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An Experimental Bribery Game

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  • Klaus Abbink

    (Universitaet Bonn)

  • Bernd Irlenbusch

    (Universitaet Bonn)

  • Elke Renner

    (WHU - Otto-Beisheim-Hochschule)

Abstract

Essential characteristics of corruption are (1) a reciprocity relationship between briber and public official, (2) negative external effects to others, and (3) high penalties for the parties involved in case of discovery. We separate the behavioural influences of these factors in a laboratory experiment. A two-player reciprocity game is designed in which trust and recipro-cation cause negative external effects to other subjects and are overall inefficient. A control treatment without such negative externalities is also conducted. In a third, so-called sudden death treatment, corrupt pairs face a low probability of being punished by exclusion from the experiment without payment. All games are played in supergames with fixed pairs. The results show that trust and reciprocation establish stable bribery relationships, where the negative externality has no apparent effect on behaviour. The threat of the sudden death penalty, how-ever, significantly reduces the frequency of corrupt decisions, although additional question-naires suggest that the discovery probability is even under-estimated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1389.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1389

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  1. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1997. "The Moonlighting Game - An Experimental Study on Reciprocity and Retribution," Discussion Paper Serie B 415, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Avner Offer, 1997. "Between the gift and the market: the economy of regard," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 50(3), pages 450-476, 08.
  5. Manion, Melanie, 1996. "Corruption by Design: Bribery in Chinese Enterprise Licensing," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 167-95, April.
  6. Selten, Reinhard & Stoecker, Rolf, 1986. "End behavior in sequences of finite Prisoner's Dilemma supergames A learning theory approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-70, March.
  7. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  8. Burnham, Terence & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L., 2000. "Friend-or-foe intentionality priming in an extensive form trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-73, September.
  9. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin A & Smith, Vernon L, 1998. "Behavioral Foundations of Reciprocity: Experimental Economics and Evolutionary Psychology," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 335-52, July.
  10. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Jacobsen, Eva & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1996. "Experimental Proof for the Motivational Importance of Reciprocity," Discussion Paper Serie B 386, University of Bonn, Germany.
  12. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
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