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The Boston Globe


Uncommon Knowledge

Marijuana, shield me from rejection

And other surprising insights from the social sciences

This explains Albany

Most of the population of Massachusetts is located near Boston—and new research suggests that residents can be thankful that Boston is also the state’s capital. A study finds that states with capitals that are farther away from the bulk of the state’s population have more corrupt governments, as measured by the number of federal convictions for public corruption. According to the authors of the study, this is a “very robust connection, in spite of the inherently small sample size.” The effect of an isolated capital appears to be driven by a lack of accountability: There’s less newspaper coverage of state politics, and less interest in state politics on the part of distant residents. And, in addition to federal convictions, isolated capitals are also associated with more campaign contributions, higher governor salaries, and less spending on the public relative to spending on bureaucracy.

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