Mark Granovetter

La costruzione sociale della corruzione

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In this paper, I sketch some sociological arguments about corruption. Recent literatures is dominated by economic treatments that focus on identifying structres of incentives that make corruption more likely, and on assessing the impact of corruption on economic efficiency. I argue here that while such models may be reasonable other things equal, in practice they underdetermine outcomes because they abstract away from the social aspects of how incentives come to be arranged as they are, and how they come to be endowed with the value and the meaning that they ultimately have for actors. I investigate corruption within dyads and organizations (section 2), the role of relative social status of the parties to the corrupt social exchange (section 3), patron-client relationships (section 4) and the role of ideology in particularistic corruption, as well as the impact of conflict of interest between social groups (section 5). These important questions lie largely outside an economic frame of reference, and require analysis of social, cultural and historical elements.

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