer back to the historical examples herein, public administrators did not establish Jim Crow laws nor did they come up with the idea of sending Native Americans along their “trail of tears.” Public administrators were not the culprits in the Watergate scandal, rather it was elected officials and political appointees that hatched the “third rate burglary” and its cover-up. In the case of Watergate, public administrators were, arguably, the heroes, ultimately, along with journalists, shedding light. There are at least as many instances of public administration professionals fighting deep corruption as there are instances of their being the cause or complicit in corruption. That is one reason to explore the role of public administrators in fighting deep corruption as, indeed, some have done (Adams and Balfour 2014; De Graaf 2010; O’Leary 2013). Another reason for a central role for Public Administration scholars in the study of deep corruption is they are likely a good source of “forensic research.” Even when deep corruption does not originate in public agencies and is not executed by public administrators, it is nonetheless the case that public administration often provides an excellent entry point for deep corruption. Public bureaucracies keep records, they communicate massively, and they have multiple lines of accountability. That is to say, public bureaucracy is the forensic ethicist’s best-equipped laboratory; one cannot envision a more ideal entry point for gathering data and ultimately developing explanations for deep corruption. We Are Scholars, Not Investigative Journalists This is precisely why a deep corruption research program is so important. Investigative journalists have training, tools, and methods that are not often found among scholars. That is why they often do such a good job of uncovering scandals and seeing through to the culminations, frequently in criminal convictions or professional disgrace. Often investigative journalists do an excellent job reporting on deep corruption, exploring topics as diverse as why we are fat and getting fatter (Schlosser 2012) to the oppression of the people who serve us our fast food (Ehrenreich 2010). But investigative journalists do not serve as social science theorists and even if there are cases where they shed light on causes and causal explanation, theory is not their mission and few have directly relevant training in developing social science theory. Of course, the knowledge journalists provide about deep corruption is no less valuable than the knowledge that could be provided by social scientists, but we would argue that it is different and has a different value. It is knowledge produced for a different audience and a shorter time-frame and often with less commitment to the long run. Thus, the same author who gave us The Big Short, one of the best journalistic efforts on the housing market meltdown, also gave us Moneyball and Pacific Rift. Public administration theorists may be more plodding but likely more methodical as well. Public Administrators Have Responsibility to Law and Political Superiors, Not to the Aggressive Enactment of Their Own Values Our view is quite straightforward: we feel that public administrators have a responsibility to follow the law, not to bend the law to their values and ideological presumptions. Why? Chiefly because the notion that public managers’ values are more noble than their political superiors or their citizen clientele is, to borrow a phrase, devoid of empirical support (Marini 1971). We can easily debate such important ethical issues as the public administrator’s duties in the face of immoral policies, but in most cases the idea of following the law and one’s sworn duty is a good one. Whether one is prone to the self-actualizing administrator model, where the public administrator is chiefly a change agent rather than a handmaiden to a bureaucratic superior (Marini 1971), or the neutral competence administrator model (Rourke 1992), the legal responsibilities and roles of public administrators are entirely beside the point to a research program on deep corruption. Most Public Administrator scholars work in settings, usually universities, that permit an exceptionally high degree of autonomy with respect to research focus, approach, and political values and views. While it is entirely understandable that Public Administration scholars often identify closely with practitioners, this empathy and mutual respect should not obscure the very different social roles enacted by the respective parties. Public administration scholars, because of their close ties to public administrators, are in many ways ideally positioned to conduct research on deep corruption. We Don’t Even Know Where to Start At last, a compelling argument. Indeed it is difficult to know where to start with a deep corruption research agenda, chiefly because research on deep corruption focuses on a degree of complexity not found in research on venal corruption or, indeed, most of Public Administration. We conclude with a few thoughts about entry points and how to get started. A Brief Sketch for a Deep Corruption Research Agenda Undertaking a deep corruption research agenda presents formidable problems, ones that will be resolved slowly, not ones that will be swept away at the end of a first paper on deep corruption. Thus, our “brief sketch” resembles a statement of research obstacles as much as it does an agenda. One of the major problems in studying deep corruption is that the phenomenon is elusive and often contentious. As noted above, it is relatively easy to study venal corruption, particularly after the fact, by following the pathway of legal transgression. If a city building inspector requires a hefty transfer of money to a personal offshore bank account before issuing a permit, then that is a discrete act and one that is unequivocally corrupt. If the inspector happens to be caught, then the research “subject” could hardly be more obvious and the construct of corruption has unquestionable face validity. In contrast, most of the topics we suggest as possible deep corruption are less clear-cut. Much depends on interpretation and assignment of motives, not the terra firma upon which most scholars wish to stand their empirical research studies. One argument is simply to relax the usual demands for clear-cut phenomena and obvious construct validity because the phenomena are too important to avoid “merely” because one does not have an entirely satisfying construct or an optimal means of measuring it. However, a better approach, we think, is to worry little about motivation and about the massive divide between words and thoughts and, instead, start with outcomes. True, if we ask “what is wrong?” then there are many possibilities and corruption is only one. People suffer not only because of corrupt leaders and officials but also for many reasons, including natural disasters, disease, poverty, and bad fortune. However, even a person who is not by nature pessimistic can often see a role for deep corruption in most any large swath of social wrongs. Hurricanes strike, but corruption means that public relief resources are siphoned off and do not provide the intended succor; diseases occur and spread but public–private engagements may exacerbate bad outcomes by propping up drug and health care costs in ways that are counter to public values; the “poor are always with us” but sending the working poor packing because their undocumented parents came to the United States a week before they were born rather than a week after may contribute to bad outcomes; some individuals have the misfortune to be run over by a truck but if the truck driver is, due to his industry’s lobbying efforts and a lack of limits on campaign contributions, driving for 48 hours without rest, then it is not simply a matter of misfortune. In short, in advancing deep corruption research, a good starting point is this: what is the public values failure? In some cases, there is none. Maybe it is just wrong place-wrong time. But remarkably often there is a pivotal role for deep corruption, as one surely understands simply by reflecting on the case histories of recent, large scale, highly visible disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the sub-prime mortgage housing crisis, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, just to name a few. Granted, starting with “what is wrong?” and proceeding to “what is the public value failure?” does not take one very far. But let us assume that using this approach, one gets to an actual problem, including not ones such as in the example above but also smaller scale ones that nonetheless qualify as major problems even if not cataclysmic ones. What then? If one gets that far in the analysis, identifying events of interest, identifying public values failures, then tasks become more like conventional social science tasks of theory building. One can proceed by developing alternative plausible hypotheses and models that account for the phenomena of interest, but leaving open the possibility that deep corruption is a causal agent and giving thought as to possible causal linkages. What sort of data would one gather as evidence for deep corruption? Not an easy question to answer. However, we suggest that most deep corruption involves strong ties but ones that are not immediately visible, chiefly because those included in deep corruption networks have an interest in ensuring that the networks are as obscure as possible. Thus, an important task for public administration network researchers: identifying the networks of shared and often illicit interests capable in deep corruption. Indeed, public administration researchers already have made some progress in identifying and analyzing “dark networks” (O’Toole and Meier 2004; Raab and Milward 2003). What if one is so lucky as to succeed in grabbing the shark by the tail, what next? Almost certainly the epistemology of deep corruption studies will prove a bit different than for more traditional neo-positivist studies seeking to separate facts and values. Even with first-rate evidence, findings from deep corruption studies will face argument, so why not embrace argument? Toulmin (1958), among others, has suggested that a dialectical approach to exposition to research findings can have great value and some Public Administration scholars agree (Dunn 1982; Fischer and Forester 1993). 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