We offer an institutional explanation for the dramatic decline in corrupt practices that characterizes British political development in the mass suffrage era. Parliamentary candidates who faced corruption charges were judged by tribunals of sitting MPs until 1868, when this responsibility was passed to the courts. We draw on theory and empirical evidence to demonstrate that delegating responsibility over corruption trials to judges was an important institutional step in cleaning up elections. By focusing on an institutional explanation for Victorian electoral corruption (and its demise), we provide an account that complements the existing literature while offering clearer implications for contemporary policy debates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations