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The Psychic Costs of Violating Corruption Laws

PDF · Philip M. Nichols · Jun-8-2012 · 45 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 145 (2012)

Understanding corruption is imperative for legal scholarship, both as an intellectual subject and because corruption impedes the operation of law in much of the world and inflicts damage on well-being, governance, and quality of life. Legal scholars have contributed substantial quantitative research on corruption; this paper adopts a qualitative methodology. The similarities and differences between Singapore and Malaysia present opportunities for research. Interviews with discussants in those two countries indicate a real difference in the degree to which corruption laws have been internalized. Differences in the degree of internalization suggest differences in the psychic costs imposed by violation of corruption laws. Discussions also reveal other costs considered by actors contemplating violation of the laws. Discussions also indicate that corruption manifests itself differently in each country, which does not comport with quantitative analyses that treat corruption as a unified, linear phenomenon. Finally, discussions suggest that corruption can be controlled.

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