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Corruption as a Last ResortAdapting to the Market in Central Asia$
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Kelly M. McMann

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453274

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453274.001.0001

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An Absence of Alternatives

An Absence of Alternatives

A New Framework for Understanding Corruption

(p.1) 1 An Absence of Alternatives
Corruption as a Last Resort

Kelly M. McMann

Cornell University Press

This chapter sets out the book's two main arguments about the causes of corruption. First, when essential goods and services are not available from alternative sources, individuals engage in corrupt behaviors to try to acquire what they need from government officials. Second, market reform—policies to decrease state economic intervention—can limit these alternatives and thus encourage corruption. The first argument reveals the absence of alternative goods and services as a cause of corruption, and the second argument offers an explanation for why the absence exists. Together, the arguments constitute an “absence-of-alternatives framework” for studying corruption. This book focuses on petty corruption—ordinary citizens' use of bribes, personal connections, and promises of political support to try to secure small quantities of goods or services from low-level government officials.

Keywords:   corruption, market reform, corrupt practices, absence of alternatives, ordinary citizens, bribes

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