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The Corruption Debates: Left vs. Right—and Does It Matter—in the Americas

Stephen D. Morris
The Corruption Debates: Left vs. Right—and Does It Matter—in the Americas
ISBN: 978-1-62637-956-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-960-2
2021/251 pages/LC: 2021015781
"A provocative analysis of the contentious politics of corruption and reform, raising fundamental questions of power and justice…. The contemporary anticorruption industry would benefit from rethinking the theoretical and political challenges raised in this book." —Michael Johnston, Colgate University

"Offers a breath of fresh air for the study of a critical issue." —David Arellano-Gault, CIDE


While there is arguably universal agreement that corruption plagues countries worldwide, do we agree as well on what corruption is and how to fight it? Do the left and right on the political spectrum hold conflicting views on the issue? Is there a difference in how successful left vs. right governments are in curbing corruption? These are the questions that inspired The Corruption Debates.

Stephen Morris explores left and right anticorruption ideologies broadly, then turns to promises, policies, and outcomes in the Americas. He also reaches beyond differences rooted in left/right dichotomies to develop an alternative hypothesis, one reflecting an in-power vs. out-of-power dynamic. His book captures the inherently political nature of not only corruption, but, equally, our understanding of it.


Stephen D. Morris is professor of political science and international relations at Middle Tennessee State University. He is also adjoint professor in the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.


  • Ideology and the Corruption Debates.
  • Parsing the Literature.
  • Political Rhetoric in the Americas.
  • Anticorruption Policies Left and Right.
  • Assessing Policy Outcomes.
  • The Power Factor: An Alternative Hypothesis.
  • The Corruption Dilemmas.