Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. Fellow Daniel Newman is co-founder and executive director of MapLight, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization revealing money's influence on politics. MapLight serves journalists, issue-oriented nonprofit groups, and interested citizens, providing in-depth information about lawmakers, votes, and special-interest influence.... Read more about Maplight.Org
Creativity is the introduction of a novel and appropriate idea or product into a community that transforms the community in some way. Corruption is the decay or redirection of community resources away from a community's purpose toward a self-interested end. Both creativity and corruption alter the possibilities available to later community contributors. In an empirical study of seven contentious Wikipedia pages, Fellow Seana Moran explores: How does the editing community decide, at the time a novel contribution is made, whether it is creative and should be kept, or corrupt and should be removed or blocked? How long does this evaluation take? What evaluative criteria are used?... Read more about Creative or Corrupt? How Wikipedians Decide If a New Contribution Is "good" or "bad"
Corruption poses two distinct dangers. First, it may prevent institutions from serving their proper ends, as happens when a bribe leads an inspector to overlook a dangerous violation. Second, perceptions of corruption can lead to a lack of trust in institutions themselves, further undermining their public value. Combating corruption, however, is easier said than done. Corruption can take many different forms, depending on the industry or context, and strategies of oversight can sometime be more costly than corruption itself.... Read more about Varieties of Corruption and the Architecture of Public Trust
The principal investigator of this project is Sheila Kaplan. The EPA has a vast mandate - protecting air, water, land and people from pollutants. But year after year, through both Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses, strong economies and weak ones, the institution fails the American public in many ways. The evidence abounds. Reports by the Government Accountability Office (formerly the General Accounting Office), EPA's own Inspectors General and the media have long documented EPA's inability to guard Americans from toxic chemicals, mining waste, leaking Superfund sites, greenhouse gas emissions, contaminated water, air pollution and other hazards.... Read more about The Economy of Influence Shaping American Public Health and the Environment
Residential lab fellow Celia Moore's research focuses on the unexpected causes and consequences of corruption. In the two projects she is undertaking at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, she will be asking questions that target one potential cause (local leadership) and one potential consequence (legitimacy loss) of institutional corruption.... Read more about Unexpected Causes and Consequences of Corruption
In this project, Daniel Effron and his colleagues examine a psychological process that allows people to act unethically without feeling unethical. When people reflect on the unethical road not taken - that is, the misdeeds that they refrained from committing in the past - they feel more justified in acting unethically in the future. Thus, situations that draw people's attention to these unethical roads not taken can inadvertently increase the incidence of unethical behavior.... Read more about The Perils of Imagining the Unethical Road Not Taken
The principal investigator of this project is Sreedhari D. Desai. In this project, Sreedhari and her colleagues use laboratory and field experiments to investigate the role of ethical nudges, or non-coercive ways of leading people down moral pathways. In one segment of this project, they investigated how displaying cues such as moral quotations at the bottom of emails and pictures of moral leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi can trigger implicit psychological processes such that people feel discouraged from behaving unethically.... Read more about Ethical Nudges
The principal investigator of this project is Yuval Feldman. The focus of this research is to understand the psychological processes that mediate and moderate the effect of ambiguity in law on rule-following behaviors of individuals in organizations. Although recent research suggests that when people face ambiguity, they may be more likely to rely on their own self-interest to guide their behavior, either deliberately or unknowingly, this project will demonstrate that in an organizational context, the picture is more complex.... Read more about Legal Ambiguity and Organizational Noncompliance
In this project, Paul Jorgensen will conduct an empirical and normative project investigating how the industrial structure of the American economy influences the partisan control of Congress and the public policy emanating from this legislative body, from 1990 through 2010. The specific questions guiding this research include: (1) what are and what explains electoral and lobbying coalitions between organized interests and political parties across time, which are defined broadly to include all types of campaign contributions, lobbying contracts, and contents of congressional member stock portfolios, and (2) what are the legislative and economic effects of these coalitions across time?... Read more about Political Money and the Crisis in Political Representation
Surveys show that the majority of people believe Congress is rife with corruption (e.g. World Values Survey 2000). Despite this public consensus, scholarship on the topic is quite mixed, largely because most studies employ a "market model" in which desired policy outcomes are assumed to be purchased by contributors (Gordon 2005). A "social model" better captures the reality-a reality in which desired policy outcomes are gifted via an ongoing friendly, albeit corrupting, reciprocal relationship (e.g. Clawson, Neustadtl, and Weller 1998; Gordon 2005).... Read more about Did Campaign Contributions and Congressional Corruption Lead to the Global Financial Crisis?
In the last two decades, the lobbying industry has assumed a central role among Washington’s policy-making institutions. Importantly, a large fraction of lobbyists employed in the Federal industry have experience in government positions, especially posts in Congress, the White House and leading executive agencies.
Working in conjunction with the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the Cultural Cognition Project is conducting an empirical investigation of how cultural cognition influences perceptions of the desirability, efficacy, and importance of public financing of political campaigns. "Cultural Cognition" refers to a set of psychological mechanisms that motivate individuals to fit their beliefs about policy-consequential facts to their preferred visions of the ideal society. Concepts and methods featureing cultural cognition have been used to understand public disagreements over myriad issues, from gun control to climate change.... Read more about Cultural Cognition and Public Campaign Financing
Professor Marc Rodwin’s project grows out of his previous two books on physicians’ conflicts of interest.1 One source of these conflicts of interest is physicians’ financial relationship to pharmaceutical firms. As an Edmond J. Safra Research Lab Fellow, Marc Rodwin is analyzing the legal, financial, and organizational arrangements within which the pharmaceutical industry operates. These sometimes create incentives (for drug firms and their employees) that conflict with the development of knowledge, drug safety, the promotion of public health, and innovation. They also make the public depend inappropriately on pharmaceutical firms to perform certain activities and this leads to institutional corruption. In a series of articles he will analyze the pros and cons of various options for reform.... Read more about The Pharmaceutical Industry, Institutional Corruption, and Public Health
Professor Sergio Sismondo has been working to detail the key mechanisms by which which pharmaceutical companies establish dominance over particular areas of medical knowledge. He has been looking at, for example, the ghosting of articles for medical science journals and at drug companies' recruitment and management of physicians to serve as "key opinion leaders". In his project at the Safra Center, he is studying how people justify their work to manage medical knowledge, as well as at how physicians and researchers justify their involvement with the drug industry.... Read more about Corruption and Justification in the Ghost Management of Medical Research