Corruption soars when politicians are placed above the law, study finds

Apr 12, 2013

In a new study, Stern School of Business assistant professor of economics Vasiliki Skreta and co-authors, Karthik Reddy of Harvard Law School and Moritz Schularick of the University of Bonn, examine statutory immunity provisions that obstruct or limit the criminal liability of politicians, and which exist throughout much of the modern democratic world.

Though anecdotal evidence suggests that immunity promotes corruption, neither the literature on accountability nor the empirical literature on the determinants of corruption has devoted attention to the immunity of politicians. A likely reason for this omission is the dearth of available data. This paper represents the first systematic attempt to quantify the strength of immunity protection for politicians and to test its impact on corruption. In the study, posted on the Network, researchers showed both theoretically and empirically that immunity provisions add an important new dimension to the study of accountability and corruption, and that the incidence of corruption soars when politicians are placed above the law.

The researchers quantified the strength of immunity protection in 74 democracies and verified that immunity is strongly associated with corruption on an aggregate level. They also developed a theoretical model that demonstrated how stronger immunity protection can lead to higher corruption. The model suggested that unaccountable politicians under immunity protection can enhance their chance of re-election by using illegal means, namely supporting interest groups through lax law enforcement, non-collection of taxes, and other forms of that will go unpunished. Interest groups can then, in turn, provide favorable propaganda, campaign financing, and even vote-buying. Furthermore, the researchers' theoretical model suggested that higher levels of immunity protection also contribute to poor governance because stronger immunity attracts dishonest people to public office.

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Ophelia
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2013
Immunity from what? All crimes including murder, bribery, kidnapping, extortion, money-laundering? is this about parking tickets or what? Immunity while engaged in performing official acts or "off-the-job" stuff? Is the politician immune from prosecution if he runs over someone on his way to a legislative session and/or going to the store for milk for his kids?

What a waste of space.
Peteri
5 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2013
You obviously didn't read the article properly before making that comment. The relevant section is:
"politicians under immunity protection can enhance their chance of re-election by using illegal means, namely supporting interest groups through lax law enforcement, non-collection of taxes, and other forms of favoritism that will go unpunished."
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2013
Of course the other issue is the criminalization of politics.
A recent case in point. The Senate majority leader's office was bugged and the illegal recordings were made public. The opposition party and their propagandists assert they were justified in spite of laws broken.
The current regime refused to prosecute voter intimidation in Philadelphia in 2008 by a Black Panther organization.
Corruption requires a conspiracy of of those in power and those who are supposed to uncover corruption, the 'free' press.
CNN conspired with Iraq to cover up torture to keep access to Baghdad.
NYT conspired to cover up Stalin's starvation campaign in Ukraine.
The rule of law is much more corrupt than the rule of kings when the laws are selectively enforced and ignored.
geokstr
2.1 / 5 (11) Apr 12, 2013
And Obama declared his intentions to bypass Congress long ago, and has repeatedly done so, enacting major legislation through Executive Orders, regulations, and re-interpretation of existing law. He has even chosen to make recess appointments by substituting his opinion that the Senate was in recess when it specifically said it was not.

His Justice Department violates all hiring and discrimination laws when every one of its new hires is a raging leftist:
http://pjmedia.co...actices/

He's made his disdain for the constitution and the separation of powers known openly and often.
ForFreeMinds
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2013
In the USA, politicians make big bets in the stock market, based on their inside knowledge of legislation they slip into unrelated bills, and the effects of that legislation on the profits of specific companies or industries.

This leads them to craft legislation that meddles in commerce. Not only do they profit from their trades, but they generate campaign cash from companies/industries look for government favors, and cash from companies that want politicians to leave them alone.

It's no wonder our Congress is so corrupt. They've too much power.

PeterParker
2 / 5 (5) Apr 12, 2013
If so then those U.S. politicians are open to prosecution by the SEC.

Such prosecutions do not occur, largely because FreeTard is blowing smoke out of his backside, as FreeTards always do.

"In the USA, politicians make big bets in the stock market, based on their inside knowledge of legislation they slip into unrelated bills" - FreeTard
ryggesogn2
3.4 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2013
If so then those U.S. politicians are open to prosecution by the SEC.

The same SEC that ignored Madoff for years?
kochevnik
4.1 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2013
Very strange day when almost all posters bleat like sheeple and Ryggie makes the most sense of anyone!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2013
Politics inevitably selects for people like this:
http://en.wikiped...lpatrick

-Who will promise the people absolutely anything in return for their votes. This is why aristotle could conclude that democracy, if left to operate by itself, inevitably leads to despotism, as the gangsta kilpatrick would admit to you with a nudge and a snicker. Which is why countries like greece have spent themselves into a state of collapse.

Luckily the world has in reality been Run for centuries by Leaders who Operate safely above the realm of public scrutiny, and who have dedicated their lives to the preservation At All Costs of the very best that humanity has produced.

They Engineer and Manage the economies, the political systems, the religions, and the technologies, to create rather than to destroy. They Plan and Orchestrate all wars.

