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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 aimed at increasing the probability of external controls and the severity of punishment.� An alternative approach to fighting corruption is to induce bottom-up pressure for reform.� Recent studies have shown that both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms are rarely able to keep service providers accountable.� This paper 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.� We compare "public officials" tendency to ask for bribes under: 1) no monitoring; 2) conventional top-down auditing, and 3) an accountability system which gives citizens the possibility to report corrupt officials, knowing that reports lead to formal punishment 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 punishment with a relatively low probability.� In contrast, pure top-down auditing may prove ineffective, especially in a weak institutional environment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2008-25.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2008-25

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Keywords: Corruption; Monitoring; Bottom-up; Experiment;

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References

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  1. Benjamin Olken, 2005. "Monitoring corruption: Evidence from a field experiment in indonesia," Natural Field Experiments 00317, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf & Frank, Björn, 2010. "Bribing versus gift-giving - An experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 347-357, June.
  3. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  4. Barr, Abigail & Serra, Danila, 2010. "Corruption and culture: An experimental analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 862-869, December.
  5. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2000. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1389, Econometric Society.
  6. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
  7. Oxoby, Robert J. & McLeish, Kendra N., 2004. "Sequential decision and strategy vector methods in ultimatum bargaining: evidence on the strength of other-regarding behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 399-405, September.
  8. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2009. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 488-503, December.
  9. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
  10. Iris Bohnet & Fiona Greig & Benedikt Herrmann & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008. "Betrayal Aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 294-310, March.
  11. Charness, Gary B & Brandts, Jordi, 1998. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4kx7d5pv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  12. 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.
  13. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
  14. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Chun-Lei Yang, 2003. "The Hot Versus Cold Effect in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, June.
  15. 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.
  16. Klaus Abbink, 2006. "Laboratory experiments on corruption," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-38, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  17. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 2003. "Testing Political Economy Models of Reform in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 208-212, May.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Mikhail Drugov & John Hamman & Danila Serra, 2014. "Intermediaries in corruption: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 78-99, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Klaus Abbink & Utteeyo Dasgupta & Lata Gangadharan & Tarun Jain, 2013. "Letting the Briber Go Free: An Experiment on Mitigating Harassment Bribes," Monash Economics Working Papers 62-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. 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).
  6. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena, Department of Economics, University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  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, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-15, February.
  8. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics 2009-11, .
  9. Bobkova, Nina & Egbert, Henrik, 2012. "Corruption investigated in the lab: a survey of the experimental literature," MPRA Paper 38163, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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