Corruption flouts rules of fairness and gives some people advantages that others don't have. Corruption is persistent; there is little evidence that countries can escape the curse of corruption easily - or at all. Instead of focusing on institutional reform, in this book Eric M. Uslaner suggests that the roots of corruption lie in ecomic and legal inequality, low levels of generalized trust (which are t readily changed), and poor policy choices (which may be more likely to change). Ecomic inequality provides a fertile breeding ground for corruption, which, in turn, leads to further inequalities. Just as corruption is persistent, inequality and trust do t change much over time, according to Uslaner's cross-national aggregate analyses. He argues that high inequality leads to low trust and high corruption, and then to more inequality - an inequality trap - and identifies direct linkages between inequality and trust in surveys of the mass public and elites in transition countries.
Eric M. Uslaner is Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he has taught since 1975. He has written seven books including The Moral Foundations of Trust (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and The Decline of Comity in Congress (1993). In 1981-2 he was Fulbright Professor of American Studies and Political Science at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, and in 2005 he was a Fulbright Senior Specialist Lecturer at Novosibirsk State Technical University, Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. In 2006 he was appointed the first Senior Research Fellow at the Center for American Law and Political Science at the Southwestern University of Political Science and Law, Chongqing, China.