The paper discusses corruption as an extensively applied notion in both politics and the social sciences, and identifies the multifacetedness of the phenomenon along with the concept’s numerous connotations as dilemmas hindering the concept’s ability (i.e. political corruption) to stand analytically without a closer definition. The author reviews a number of well-known and rehearsed definitions of corruption, and argues that political corruption occurs when decision-makers use their position to sustain power, status and wealth. The author also distinguishes between bureaucratic and petty corruption, and links political corruption to authoritarian regimes whereas the phenomenon appears as more incidental and occasional in democratic countries.
CHR. Michelsen Institute