Journal Title

Federal Lawyer Online


August 2014



First Page


Document Type

Book Review

Publication Information



In Against the Profit Motive, Nicholas R. Parrillo expertly explains how and why state and federal governments moved from paying their employees fees to paying them salaries. The book offers insights into the history of government finance and administrative law, shifting dramatically in time, subject matter, and geography. The book begins with a helpful fifty-page introductory summary and then is divided into two parts, each of which considers a type of activity that generated fees for government officers: facilitative payments and bounties. Further, Against the Profit Motive illustrates, in the disparate areas of criminal law enforcement, tax collection, and naval warfare, the difficulty that governments had in creating effective incentives that did not give rise to corruption. Though some of its material is daunting, Against the Profit Motive makes for rewarding and informative reading.

Recommended Citation

Michael S. Ariens, Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780–1940 (book review), Fed. Law. Online 1 (Aug. 2014).

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