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In its traditional sense, corruption means moral impurity or decay that harms the public interest. It could take place in both the private and public sectors. One example of corruption in history was the improper sale of indulgences in the Catholic Church, which triggered the Protestant Reformation. Nowadays, corruption often refers to misconduct in the public sector. The World Bank defines corruption as the abuse of public office for personal gain. Transparency International provides a similar definition that corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. The abuse of public power is not limited to economic improprieties, such as bribery, embezzlement, and wire fraud. It includes social improprieties as well, such as patronage and nepotism. This entry provides an overview of corruption, the ...

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