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Legalizing Bribes

Harassment bribes - payments people give in order not to be denied what they are legally entitled to – are common in for example India. Kaushik Basu recently made a '’radical'’ proposal to reduce its occurrence: Legalize the act of giving the bribe and double the fine for accepting the bribe! We develop a formal model and delineate circumstances under which Basu’s proposal works well or poorly. We discuss a modified scheme where immunity is conditional on reporting that we argue addresses the main issues raised against the proposal. We highlight complementarities between these schemes and other policies aimed a improving the accountability and performance of the public sector, and of law enforcement agencies in particular. We conclude discussing the implications for the fight of more harmful forms of corruption.

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Paper provided by Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics in its series SITE Working Paper Series with number 13.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 19 Dec 2011
Date of revision: 06 Apr 2012
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hasite:0013
Contact details of provider: Postal: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: (+46 8) 736 9670
Fax: (+46 8) 31 64 22
Web page: http://www.hhs.se/site/
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  1. Acconcia, Antonio & Immordino, Giovanni & Piccolo, Salvatore & Rey, Patrick, 2013. "Accomplice-Witness and Organized Crime: Theory and Evidence from Italy," TSE Working Papers 13-403, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  2. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  3. Klaus Abbink & Utteeyo Dasgupta & Lata Gangadharan & Tarun Jain, 2013. "Letting the Briber Go Free: An Experiment on Mitigating Harassment Bribes," Monash Economics Working Papers 62-13, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  4. Nathan H. Miller, 2009. "Strategic Leniency and Cartel Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 750-68, June.
  5. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796, March.
  6. Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2011. "Corruption in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 17398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Buccirossi, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2005. "Leniency Policies and Illegal Transactions," CEPR Discussion Papers 5442, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Antonio Acconcia & Giovanni Immordino & Salvatore Piccolo & Patrick Rey, 2009. "Accomplice-Witnesses, Organized Crime and Corruption: Theory and Evidence from Italy," CSEF Working Papers 232, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 17 Oct 2009.
  9. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332, November.
  10. Hunt, Jennifer, 2006. "How Corruption Hits People When They Are Down," IZA Discussion Papers 2278, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloé & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2012. "Trust and Deterrence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. José Apesteguía & Martin Dufwenberg & Reinhard Selten, 2003. "Blowing the Whistle," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0303, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra, revised 2003.
  14. Martina Björkman & Jakob Svensson, 2009. "Power to the People: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment on Community-Based Monitoring in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 735-769, May.
  15. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1995. "Corruptible Law Enforcers: How Should They Be Compensated?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 145-59, January.
  16. 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, 06.
  17. Mandar Oak, 2013. "Legalization of Bribe Giving when Bribe Type is Endogenous," School of Economics Working Papers 2013-06, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  18. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Leniency and Whistleblowers in Antitrust," CEPR Discussion Papers 5794, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Basu, Kaushik & Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Mishra, Ajit, 1992. "Notes on bribery and the control of corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 349-359, August.
  20. 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.
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