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Bribing versus gift-giving - An experiment

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  • Lambsdorff, Johann Graf
  • Frank, Björn

Abstract

We let students play a corruption game, embedded into a variant of the ultimatum game. Those allotted the role of public servants chose between whistleblowing, opportunism and reciprocity (delivery of a contract) and those acting as businesspeople chose how to frame the game (calling their payment either a gift or a bribe) and whether to blow the whistle at the end of the game. Opportunism and abstaining from whistleblowing is the Nash equilibrium. In line with widespread experimental evidence we find instead that businesspeople and public servants depart from maximizing payoffs. Businesspeople who strongly preferred to call the payment a bribe were more willing to punish non-delivering public servants. Translated to the real world, this finding reveals that gift-giving is a less effective method for influencing public servants because gifts fail to signal businesspeople's willingness to retaliate opportunism.

Suggested Citation

  • Lambsdorff, Johann Graf & Frank, Björn, 2010. "Bribing versus gift-giving - An experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 347-357, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:3:p:347-357
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1007_s11573-017-0846-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Danila Serra, 2012. "Combining Top-Down and Bottom-Up Accountability: Evidence from a Bribery Experiment," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 569-587, August.
    5. Fahr, René & Djawadi, Behnud Mir, 2012. "The impact of risk perception and risk attitudes on corrupt behavior: Evidence from a petty corruption experiment," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62022, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Vetter, Stefan, 2013. "Delegating decision rights for anticipated rewards as an alternative to corruption: An experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
    7. Luigi Mittone & Johannes Buckenmaier & Eugen Dimant, 2015. "Tax Evasion Revised: Surprising Experimental Evidence on the Role of Principal Witness Regulations and Differences in Gender Attitudes," CEEL Working Papers 1505, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    8. Abbink, Klaus & Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Jain, Tarun, 2014. "Letting the briber go free: An experiment on mitigating harassment bribes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 17-28.
    9. Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Luis A. Mejia, 2016. "Does corruption affect cooperation? A laboratory experiment," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, December.
    10. Björn Frank & Johann Graf Lambsdorff & Frédéric Boehm, 2011. "Gender and Corruption: Lessons from Laboratory Corruption Experiments," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 23(1), pages 59-71, February.
    11. Bobkova, Nina & Egbert, Henrik, 2012. "Corruption investigated in the lab: a survey of the experimental literature," MPRA Paper 38163, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Haller, Sven & Krüger, Tyll & Neumann, Thomas & Schosser, Stephan & Vogt, Bodo, 2013. "Risk attitude, beliefs, and information in a Corruption Game – An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 46-60.
    13. Johannes Buckenmaier & Eugen Dimant & Luigi Mittone, 2016. "Tax Evasion and Institutions. An Experiment on The Role of Principal Witness Regulations," PPE Working Papers 0007, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    14. Vetter, Stefan, 2012. "Delegation and Rewards," Discussion Papers in Economics 12884, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Vetter, Stefan, 2012. "Delegation and Rewards," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 378, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    16. Frank Björn & Li Sha & Bühren Christoph & Qin Haiying, 2015. "Group Decision Making in a Corruption Experiment: China and Germany Compared," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 235(2), pages 207-227, April.
    17. repec:gam:jadmsc:v:8:y:2018:i:2:p:12-:d:140399 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:494-508 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Murray, Cameron K. & Frijters, Paul & Vorster, Melissa, 2015. "Give and You Shall Receive: The Emergence of Welfare-Reducing Reciprocity," IZA Discussion Papers 9010, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Murray, Cameron K. & Frijters, Paul & Schaffner, Markus, 2017. "Is Transparency an Anti-Corruption Myth?," IZA Discussion Papers 10683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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