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Combining Top-Down and Bottom-Up Accountability: Evidence from a Bribery Experiment

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  • Danila Serra

Abstract

Monitoring corruption typically relies on top-down interventions acting on the probability of external controls or the severity of punishment. An alternative approach to fighting corruption is to rely on bottom-up monitoring. This article investigates the effectiveness of an accountability system that combines bottom-up monitoring and top-down auditing using data from a specifically designed bribery lab experiment. I compare "public officials"' tendency to ask for bribes under: (1) no monitoring, (2) conventional top-down auditing, and (3) an accountability system that gives citizens the possibility of reporting corrupt officials, knowing that reports lead to top-down auditing with some low probability (the same as in (2)). The experimental results suggest that "combined" accountability systems can be highly effective in curbing corruption, even when citizens' "voice" leads to formal top-down punishment with a relatively low probability. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 569-587

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:28:y:2012:i:3:p:569-587

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  1. Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J, 2010. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CEPR Discussion Papers 7620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Mikhail Drugov & John Hamman & Danila Serra, 2014. "Intermediaries in corruption: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 78-99, March.
  2. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  3. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Timothy C. Salmon & Danila Serra, 2013. "Does Social Judgement Diminish Rule Breaking?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2013-05, University of Oxford, 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. 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.
  7. van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2013. "The influence of wages on public officials' corruptibility: A laboratory investigation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-210, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  8. Klaus Abbink & Utteeyo Dasgupta & Lata Gangadharan & Tarun Jain, 2013. "Letting the Briber Go Free: An Experiment on Mitigating Harassment Bribes," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 62-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  9. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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