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Public interest approach: Gronbeck (1978). Market-based model: Banfield (1975), Rose-Ackerman (1978, 1999), Klitgaard (1988), Goudie and Stasavage (1998), della Porta and Vannuci (1999), Lambsdorff (2002). 27 Conover Bribery in Classical Athens Chapter One considered bribery if officials follow public opinion and the public interest by regularly accepting bribes not to heed the law; or, conversely, whether perfectly legal lobbying efforts or campaign contributions should not, in fact, be considered legalized bribery.

26 Conover Bribery in Classical Athens Chapter One for example, by obtaining even just a rough approximation of what the Athenians considered an ‘abuse’, ‘public’, ‘power’, ‘private’ and ‘gain’, we might begin to understand which actions did and did not constitute bribery at Athens. From there we could more accurately differentiate between those actions that were really bribery at Athens and those that only seem (to us) like bribery but were perfectly licit for the Athenians, and so forth. Or so the theory goes.

27 Conover Bribery in Classical Athens Chapter One considered bribery if officials follow public opinion and the public interest by regularly accepting bribes not to heed the law; or, conversely, whether perfectly legal lobbying efforts or campaign contributions should not, in fact, be considered legalized bribery. Rather, I am calling into question what is at stake—what is actually being measured—by terming such instances ‘bribery’. Certainly it is valuable to try to reduce bribery to an essential core which can then be compared across normative contexts, but the standard definition seems to misunderstand the nature of that core.

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Bribery in Classical Athens (PhD diss. Princeton) by Kellam Conover


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