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Corruption, norm violation and decay in social capital

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  • Banerjee, Ritwik

Abstract

The paper studies the link between corruption and social capital (measured as trust), using data from a lab experiment. Subjects play either a harassment bribery game or a strategically identical but differently framed ultimatum game, followed by a trust game. In a second experiment, we elicit social appropriateness norm of actions in the bribery game and ultimatum game treatments. Our experimental design allows us to examine whether subjects, who have been asked to pay a bribe, are less likely to trust than those in an isomorphic role in the ultimatum game. We also uncover the underlying mechanism behind any such behavioral spillover. Results suggest that a) there is a negative spillover effect of corruption on trust and the effect increases with decrease in social appropriateness norm of the bribe demand; b) lower trust in the bribery game treatment is explained by lower expected return on trust; c) surprisingly, for both the bribery and ultimatum game treatments, social appropriateness norm violation engenders the decay in trust through its adverse effect on belief about trustworthiness.

Suggested Citation

  • Banerjee, Ritwik, 2016. "Corruption, norm violation and decay in social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 14-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:137:y:2016:i:c:p:14-27
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.03.007
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Social capital; Social norm; Trust games;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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