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Electoral Donations as Legal Bribes: Evidence from a Survey of Private Corporations in Colombia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3400-9313
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, ISSN 1929-4409, Vol. 1, 162-175 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article I study why companies give electoral donations to support political leaders. I collected and used a unique data set on electoral financing at the corporate level in Colombia. The data show that firms consider electoral contributions to be "legal bribes". Consistent with the theory of bribery, these donations are made because of the low quality of election regulation, the high expectation of reciprocity, and the pre-existing relationships with incumbents. These features suggest "legal neutralization": donors can break the law without committing crime.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 1, 162-175 p.
Keyword [en]
Electoral financing, legal bribes, law neutralization
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-84925DOI: 10.6000/1929-4409.2012.01.16OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-84925DiVA: diva2:581948
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SWE 2007-209
Available from: 2013-04-09 Created: 2013-01-03 Last updated: 2015-03-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Legal bribes?: An analysis of corporate donations to electoral campaigns
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Legal bribes?: An analysis of corporate donations to electoral campaigns
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this research I analyse how the existence of regulations that allow private funding of election campaigns have created opportunities for crime. Three specific questions are addressed here: 1. Do electoral donations increase political corruption? 2. Why do companies give electoral donations? 3. How are electoral donors compensated? To address these questions, I adopted a nested analysis. This sequential, mixed method brings together the strengths of both regression analysis and case study research, while conducting a validity check—triangulation—by convergence of results via different methods and theoretical approaches. I first conducted a cross-national comparison of 78 countries; then, I conducted a survey of 302 private companies in Colombia; and finally, I documented one case that described how campaign contributions affect the political decision-making process.

The main conclusion of this research is that electoral law creates opportunities for crime, because it legalizes the entrance of interested money into politics, disqualifies donors as perpetrators, and introduces regulations with null or limited deterrent effect on the delivery of undue reciprocities. Indeed, I demonstrated that electoral financing is used as a legal bribery by private corporations. The legal character of this political instrument is perverted when undue compensation is delivered to donors. This is not a crime with a single perpetrator; rather, donors and incumbents are equally involved. However, donors are protected by electoral law, because the money delivered as corrupt incentive is classified as legal. This suggests that the law is being used as a mechanism that neutralizes donors as perpetrators. This perspective points to the manipulative use of electoral law, or creative compliance, as the term is used by McBarnet (2006).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, 2013. 63 p.
Series
Avhandlingsserie / Kriminologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1404-1820 ; 32
Keyword
legal bribes, electoral donations, electoral financing, corruption, political white-collar crime, creative compliance
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89005 (URN)978-91-7447-652-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-29, hörsal 5, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SWE 2007-209
Available from: 2013-05-07 Created: 2013-04-08 Last updated: 2017-10-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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