Political Corruption in a World in Transition

Jonathan Mendilow, Éric Phélippeau (Eds.)

by Stanislav Balik (Masaryk University, Czech Republich), Jonathan Mendilow (Rider University), Ezequiel Martins Paz (Curitiba University, Brazil), Fernando Jiménez Sánchez (University of Murcia, Spain), Paulina Alvarado-Goldman (Rider University), Maria D. Bermudez (University of California, Irvine), Mónica García Quesada (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; London School of Economics), Olivia Newman (Rider University), Alix Meyer (University of Burgundy, France), Molly Brigid McGrath (Assumption College), Roman Chytlek (Masaryk University, Czech Republic), Petra Svacinova (Masaryk University, Czech University), Frank Rusciano (Rider University), Michael Shafir (Babes Bolyai University, Romania), Robert Boatright (Clark University), Sofia Wickberg (Sciences Po, Paris, France), Éric Phélippeau (Université Paris Nanterre, France)

Purchase this book

$ 57
Availability: In stock
currency displayed based on your location
(click here to change currency)

This timely and provocative book will disrupt current debates on corruption and reform in useful ways. It takes up new and important issues such as populism and “legal corruption” in the context of cases that have long deserved more scholarly attention, yet likens them effectively to longer-standing theories and concepts. Populists and international aid programs are shown to require fresh and careful thought. The language and appearances associated with corruption issues are considered in innovative ways. Corruption scholarship and reform thinking, seemingly frozen in time for a generation, are beginning to move in new directions, and this book will give those trends added impetus.

Michael Johnston
Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science, Emeritus
Colgate University

This book argues that the mainstream definitions of corruption, and the key expectations they embed concerning the relationship between corruption, democracy, and the process of democratization, require reexamination. Even critics who did not consider stable institutions and legal clarity of veteran democracies as a cure-all, assumed that the process of widening the influence on government decision making and implementation allows non-elites to defend their interests, define the acceptable sources and uses of wealth, and demand government accountability. This had proved correct, especially insofar as ‘petty corruption’ is involved. But the assumption that corruption necessarily involves the evasion of democratic principles and a ‘market approach’ in which the corrupt seek to maximize profit does not exhaust the possible incentives for corruption, the types of behaviors involved (for obvious reasons, the tendency in the literature is to focus on bribery), or the range of situations that ‘permit’ corruption in democracies. In the effort to identify some of the problems that require recognition, and to offer a more exhaustive alternative, the chapters in this book focus on corruption in democratic settings (including NGOs and the United Nations which were largely so far ignored), while focusing mainly on behaviors other than bribery.

Chapter 1 Introduction: Political Corruption in a World in Transition
Jonathan Mendilow, Eric Phélippeau

Part I. Transitions

Chapter 2 Fixed Legalistic Definitions of Corruption in Shifting Realities: Some Implications from Brazil
Ezequiel Martins Paz

Chapter 3 Corruption Perceptions and Transitions: Balancing the Needs of NGO Clients and Organizational Sustainability
Paulina Alvarado-Goldman

Chapter 4 Fetishizing Altruism: Corruption in the International Aid Context and the presumption of doing no wrong
Maria D. Bermudez

Part II. The setting of corruption

Chapter 5 Persuasive Corrupters: Arguments Made to Corrupt Public Officials
Mónica García Quesada,
Fernando Jiménez Sánchez

Chapter 6 Local corruption in the Czech Republic: Does size matter?
Stanislav Balík

Chapter 7 Political Corruption in a World in Transition: The Fluctuating Boundaries of Corruption
Sofia Wickberg

Part III. “Legal Corruption”

Chapter 8 Civilizing French politics: Illegality, Playing with the Rules, Offenses and Public Probity
Alix Meyer, Eric Phélippeau

Chapter 9 The untimely disappearance of the “appearance of influence” in American politics
Olivia Newman

Chapter 10 Parties of political entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia: Unfolding tale of multifaceted actors
Roman Chytilek, Petra Svačinová

Part VI. Populism: A ‘Special Case’ of Legal corruption?

Chapter 11 Machiavelli, Elite Theory, and the State of Exception: The Corruptions of Populism
Frank Rusciano

Chapter 12 Light onto Europe or Darkness at Noon? Corruption, Civil Society, Populism and Manipulation in Romania
Michael Shafir

Chapter 13 What we Talk About When we Talk About Corruption
Robert G. Boatright, Molly Brigid McGrath

List of contributors


Jonathan Mendilow is professor of political science and global studies at Rider University in Laurenceville, New Jersey. He serves as the current chair of the IPSA Research Committee on ‘Political Finance and Political Corruption’. He has published extensively on political finance, party competition, Middle Eastern politics and modern political theory.

Eric Phélippeau is professor of political science at Paris Nanterre University, member of the Institute for Political Social Sciences (ISP, UMR 7220 CNRS) and the IPSA Research Committee on ‘Political Finance and Political Corruption’. His research focuses on political finance and political corruption, ethics regulations in politics, and political professionalization.

Corruption, legal corruption, perceptions of corruption, abuse of power, patrimonialism, favouritism, patronage, access to power, bribery, state capture, lobbying, conflict of interest, clientelism, policies of influence, symbolic crusades, anticorruption policies, democracy, governance, state capacity, quality of government, legal code, social trust

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Political Corruption in a World in Transition





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

October 2020