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Corruption and culture: An Experimental Analysis

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  • Abigail Barr
  • Danila Serra

Abstract

Why do some people choose corruption over honesty and others not? Do the social norms and values prevailing in the societies in which they grew up affect their decisions? In 2005, we conducted a bribery experiment and found that, among undergraduates, we could predict who would act corruptly with reference to the level of corruption in their home country, Among graduates we could no. In 2007, we replicated our result. We conclude that individuals’ propensities to act corruptly may reflect the cultures in which they grew up. However certain types of individuals may not conform to their cultures and could, therefore, act as agents for change.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2008-23.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-23

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Keywords: Corruption; Social Norms; Economic Experiments Culture;

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References

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  1. Esther Hauk & Maria Sáez, 1999. "On the cultural transmission of corruption," Economics Working Papers 392, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2008. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-24, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Amir N. Licht & Chanan Goldschmidt & Shalom H. Schwartz, 2003. "Culture Rules: The Foundations of the Rule of Law and Other Norms of Governance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-605, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
  5. George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Cameron, Lisa & Chaudhuri, Ananish & Erkal, Nisvan & Gangadharan, Lata, 2009. "Propensities to engage in and punish corrupt behavior: Experimental evidence from Australia, India, Indonesia and Singapore," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 843-851, August.
  7. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  8. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  9. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 428-454, October.
  10. Posner, R.A. & Rasmusen, E., 1998. "Creating and Enforcing Norms, with Special Reference to Sanctions," Papers 98-005, Indiana - Center for Econometric Model Research.
  11. Posner, Richard A. & Rasmusen, Eric B., 1999. "Creating and enforcing norms, with special reference to sanctions1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 369-382, September.
  12. Klaus Abbink, 2000. "Fair Salaries and the Moral Costs of Corruption," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse1_2000, University of Bonn, Germany.
  13. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
  14. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Chun-Lei Yang, 2003. "The Hot Versus Cold Effect in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, June.
  15. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  16. Klaus Abbink, 2006. "Laboratory experiments on corruption," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-38, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  17. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
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