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Corrupt police

Author

Listed:
  • Klaus Abbink

    () (Department of Economics, Monash University)

  • Dmitry Ryvkin

    () (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

  • Danila Serra

    () (Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University)

Abstract

We employ laboratory experiments to examine the effects of corrupt law enforcement on crime within a society. We embed corruption in a social dilemma setting where citizens simultaneously choose whether to obey the law or to break the law and impose a negative externality on others. Police officers observe citizens' behavior and decide whether to impose fines on law-breakers or, in treatments with corruption, extort bribes from any citizen. In the first study, we find that the presence of police substantially reduces crime, as compared to a baseline setting without police. This is true also when police officers are corrupt. This result is driven by corrupt police officers using bribes in a targeted manner as a substitute for official fines to punish law-breakers. In the second study, we test the effectiveness of two reward mechanisms aimed at reducing police corruption, both of which are based on society-wide police performance measures and not on the observation/monitoring of individual officers. We find that both mechanisms make bribery more targeted toward law-breakers, and one of them leads to a moderate reduction in crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Abbink & Dmitry Ryvkin & Danila Serra, 2018. "Corrupt police," Working Papers wp2018_09_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University, revised Sep 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:fsu:wpaper:wp2018_09_01
    as

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    File URL: https://coss.fsu.edu/econpapers/wpaper/wp2018_09_01.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2018-09
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1995. "Corruptible Law Enforcers: How Should They Be Compensated?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 145-159, January.
    2. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 2001. "Corruption and optimal law enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-24, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Markussen, Thomas & Putterman, Louis & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Judicial error and cooperation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 372-388.
    5. Barr, Abigail & Serra, Danila, 2010. "Corruption and culture: An experimental analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 862-869, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Benjamin A. Olken & Patrick Barron, 2009. "The Simple Economics of Extortion: Evidence from Trucking in Aceh," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 417-452, June.
    8. World Bank, 2012. "Fighting Corruption in Public Services : Chronicling Georgia's Reforms," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2234, September.
    9. Muthukrishna, Michael & Francois, Patrick & Pourahmadi, Shayan & Henrich, Joseph, 2017. "Corrupting cooperation and how anti-corruption strategies may backfire," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83544, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    11. Sheheryar Banuri & Catherine Eckel, 2015. "Cracking down on bribery," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(3), pages 579-600, October.
    12. Andreoni, James & Gee, Laura K., 2012. "Gun for hire: Delegated enforcement and peer punishment in public goods provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1036-1046.
    13. repec:eee:eecrev:v:94:y:2017:i:c:p:1-22 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    15. Olivier Armantier & Amadou Boly, 2013. "Comparing Corruption in the Laboratory and in the Field in Burkina Faso and in Canada," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1168-1187, December.
    16. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:64-78 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    corruption; crime; police; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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