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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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Alternatives to Corruption and the Effect of Market Reform

Alternatives to Corruption and the Effect of Market Reform

The Arguments and Their Theoretical Implications

(p.20) 2 Alternatives to Corruption and the Effect of Market Reform
Corruption as a Last Resort

Kelly M. McMann

Cornell University Press

This chapter demonstrates the advantages of the absence-of-alternatives approach presented in this book over other corruption explanations. It also presents definitions of the arguments' core concepts—basic needs, market reform, legacy of significant state economic intervention, and market-enhancing institutions. The absence-of-alternatives approach accounts for differences in corruption among countries and among individuals, and offers a parsimonious, generalizable, causal explanation for why people engage in corruption. It shows that corruption is more common in countries where alternative sources of essential goods and services are more limited. Even within a single country some individuals have greater access to alternative resources than others, and this enables them to avoid corruption. Market reform can account for individuals' differing access to resources as well as the paucity of resources in a country. By enriching some families and impoverishing others, market reform leads individuals whose relatives have not prospered to engage in corruption to meet their everyday needs.

Keywords:   corruption, absence of alternatives, market reform, basic needs, state economic intervention

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