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Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Punishment Regimes for Collusive Bribery

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Engel
  • Sebastian J. Goerg
  • Gaoneng Yu

Abstract

In major legal orders such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, bribers and recipients face equally severe criminal sanctions. In contrast, countries like China, Russia, and Japan treat the briber more mildly. Asymmetric punishment has been shown to help deter harassment bribery. However, we conjecture that asymmetry is ineffective when applied to collusive bribes. Instead of deterring bribes, asymmetry might enable the briber to enforce the corrupt deal. To test this hypothesis, we design and run a lab experiment in Bonn (Germany) and Shanghai (China) with exactly the same design. The results show that, in both countries, with symmetric punishment bribers are less likely to report to the authorities. Officials are less likely to grant the favor. In Shanghai, corrupt offers are then also less likely. If we frame the experiment as collusive corruption, effects are less pronounced, but we can replicate all of them.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Engel & Sebastian J. Goerg & Gaoneng Yu, 2016. "Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Punishment Regimes for Collusive Bribery," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 506-556.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:18:y:2016:i:2:p:506-556.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahw005
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Perrotta Berlin & Bei Qin & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2018. "Leniency, Asymmetric Punishment and Corruption: Evidence from China," CEIS Research Paper 431, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 23 Apr 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    C91; D02; D03; D73; K14; K42;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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