Social Mechanisms of Corruption: Analytical Sociology and Its Applicability to Corruption Research

Peter Graeff

Abstract

By applying a bribery model, this paper will deal with those constellations of conditions and activities by actors that are capable of explaining corrupt behavior in economic and sociological theory. Some of these explanations reveal the properties of ‘social mechanisms’ in the sense of analytical sociology (AS). Both disciplines suggest and test the mechanisms of corruption. By taking into consideration the link between monitoring and the frequency of corruption, for example, this paper shows that the proposed way of explaining corrupt behavior using AS offers the opportunity to test counteracting mechanisms. A monitoring mechanism which refers to deterrence may lead to less corruption but may also strengthen an already existing bond of trust between corruption partners. Thus, the trust mechanism may counteract the impact of deterrence and pave the way for new corrupt activities.

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The Journal is devoted to the fundamental issues of empirical and normative social theory, and is directed at social scientists and social philosophers who combine commitment to political and moral enlightenment with argumentative rigour and conceptual clarity. Published articles develop social theorizing in connection with analytical philosophy and philosophy of science.

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