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Is more competition always better? An experimental study of extortionary corruption

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  • Dmitry Ryvkin

    () (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

  • Danila Serra

    () (Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University)

Abstract

We test the effectiveness of an anti-corruption policy that is often discussed among practitioners: an increase in competition among officials providing the same good or service. In particular, we investigate whether an increase in overlapping jurisdictions reduces extortionary corruption, i.e., bribe demands for the provision of services that clients are entitled to receive. We overcome measurement and identification problems by addressing our research question in the laboratory. We conduct an extortionary bribery experiment where clients apply for a license from one of many available offices and officials can demand a bribe on top of the license fee. By manipulating the number of available offices and the size of search costs we are able to assess whether increasing competition reduces extortionary corruption. We find that, if search costs are unaffected, increasing the number of providers may actually increase corruption. In particular, our results show that increasing competition has either no eeffect (if search costs are high) or a positive effect (if search costs are low) on bribe demands. We compare our findings to those obtained in a standard market environment and find evidence of different search behaviors in the two settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Dmitry Ryvkin & Danila Serra, 2015. "Is more competition always better? An experimental study of extortionary corruption," Working Papers wp2015_10_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:fsu:wpaper:wp2015_10_01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Gary Bolton & Axel Ockenfels & Peter Werner, 2016. "Leveraging social relationships and transparency in the insider game," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 127-143, November.
    3. Dmitry Ryvkin & Danila Serra, 2016. "The Industrial Organization of Corruption: Monopoly, Competition and Collusion," Working Papers wp2016_10_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    competition; extortionary corruption; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D49 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Other
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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