They are the sole Reason why civilization thrives and prospers on this planet. They are the sole Reason why this planet is still habitable.
Feldagast
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2013
Congress used to be immune, not anymore.
http://www.nysscp...loophole
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 14, 2013
Congress used to be immune, not anymore.
http://www.nysscp...loophole

Think again:

"The US House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill [S 716, material] on Friday that exempts senior government officials from having to report their financial information online."
http://jurist.org...-law.php
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 14, 2013
Of course the only way to resolve the corruption is to limit the power of the politicians and the govt to control the economy.
Limiting the power of the Regulatory State limits the need for those affected by the R.S. to lobby and bribe to influence regulations.
Instead of creating thousands of new regulations, the function of a legitimate, limited state would protect private property rights of all against theft and fraud. Diverting resources from the bureaucratic R.S. to enforcing limited set of laws, like "don't steal", "don't murder", etc. would limit corruption.
Organized crime, like Capone, thrived on the regulatory ban on alcohol. Same today for bans on marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc.
Sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco also lead to corruption. End those taxes and decriminalize illegal drugs, but hold people accountable to their actions under the influence.
Sure it will be messy, but a limited state will empower society, the opposite of the 'progressive' socialist state.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2013
Organized crime
The mob is an Agency created for the Purpose of operating above (or below) the law. Prohibition was the Mechanism to establish it.

As crime is Inevitable, it behooves Those in Charge to gain control of it and use it for constructive Purposes.

One function of organized crime is to control the flow of drugs around the world. The $billions generated represent a real threat to Stability, and absolutely could not be allowed to flow as it would.

Organized crime was used to weaken communist influence in labor unions. Drug money has both created and destroyed the govts of many small countries.

Drug cartels act as an effective filter along our southern border, ensuring that only the cleverest and most resourceful can make it here.

Leaders who want to reliably determine the outcome of any conflict, must control both sides of the struggle. The most useful enemies are the ones you create. This is easy to see with bin laden, a little harder with capone. But not much.
ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (8) Apr 14, 2013
Drug cartels act as an effective filter along our southern border, ensuring that only the cleverest and most resourceful can make it here.


If you can pay, you may get smuggled across. No guarantee.
pat_hamer
not rated yet Apr 14, 2013
OMG!!!! Its about time! I make the premise that the next significant paradigm shift will actually be the fulfillment of the Copernicus revolution, that Galileo actually proved to be the first significant exposure of dogma in the theocracy of "sovereigns." The untrained observer at their first attempt to rationalize the significance of immunity, must start with the definition of what a "sovereign" is.. That is in relation to Alden v. Maine 1999 US, as it relates to Sir William Blackstone who admits the dogmatic fallacy that should exclude the use of sovereignty from democracies world wide.
pat_hamer
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2013
Amazingly, our 11th amendment, according to Bogan v. Scott-Harris 1998 over-turned the 1st amendment right to redress a grievance, "even if corrupt." About time a scientific research blog has looked at this.. a day late and a dollar short I might add
ODesign
2 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2013
I'm pretty sure politicians take an oath to serve the "people" so most everything they do that serves a corporation or special interest or even getting re-elected is borderline illegal. When I work at my job is it serving the company for me to update my resume and interview for other jobs on company time or even stop my assigned work and prepare for interviewing for a new job inside the company? no, I have an assigned job my boss says I need to get done and the company is responsible for deciding if I get promoted or retained (re-elected.). My boss says we should read the tips for writing our performance appraisal questioner at home on our own time. We get half an hour company paid time for the performance appraisal and no more. Politicians should use the same definition of work related and job duties as their constituents.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Apr 15, 2013
I'm pretty sure politicians take an oath to serve the "people" so most everything they do that serves a corporation or special interest or even getting re-elected is borderline illegal.

Haven't you heard? Corporations are people.
(And I'll believe that when Texas executes the first one)

Other theories that say that serving coprorations is good for the people are those of the 'trickle down'-type (which is a VERY thinly veiled euphemism for 'to piss on').
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 15, 2013
I'm pretty sure politicians take an oath to serve the "people"

In the US, elected, appointed and US military swear and oath to support and defend the Constitution.
Most, except in the military, ignore that oath everyday.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 15, 2013
Drug cartels act as an effective filter along our southern border, ensuring that only the cleverest and most resourceful can make it here.


If you can pay, you may get smuggled across. No guarantee.
Correct. You have to know where to go, who to talk to, and what to say. You have to want to get here bad enough to make the effort to earn the money and learn these things.

These are the kinds of immigrants which have made this country strong. And the cartels provide the exact mechanism for selecting them out and allowing them through. No accident.
In the US, elected, appointed and US military swear and oath to support and defend the Constitution.
Most, except in the military, ignore that oath everyday
There are different ways of serving. Within an obviously rigged system, both sides are most concerned with maintaining the impression that it is not.

And ryggy still hasn't learned to appreciate the dynamics of economic cycles. Everything beautiful in it's own Time.
pat_hamer
not rated yet Apr 15, 2013
I'm pretty sure politicians take an oath to serve the "people"

So if the 11th amendment allows corruption by removing deterrence and liability, see Bogan v. Scott-Harris, then upholding the Constitution allows corruption to exist. It sounds absurd. But Alden v Maine 1998 US S Ct.stated officials are not bound by law, but only "faith" to obedience to the Constituion...

any personal opinion witout backing up to what SCOTUS has decreed is our problem! Nobody knows that the 11th amendment exists to cover up human and civil right abusers in government! , more info at the11thamendment dot com
pat_hamer
not rated yet Apr 15, 2013
Immunity is the least debated and but it is the most desctructive corrupt right. A new article bolsters what mhy reasearch has pointed to... phys dot org/news/2013-04-corruption-soars-politicians-law.html
This page is barring URL's typical of sensorship but try to study immunity and especially google immunity and the 11th amendment...you will be shocked!
pat_hamer
not rated yet Apr 17, 2013
I appologise for not using a spell checker and editing! Shame on me!!!!