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Delegation and Rewards

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  • Vetter, Stefan
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    Abstract

    We study experimentally whether anti-corruption policies with a focus on bribery might be insufficient to uncover more subtle ways of gaining an unfair advantage. In particular, we investigate whether an implicit agreement to exchange favors between a decision-maker and a lobbying party serves as a legal substitute for corruption. Due to the obvious lack of field data on these activities, the laboratory provides an excellent opportunity to study this question. We find that even the pure anticipation of future rewards from a lobbying party suffices to bias a decision-maker in favor of this party, even though it creates negative externalities to others. Although future rewards are not contractible, the benefitting party voluntarily compensates decision-makers for partisan choices. In this way, both receive higher payoffs, but aggregate welfare is lower than without a rewards channel. Thus, the outcome mirrors what might have been achieved via conventional bribing, while not being illegal.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 378.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:378

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    Keywords: delegation; gift exchange; corruption; lobbying; negative externalities;

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    1. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf & Frank, Björn, 2010. "Bribing versus gift-giving - An experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 347-357, June.
    2. Lucas C. Coffman, 2011. "Intermediation Reduces Punishment (and Reward)," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 77-106, November.
    3. Susanne Büchner & Andreas Freytag & Luis González & Werner Güth, 2008. "Bribery and public procurement: an experimental study," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 103-117, October.
    4. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2000. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1389, Econometric Society.
    5. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2008. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," IEW - Working Papers 380, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Fershtman, C. & Gneezy, U., 1997. "Strategic delegation: An experiment," Discussion Paper 1997-26, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. Luis Gonzalez & Werner Güth & Maria Vittoria Levati, . "Speeding up Bureaucrats by Greasing Them - An Experimental Study -," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    8. 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.
    9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    10. Gary Charness & Ramon Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jimenez & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos, 2012. "The Hidden Advantage of Delegation: Pareto Improvements in a Gift Exchange Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2358-79, August.
    11. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
    12. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2002. "Neutral versus Loaded Instructions in a Bribery Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse23_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
    13. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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