- Ethics Home Page
- About the Center
- Focus Areas
- Contact Us
- Site Index
Introduction to Government Ethics
by Judy Nadler and Miriam Schulman
Sometimes it's easy to see when things go wrong in government: Elected officials take bribes; candidates lie about their opponents; city officials make important public decisions in secret meetings. Other times, the right thing is not so obvious: Should a councilmember represent the wishes of the majority, even when he or she thinks the majority is wrong? Is it acceptable for a governor to appoint a family member to his or her cabinet if the appointee is the best person for the job?
Whether the ethical issues are obvious or complicated, they are easier to address if public servants have given some thought to the kinds of dilemmas they will confront before a crisis occurs. The materials in this "primer" on government ethics are intended to provide elected officials, government workers, and ordinary citizens with an introduction to the basic questions that are likely to come up in the conduct of public business.
Each section of the primer includes definitions, a discussion of the ethical issues involved, and a description of the unavoidable ethical dilemmas that arise in government. Links are provided to cases and to selected Web sites with further information.
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics also provides training on these issues. For more information, contact Hana Callaghan, senior fellow in government ethics.
Introductory Issues in Government Ethics
- Engineering Ethics Prize
Applications due April 17
- Cultivating Compassion
Psychologist discusses his work with Israeli and Palestinian youth, April 22
- Religious Liberty and the Culture Wars
A talk by UVA Law Professor Douglas Laycock, April 29
Competition for students to create app or program on social justice, May 2
- More News »