Elites, Institutions, and the Quality of Government

Elite politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen hold the fortunes of societies in their hands not only because of their direct influence on politics, administration and economy but also since their behavior indirectly signals how things are done. How are elites persuaded not to use their privileged position to enrich themselves at the expense of the society at large? The answer from research, so far, is through formal and informal institutional constraints, which in different ways alter incentives at the top.
This edited volume contributes to the knowledge of the interaction between elites, institutions and other constraints and how this affects corruption and other forms of bad government. It problematizes the incentives for elites and masses to fight grand and petty corruption, respectively, and demonstrates the importance of elite constraints for good societies, where infant mortality is low and life expectancy and satisfaction are high. It also explores the behavior of a largely unconstrained elite group, namely the diplomatic corps, and shows how corruption not only takes the form of money transfers but also of sexual exploitation.

It reveals how even rather distant historical experiences incite elites to behave either in line with their immediate self-interests or with the interest of the society at large. Taking a step further, it considers different ways in which elites’ preferences are more closely aligned with the general interest when, for example, monitoring mechanisms are introduced through interactions between recruitment regimes to the bureaucracy, or economic motivations and democratic accountability. Finally, it explores how political parties can be a positive force in the fight against corruption and bad government.

The book was published in August 2015 as a hardcover and an Ebook. Please find more information, as well as order the book on the website of Palgrave Macmillan.

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