Corruption. A Study in Political Economy by Susan Rose-Ackerman

By Susan Rose-Ackerman

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In contrast to an "idealized'' political system with issueoriented voters, legislators in the present model will never support an interest group's position on an issue for free. Instead, the group will always have to purchase at least a majority of the representatives. If only one side of the issue is organized, however, the per capita bribes can be very small since, without party organization, no one in the legislature has the power to extort high payments. The bribe-minimizing strategy can be specified further if the interest group has a long-run perspective and there are certain fixed costs of establishing corrupt relationships with politicians.

12 Of course, large contributors will often have other motives besides neutralizing the electoral impact of legislative decisions favoring special interests. See Alexander (1972:141) and Adamany (1969:203-229, 1972:126-178). 13 Page (1976). In fact, the decision to present blurred, ambiguous positions may have nothing to do with the attempt to raise campaign funds. Downs (1957), Page (1976) and Shepsle (1972) all argue that ambiguity may be a way to attract votes. Therefore, if incumbents are willing and able to present ambiguous faces to the voters, special interest money may have little cost for candidates in terms of electoral support.

In short, these results permit a reassessment of conventional demo25 Wealthy groups may sometimes be able to pay challengers as well as purchase incumbents. With both sides in the pay of the interest group, the incumbent's support of a group's positions cannot be used to defeat him. Crain (1977) discusses the possibility that incumbents will try to structure the electoral system to make it difficult for challengers to defeat those already in office. According to him, incumbents have incentives for restricting electoral competition similar to those implied by my model.

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