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Corruption, in a wide sense, is improper and usually unlawful conduct intended to secure a benefit for oneself or another, such as by bribery, graft, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, and misuse of inside information.

The term often refers more narrowly to political corruption, corruption by government officials.

A frequently used measure of political corruption in different countries is the "Corruption Perceptions Index", although there are various criticisms, such as being based on opinion surveys of the perceptions of claimed experts, including the World Economic Forum and various organizations possibly having political biases. According to the index, countries with higher political freedom tend to have lower political corruption, presumably related to greater freedom to investigate and criticize political corruption. Less politically correct associations with low corruption include high share of Europeans and low ethnic heterogeneity.

Although possibly not being unlawful, influences from lobbying groups, such as by "donations" and "campaign contributions" to politicians, are sometimes considered to be a form political corruption.

Some forms of networking, such as by organizations such as Freemasons and ethnic networking, are sometimes considered corruption, if causing effects such as promoting less able individuals due to their connections. See also the articles on Racial genetic interests, on "ethnic nepotism", and Jewish influence, the section "Proposed causes", on argued Jewish ethnic networking.

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