New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type



NYU Annual Survey of American Law, Vol. 67, No. 3, 2012


This short essay traces the legislative history of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and its amendments to examine the influence of three distinct motivations: moralism, (economic) self-interest and altruism. The legislative history suggests that moralism and self-interest played the most significant roles in influencing the provisions of the original Act and its 1988 Amendments. Since then altruism has played a more prominent role in shaping the FCPA and other initiatives aimed at foreign bribery. The essay concludes by discussing the potential tension between self-interest and altruism and ways in which it might be resolved.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FCPA, bribery

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Criminal Law Commons