The review essays by Sunila S. Kale, Sandipto Dasgupta, and Michael J. Watts on Milan Vaishnav's When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics and Steven Pierce's Moral Economies of Corruption: State Formation and Political Culture in Nigeria raise a number of theoretically interesting questions about corruption, criminality, and their historical embeddedness. In particular, they force a rethinking of the commonly accepted notion that in many contexts the state, far from being seen as the remedy to citizens' core grievances, is the very source of the grievance to begin with. Paradoxically, elected representatives who helm the state apparatus are often the only actors with the authority and delegated powers to reform the state, something that they have few incentives to do.

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