chapter  15
22 Pages

Breakdown of Brokerage: Crisis and Collapse in the Watergate Conspiracy

This chapter provides empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that those who occupy mediating positions between blocs in political conspiracies face a relative broker penalty. When we say that doing bridging work entails a “brokerage penalty,” we mean that those in these positions are, on average, targets of suspicion, enmity, and hostility. While working at the crossroads of the secret working groups, they invite invective behavior and are fingered by their co-conspirators. When we say that action that bridges between subgroups entails a “brokerage premium,” we mean that those who occupy these intermediate positions between subgroups-as representatives and/ or gatekeepers, for example-have access to unique resources and information that make them influential players in a system. We operationalize these concepts and test the brokerage penalty hypothesis in a statistical model by ascertaining whether there is a negative effect of brokerage in Watergate in which conspirators are supposed to represent their bloc.