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Against the Profit MotiveThe Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940$
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Nicholas R. Parrillo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300176582

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300176582.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Against the Profit Motive

Nicholas R. Parrillo

Yale University Press

Today a public official in America earns a lawful income in the form of a salary. The situation was quite different in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, where American law authorized a wide variety of ways for officials to make money. The Introduction outlines the various ways in which they could earn extra money. What these arrangements had in common was that the officers' incomes depended, immediately and objectively, on the delivery of services and the achievement of outputs. Gradually, a change took place during the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century as American lawmakers abolished all these forms of income and replaced them with fixed salaries, thus attenuating the relationship of officials' income to their conduct. In so doing, they made the absence of the profit motive a defining feature of government.

Keywords:   profit motive, income, salary, government, officers' incomes

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