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Political Institutions and Party-Directed Corruption in South America
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Book description

An important question for the health and longevity of democratic governance is how institutions may be fashioned to prevent electoral victors from drawing on the resources of the state to perpetuate themselves in power. This book addresses the issue by examining how the structure of electoral institutions - the rules of democratic contestation that determine the manner in which citizens choose their representatives - affects political corruption, defined as the abuse of state power or resources for campaign finance or party-building purposes. To this end, the book develops a novel theoretical framework that examines electoral institutions as a potential vehicle for political parties to exploit the state as a source of political finance. Hypotheses derived from this framework are assessed using an unprecedented public employees' survey conducted by the author in Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.


'Gingerich’s book is a valuable addition to studies on corruption and serves as an excellent example of high-quality institutional analysis. By showing that ballot structure affects corruption, he demonstrates that institutions affect the outcome of interest through different mechanisms. Assessing their overall impact, therefore, requires taking all of them into consideration. Gingerich collected new data for the book and offers what is probably the most sophisticated treatment of corruption I have seen in the comparative literature. The chapter ‘Institutional Design and the Case for Mechanism-Based Analysis’ is the best exposition I have ever seen of what comparative institutional analysis should be. This is a great book!'

José Cheibub - Boeschenstein Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

'Political corruption is the art of stealing the money of citizens to win their vote. Daniel W. Gingerich provides brilliant portraits of how these two activities are connected, writing with both great precision and flair about how bureaucratic recruitment and ballot designs shape the fate of political incumbents. With an impressive design that combines case studies, formal models, and survey data, Gingerich’s book is both substantively important and a blueprint of how to conduct research in political science today.'

Ernesto Calvo - University of Maryland

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