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Bribing versus gift-giving - An experiment

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  • Lambsdorff, Johann Graf
  • Frank, Björn

Abstract

We let students play a corruption game, embedded into a variant of the ultimatum game. Those allotted the role of public servants chose between whistleblowing, opportunism and reciprocity (delivery of a contract) and those acting as businesspeople chose how to frame the game (calling their payment either a gift or a bribe) and whether to blow the whistle at the end of the game. Opportunism and abstaining from whistleblowing is the Nash equilibrium. In line with widespread experimental evidence we find instead that businesspeople and public servants depart from maximizing payoffs. Businesspeople who strongly preferred to call the payment a bribe were more willing to punish non-delivering public servants. Translated to the real world, this finding reveals that gift-giving is a less effective method for influencing public servants because gifts fail to signal businesspeople's willingness to retaliate opportunism.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 347-357

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:3:p:347-357

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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Keywords: Crime prevention Corruption Experiment Framing Opportunism;

References

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  1. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2004. "The Use and Abuse of Trust: Social Capital and its Deployment by Early Modern Guilds," CESifo Working Paper Series 1302, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1999. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Discussion Paper Serie B 459, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
  4. Abbink, Klaus, 2004. "Staff rotation as an anti-corruption policy: an experimental study," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 887-906, November.
  5. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2008. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-24, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  8. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
  9. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
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  11. Kingston, Christopher, 2007. "Parochial corruption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 73-87, May.
  12. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "Neutral versus loaded instructions in a bribery experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 103-121, June.
  13. Bolle, Friedel, 1990. "High reward experiments without high expenditure for the experimenter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 157-167, June.
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  15. Lambsdorff, Johann & Nell, Mathias, 2007. "Fighting corruption with asymmetric penalties and leniency," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 59, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  16. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf, 2002. "Making corrupt deals: contracting in the shadow of the law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 221-241, July.
  17. Klaus Abbink, 2006. "Laboratory experiments on corruption," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-38, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Danila Serra, 2008. "Combining Top-down and Bottom-up Accountability: Evidence from a Bribery Experiment," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-25, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Vetter, Stefan, 2012. "Delegation and Rewards," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 378, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Haller, Sven & Krüger, Tyll & Neumann, Thomas & Schosser, Stephan & Vogt, Bodo, 2010. "Risk attitude, beliefs, and information in a corruption game: An experimental analysis," Working Paper Series in Economics 6, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  4. Vetter, Stefan, 2012. "Delegation and Rewards," Discussion Papers in Economics 12884, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Bobkova, Nina & Egbert, Henrik, 2012. "Corruption investigated in the lab: a survey of the experimental literature," MPRA Paper 38163, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Bj�rn Frank & Johann Graf Lambsdorff & Fr�d�ric Boehm, 2011. "Gender and Corruption: Lessons from Laboratory Corruption Experiments," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(1), pages 59-71, February.
  7. Olivier Armantier & Amadou Boly, 2014. "On the effects of incentive framing on bribery: evidence from an experiment in Burkina Faso," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-15, February.
  8. Djawadi, Behnud Mir & Fahr, René, 2013. "The Impact of Risk Perception and Risk Attitudes on Corrupt Behavior: Evidence from a Petty Corruption Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7383, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Vetter, Stefan, 2013. "Delegating decision rights for anticipated rewards as an alternative to corruption: An experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
  10. Abbink, Klaus & Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Jain, Tarun, 2014. "Letting the briber go free: An experiment on mitigating harassment bribes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 17-28.

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