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Against the Profit Motive - Parrillo, Nicholas R - Yale University Press
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Series Information
Yale Law Library Series in Legal History and Reference

Against the Profit Motive

The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940

  • Nicholas R. Parrillo
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Winner of the 2014 Law and Society Association James Willard Hurst Book Prize.

 

In America today, a public official’s lawful income consists of a salary. But until a century ago, the law frequently provided for officials to make money on a profit-seeking basis. Prosecutors won a fee for each defendant convicted. Tax collectors received a percentage of each evasion uncovered. Naval officers took a reward for each ship sunk. Numerous other officers were likewise paid for “performance.” This book is the first to document the American government’s for-profit past, to discover how profit-seeking defined officialdom’s  relationship to the citizenry, and to explain how lawmakers—by ultimately banishing the profit motive in favor of the salary—transformed that relationship forever.

Nicholas R. Parrillo is associate professor of law at Yale University.

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