Dr. Ray Scheele, Dr. Joseph Losco, and Dr. Steven Hall presented this paper at the "Ethics and Reform Symposium on Illinois Government," sponsored by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute of Southern Illinois University.
The recent indictment and conviction of the sitting Illinois governor has renewed academic interest in political corruption in the states. Research has focused on the extent of corruption as well as the causes and consequences of such wrongdoing. This paper reviews the state of academic research into corruption in the states and examines attempts to measure its relative strength in the neighboring states of Illinois and Indiana. Indiana shares many cultural characteristics with Illinois, including strong political parties and governmental practices that have been viewed by many as visibly troubling. We discuss the various problems associated with measuring public corruption and we also attempt to identify the factors that contribute to differential levels of corruption in these states. Finally, we propose a structural equation model (SEM) that that may prove applicable more widely.
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