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Combining Top-Down and Bottom-Up Accountability: Evidence from a Bribery Experiment

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  • Danila Serra

Abstract

Monitoring corruption typically relies on top-down interventions acting on the probability of external controls or the severity of punishment. An alternative approach to fighting corruption is to rely on bottom-up monitoring. This article investigates the effectiveness of an accountability system that combines bottom-up monitoring and top-down auditing using data from a specifically designed bribery lab experiment. I compare "public officials"' tendency to ask for bribes under: (1) no monitoring, (2) conventional top-down auditing, and (3) an accountability system that gives citizens the possibility of reporting corrupt officials, knowing that reports lead to top-down auditing with some low probability (the same as in (2)). The experimental results suggest that "combined" accountability systems can be highly effective in curbing corruption, even when citizens' "voice" leads to formal top-down punishment with a relatively low probability. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:28:y:2012:i:3:p:569-587
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewr010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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