Economic Inequality and the Quality of Government

Eric Uslaner , University of Maryland
Publication Date:
Jan 2005
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

Why is corruption pervasive in some societies and not in others? Can we reform our political systems to reduce corruption? My focus in this research is what the roots of corruption are. Does corruption, like a rotting fish, start at the head and spread downward? Are bad leaders and weak institutions the cause of corruption? Or does corruption stem from a society’s culture and the distribution of resources? I argue for the latter: The roots of corruption lie in the unequal distribution of resources in a society.


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