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Classification of Corruption: Clientelism and Rent seeking

Classification of Corruption: Clientelism and Rent seeking

The primary classifications of corruption include bribery, nepotism, embezzlement, fraud. clientelism, and rent-seeking.

All of these shady behaviours can occur among people in government positions, positions of leadership in the private sector, and among ordinary citizens.


  • Clientelism is at the heart of how corruption is spread through the government.
  • It is characterized by “patron-client” relationships in which relatively powerful and rich “patrons”, in the case of parliamentarians, political candidates, promise to provide relatively powerless and poor “clients” with benefits, such as jobs, protection or infrastructure, in exchange for votes.
  • These relations are corrupt because they exploit the poor or disenfranchised to become indebted to the elected, for work that is a part of his job responsibilities.
  • Thus, the democratic principles that define the political process are reduced.
  • The problem is further exaggerated when clients are not only fed promises, but coerced and intimidated so that control is maintained.                        Classification of Corruption: Clientelism and Rent seeking

Rent seeking

  • Rent seeking is cutting you a bigger slice of the cake rather than making the cake bigger, or trying to make more money without improved productivity.
  • Technically speaking, that is just a part of the definition as it can manifest itself in many different ways.
  • It is the process by which an individual, organization, or firm seeks to profit by manipulating the economic environment, rather than improving and expanding economic activity.
  • Often times rent-seeking behaviour is considered corrupt because it implies that money, or potential earnings, are reallocated in a manner that is not beneficial to or approved by all stakeholders.
  • Extortion is another example of corrupt behaviour in which one person coerces another to pay through money, goods, or favours for an action.
  • In government, extortion occurs when government agencies do not provide services quickly, and as a result individuals will offer money to make the application or service be delivered more quickly.



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