Public Perceptions of Ethics in Government (1995)

in: The annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Volume 537, p. 163-172

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To explain negative perceptions of government ethics, particularly the ethics of public administrators, the paradox of distance & the absence of role differentiation are employed. In the paradox of distance, the public holds negative views of government generally & public administrators in the abstract, but they have favorable to very favorable views of governmental programs with which they interact & favorable views of the bureaucrats whom they encounter. Much of the negative perception of government ethics & the ethics of public officials is based on public observations of the misdeeds of those who are elected or politically appointed. These negative perceptions are well founded. Unfortunately, the public holds similarly negative views of merit civil servants, although these public officials are much less often associated with corruption or unethical behavior. It is suggested that several contemporary governmental reforms will, in the long run, result in more rather than less government corruption. Adapted from the source document.


Professional Ethics, Public Opinion, Public Administration, Social Perception, Government




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