IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/wpaper/halshs-01236660.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Tragedy of Corruption Corruption as a social dilemma

Author

Listed:
  • Ye-Feng Chen

    (Zhejiang University)

  • Shu-Guang Jiang

    (Shandong University)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)

Abstract

We investigate corruption as a social dilemma by means of a bribery game in which a risk of collective failure is introduced when the number of public officials accepting a bribe from firms reaches a certain threshold. We show that, despite the social risk, the pursuit of individual interest prevails and leads to the elimination of honest officials over time. Reducing the size of the groups while increasing the probability of collective failure diminishes the public officials' corruptibility but is not sufficient to eliminate the tragedy of corruption altogether.

Suggested Citation

  • Ye-Feng Chen & Shu-Guang Jiang & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "The Tragedy of Corruption Corruption as a social dilemma," Working Papers halshs-01236660, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01236660
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01236660v2
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01236660v2/document
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutions and Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 75-98, Winter.
    2. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Haller, Sven & Krüger, Tyll & Neumann, Thomas & Schosser, Stephan & Vogt, Bodo, 2013. "Risk attitude, beliefs, and information in a Corruption Game – An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 46-60.
    4. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
    5. Salvatore Di Falco & Brice Magdalou & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval & Marc Willinger, 2016. "Can transparency of information reduce embezzlement? Experimental Evidence from Tanzania," Working Papers 1618, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    6. Rauch, James E. & Evans, Peter B., 2000. "Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 49-71, January.
    7. R. Mark Isaac & James M. Walker, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-199.
    8. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
    9. Balafoutas, Loukas, 2011. "Public beliefs and corruption in a repeated psychological game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 51-59, April.
    10. 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.
    11. Dong, Bin & Dulleck, Uwe & Torgler, Benno, 2012. "Conditional corruption," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 609-627.
    12. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "Neutral versus loaded instructions in a bribery experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 103-121, June.
    13. repec:pdn:wpaper:70 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Daniele Nosenzo & Simone Quercia & Martin Sefton, 2015. "Cooperation in small groups: the effect of group size," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 4-14, March.
    15. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    16. Tavoni, Alessandro & Dannenberg, Astrid & Kallis, Giorgos & Löschel, Andreas, 2011. "Inequality, communication and the avoidance of disastrous climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 37570, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Armantier, Olivier & Boly, Amadou, 2011. "A controlled field experiment on corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1072-1082.
    18. Alesina, Alberto & Angeletos, George-Marios, 2005. "Corruption, inequality, and fairness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1227-1244, October.
    19. 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.
    20. Abbink, Klaus, 2004. "Staff rotation as an anti-corruption policy: an experimental study," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 887-906, November.
    21. 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.
    22. Barr, Abigail & Lindelow, Magnus & Serneels, Pieter, 2009. "Corruption in public service delivery: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 225-239, October.
    23. Omar Azfar & William Nelson, 2007. "Transparency, wages, and the separation of powers: An experimental analysis of corruption," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 471-493, March.
    24. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
    25. Toke S. Aidt, 2003. "Economic analysis of corruption: a survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages 632-652, November.
    26. Arvind K. Jain, 2001. "Corruption: A Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 71-121, February.
    27. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
    28. Sanjeev Gupta & Hamid Davoodi & Rosa Alonso-Terme, 2002. "Does corruption affect income inequality and poverty?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 23-45, March.
    29. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    30. Astrid Dannenberg & Andreas Löschel & Gabriele Paolacci & Christiane Reif & Alessandro Tavoni, 2015. "On the Provision of Public Goods with Probabilistic and Ambiguous Thresholds," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(3), pages 365-383, July.
    31. Danila Serra, 2006. "Empirical determinants of corruption: A sensitivity analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 225-256, January.
    32. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    33. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Chen, Yefeng & Jiang, Shuguang & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "The Tragedy of Corruption," IZA Discussion Papers 10175, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Gans-Morse, Jordan & Borges, Mariana & Makarin, Alexey & Mannah-Blankson, Theresa & Nickow, Andre & Zhang, Dong, 2018. "Reducing bureaucratic corruption: Interdisciplinary perspectives on what works," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 171-188.
    3. van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2013. "The influence of wages on public officials' corruptibility: A laboratory investigation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-210, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    4. Amadou Boly & Robert Gillanders & Topi Miettinen, 2016. "Deterrence, peer effect, and legitimacy in anti-corruption policy-making: An experimental analysis," WIDER Working Paper Series 137, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Eugen Dimant & Guglielmo Tosato, 2018. "Causes And Effects Of Corruption: What Has Past Decade'S Empirical Research Taught Us? A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 335-356, April.
    6. van Veldhuizen, R., 2013. "The influence of wages on public officials’ corruptibility: A laboratory investigation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 341-356.
    7. Armantier, Olivier & Boly, Amadou, 2011. "A controlled field experiment on corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1072-1082.
    8. Boly, Amadou & Gillanders, Robert, 2018. "Anti-corruption policy making, discretionary power and institutional quality: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 314-327.
    9. Amadou Boly & Robert Gillanders & Topi Miettinen, 2016. "Deterrence, peer effect, and legitimacy in anti-corruption policy-making: An experimental analysis," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-137, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Roel van Veldhuizen, 2012. "The Influence of Wages on Public Officials' Corruptibility: A Laboratory Investigation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-038/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Harri, Ardian & Zhllima, Edvin & Imami, Drini & Coatney, Kalyn T., 2020. "Effects of subject pool culture and institutional environment on corruption: Experimental evidence from Albania," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 44(2).
    12. Olivier Armantier & Amadou Boly, 2008. "Can Corruption Be Studied in the Lab? Comparing a Field and a Lab Experiment," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-26, CIRANO.
    13. Bobkova, Nina & Egbert, Henrik, 2012. "Corruption investigated in the lab: a survey of the experimental literature," MPRA Paper 38163, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. 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.
    15. Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Luis A. Mejia, 2016. "Does corruption affect cooperation? A laboratory experiment," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, December.
    16. Roberto Burguet & Juan-José Ganuza & José García-Montalvo, 2016. "The Microeconomics of Corruption. A Review of Thirty Years of Research," Working Papers 908, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    17. 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.
    18. Boly, Amadou & Gillanders, Robert, 2018. "Anti-corruption policy making, discretionary power and institutional quality: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 314-327.
    19. Massimo Finocchiaro Castro, 0. "To Bribe or Not to Bribe? An Experimental Analysis of Corruption," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 0, pages 1-22.
    20. Vetter, Stefan, 2013. "Delegating decision rights for anticipated rewards as an alternative to corruption: An experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; coordination; collective failure; social dilemma; bribing; Corruption;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

    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:hal:wpaper:halshs-01236660. 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://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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: CCSD (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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.