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An Experimental Bribery Game

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Listed:
  • Klaus Abbink
  • Bernd Irlenbusch
  • Elke Renner

Abstract

Essential characteristics of corruption are (1) reciprocity relationships between bribers and public officials, (2) negative welfare effects, and (3) high penalties when discovered. We separate the influences of these factors in an experiment. In a two-player game, reciprocation is economically inefficient through negative externalities. A control treatment without externalities is also conducted. In a third, so-called sudden death treatment, corrupt pairs face a low probability of exclusion from the experiment without payment. The results show that reciprocity can establish bribery relationships, where negative externalities have no apparent effect. The penalty threat significantly reduces corruption, although discovery probabilities are typically underestimated. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 428-454, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:18:y:2002:i:2:p:428-454
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin A & Smith, Vernon L, 1998. "Behavioral Foundations of Reciprocity: Experimental Economics and Evolutionary Psychology," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 335-352, July.
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    6. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 428-454, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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