Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Harvard Study: Jackson among most corrupt state capitals

A study by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government lays out what many of us living in the Magnolia State know well: Jackson is home to one of the most corrupt state governments in the country. The study (see below) focuses on the relationship between state government corruption and the relative isolation of the state capital from the majority of the state's population. At first, naming Jackson as a leader in corruption would seem to undermine the theory of the study, which is that corruption grows the further the state capital is from major population centers. After all, Jackson is the largest city in Mississippi by far, and sits at the center of the state's largest metropolitan area.

Reading a bit more of the study, you'll see that in actuality, the study is a condemnation of our state's media over the period from 1979-2002. (That's the era from which data was collected for the study.) I have no reason to believe it's improved since then, especially considering that Mississippi's only statewide newspaper, the Clarion-Ledger, appears to be dwindling away before our very eyes. Thanks, Gannett!

Facts like these are what animate many citizens, from Tea Party members to good-government Democrats. With the demise of the stalwarts of old media, hopefully new media can do a better job over the next generation informing the populous of what goes on underneath the dome at the corner of Mississippi and Congress in Downtown Jackson.

Of course, they'll have to actually care about what's going on, which is a whole other matter altogether. (The authors of the study appear to think that state capital isolation is what breeds lower education spending, while I can't help but wonder if the two are related at all, and if they are, whether or not that's a chicken and egg problem.)

Here's a link to an L.A. Times article on the study which gives a synopsis, and here's the actual Harvard study itself:

Harvard Study on State Government Corruption


Kingfish said...

Great. I look forward to seeing you blog about corruption in Hinds County and jackson government. Welcome to the fight. Always knew you had a moral side to you.

Cottonmouth said...

I think you do quite a good job with both of those subjects. And with Madison and Rankin as well.