IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/12634.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Leniency, Asymmetric Punishment and Corruption: Evidence from China

Author

Listed:
  • Perrotta Berlin, Maria
  • Qin, Bei
  • Spagnolo, Giancarlo

Abstract

Fostering whistleblowing through leniency and asymmetric sanctions is regarded as a potentially powerful anti-corruption strategy in the light of its success in busting cartels. The US Department of Justice started a pilot program of this kind in 2016. It has been argued, however, that introduced in China in 1997, these policies did not help against corruption. We map the evolution of the Chinese anti-corruption legislation and aggregate enforcement data, documenting a large and stable fall in prosecuted cases after the 1997 reform. The fall is consistent with reduced corruption detection, but under specific assumptions also with improved deterrence. To resolve the ambiguity, we collect and analyze a random sample of case files from corruption trials. Results point indeed at a negative effect of the 1997 reform on corruption detection and deterrence, but plausibly linked to its poor design: contrary to what theory prescribes, it increased leniency also for bribe-taking bureaucrats that cooperate after being denounced, enhancing their ability to retaliate against whistleblowing bribe-givers.

Suggested Citation

  • Perrotta Berlin, Maria & Qin, Bei & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2018. "Leniency, Asymmetric Punishment and Corruption: Evidence from China," CEPR Discussion Papers 12634, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12634
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12634
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhijun Chen & Patrick Rey, 2013. "On the Design of Leniency Programs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 917-957.
    2. repec:oup:alecon:v:18:y:2016:i:2:p:506-556. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Martin Dufwenberg & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2015. "Legalizing Bribe Giving," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 836-853, April.
    4. Abbink, Klaus & Wu, Kevin, 2017. "Reward self-reporting to deter corruption: An experiment on mitigating collusive bribery," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 256-272.
    5. Basu, Kaushik, 2011. "Why, for a Class of Bribes, the Act of Giving a Bribe should be Treated as Legal," MPRA Paper 50335, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jose Apesteguia & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2007. "Blowing the Whistle," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 143-166, April.
    7. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
    8. Motta, Massimo & Polo, Michele, 2003. "Leniency programs and cartel prosecution," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 347-379, March.
    9. Maria Bigoni & Sven-Olof Fridolfsson & Chloé Le Coq & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2015. "Trust, Leniency, and Deterrence," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 663-689.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13637 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Dina Pomeranz, 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2539-2569, August.
    12. Lambsdorff, Johann & Nell, Mathias, 2007. "Fighting corruption with asymmetric penalties and leniency," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 59, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    13. Mandar Oak, 2015. "Legalization of Bribe Giving when Bribe Type Is Endogenous," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(4), pages 580-604, August.
    14. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2016. "Why Can Modern Governments Tax So Much? An Agency Model of Firms as Fiscal Intermediaries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 219-246, April.
    15. Christoph Engel & Sebastian Goerg & Gaoneng Yu, 2012. "Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Punishment Regimes for Bribery," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_01, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised May 2013.
    16. 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.
    17. Joseph E. Harrington & Myong-Hun Chang, 2009. "Modeling the Birth and Death of Cartels with an Application to Evaluating Competition Policy," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1400-1435, December.
    18. Maria Bigoni & Sven-Olof Fridolfsson & Chloé Le Coq & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2012. "fines, leniency, and rewards in antitrust," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(2), pages 368-390, June.
    19. Buccirossi, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Leniency policies and illegal transactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1281-1297, August.
    20. Joseph E. Harrington, 2008. "Optimal Corporate Leniency Programs," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 215-246, June.
    21. Catarina Marvão & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2018. "Cartels and leniency: Taking stock of what we learnt," Chapters, in: Luis C. Corchón & Marco A. Marini (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory and Industrial Organization, Volume II, chapter 4, pages 57-90, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    22. Aubert, Cecile & Rey, Patrick & Kovacic, William E., 2006. "The impact of leniency and whistle-blowing programs on cartels," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1241-1266, November.
    23. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2004. "Divide et Impera: Optimal Leniency Programmes," CEPR Discussion Papers 4840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    24. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Putting Firms into Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 130-134, May.
    25. Joseph E. Harrington Jr, 2013. "Corporate Leniency Programs when Firms have Private Information: The Push of Prosecution and the Pull of Pre-emption," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 1-27, March.
    26. Karna Basu & Kaushik Basu & Tito Cordella, 2016. "Asymmetric Punishment as an Instrument of Corruption Control," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 18(6), pages 831-856, December.
    27. Nathan H. Miller, 2009. "Strategic Leniency and Cartel Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 750-768, June.
    28. Brenner, Steffen, 2009. "An empirical study of the European corporate leniency program," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 639-645, November.
    29. 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.
    30. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
    31. Jeroen Hinloopen & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2008. "Laboratory evidence on the effectiveness of corporate leniency programs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 607-616, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Maximilian Andres & Lisa Bruttel & Jana Friedrichsen, 2020. "Choosing between explicit cartel formation and tacit collusion – An experiment," CEPA Discussion Papers 19, Center for Economic Policy Analysis.
    2. Nyreröd, Theo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2017. "Myths and Numbers on Whistleblower Rewards," SITE Working Paper Series 44, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, revised 27 Apr 2018.
    3. Pavlova, Natalia & Shastitko, Andrey, 2016. "Leniency programs and socially beneficial cooperation: Effects of type I errors," Russian Journal of Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 375-401.
    4. Kaushik Basu, 2018. "A short history of India's economy: A chapter in the Asian drama," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-124, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Kaushik Basu, 2018. "A short history of India's economy : A chapter in the Asian drama," WIDER Working Paper Series 124, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Jun Hu, 2021. "Asymmetric punishment, Leniency and Harassment Bribes in China: a selective survey," Working Papers hal-03119491, HAL.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jun Hu, 2021. "Asymmetric punishment, Leniency and Harassment Bribes in China: a selective survey," Working Papers hal-03119491, HAL.
    2. Emons, Winand, 2020. "The effectiveness of leniency programs when firms choose the degree of collusion," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    3. Jun Zhou, 2016. "The Rise and Fall of Cartels with Multi-market Colluders," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 48(4), pages 381-403, June.
    4. Jochem, Annabelle & Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Valletta, Giacomo, 2020. "The impact of the 2002 reform of the EU leniency program on cartel outcomes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    5. Abbink, Klaus & Wu, Kevin, 2017. "Reward self-reporting to deter corruption: An experiment on mitigating collusive bribery," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 256-272.
    6. Gamba, Astrid & Immordino, Giovanni & Piccolo, Salvatore, 2018. "Corruption, organized crime and the bright side of subversion of law," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 79-88.
    7. Andres, Maximilian & Bruttel, Lisa & Friedrichsen, Jana, 2021. "The leniency rule revisited: Experiments on cartel formation with open communication," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    8. Buckenmaier, Johannes & Dimant, Eugen & Mittone, Luigi, 2020. "Effects of institutional history and leniency on collusive corruption and tax evasion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 296-313.
    9. Chen, Zhiqi & Ghosh, Subhadip & Ross, Thomas W., 2015. "Denying leniency to cartel instigators: Costs and benefits," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 19-29.
    10. Giovanni Immordino & Salvatore Piccolo & Paolo Roberti, 2018. "Optimal Leniency and the Organization Design of Group Delinquency," CSEF Working Papers 503, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    11. Immordino, Giovanni & Piccolo, Salvatore & Roberti, Paolo, 2020. "Optimal leniency and the organization design of group crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    12. Marc Blatter & Winand Emons & Silvio Sticher, 2018. "Optimal Leniency Programs When Firms Have Cumulative and Asymmetric Evidence," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 52(3), pages 403-427, May.
    13. Peter T. Dijkstra & Jonathan Frisch, 2018. "Sanctions and Leniency to Individuals, and its Impact on Cartel Discoveries: Evidence from the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 111-134, March.
    14. Sauvagnat, Julien, 2010. "Prosecution and Leniency Programs: a Fool's Game," TSE Working Papers 10-188, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    15. Hinloopen, Jeroen & Onderstal, Sander, 2014. "Going once, going twice, reported! Cartel activity and the effectiveness of antitrust policies in experimental auctions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 317-336.
    16. Lefouili, Yassine & Roux, Catherine, 2012. "Leniency programs for multimarket firms: The effect of Amnesty Plus on cartel formation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 624-640.
    17. Jun Zhou, 2016. "The dynamics of leniency application and the knock-on effect of cartel enforcement," Working Papers 13042, Bruegel.
    18. Choi, Jay Pil & Gerlach, Heiko, 2012. "Global cartels, leniency programs and international antitrust cooperation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 528-540.
    19. Tebbe, Eva, 2018. "Once bitten, twice shy? Market size affects the effectiveness of a leniency program by (de-)activating hysteresis effects," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168304, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    20. Sauvagnat, Julien, 2014. "Are leniency programs too generous?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 323-326.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Corruption; deterrence; Leniency;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • N45 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P37 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Legal

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12634. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.