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Legalizing Bribe Giving

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  • Martin Dufwenberg
  • Giancarlo Spagnolo

Abstract

A model of ’harassment bribes,’ paid for services one is entitled to, is developed to analyze the proposal to legalize paying these bribes while increasing fines on accepting them. We explore performance as regards corruption deterrence and public service provision. Costs of verifying reports make the scheme more effective against larger bribes and where institutions’ quality is higher. A modified scheme, where immunity is conditional on reporting, addresses some key objections. The mechanism works better against more distortionary forms of corruption than harassment bribes, provided monetary rewards can compensate bribers for losing the object of the corrupt exchange. Results highlight strong complementarities with policies aimed at improving independence and accountability of law enforcers. JEL Classification Numbers: D73, K42, O17 Keywords: Bribes, Corruption, Immunity, Law enforcement, Leniency, Whistleblowers

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Dufwenberg & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2014. "Legalizing Bribe Giving," Working Papers 515, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:515
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Hunt, Jennifer, 2007. "How corruption hits people when they are down," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 574-589, November.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 735-769.
    5. Bigoni, Maria & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Le Coq, Chloé & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2012. "Trust and Deterrence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Amrita Dillon & 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.
    7. Antonio Acconcia & Giovanni Immordino & Salvatore Piccolo & Patrick Rey, 2014. "Accomplice Witnesses and Organized Crime: Theory and Evidence from Italy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(4), pages 1116-1159, October.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Buccirossi, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Leniency policies and illegal transactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1281-1297, August.
    11. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Sergey V. Popov, 2016. "On Basu's Proposal: Fines Affect Bribes," Economics Working Papers 16-04, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.

    More about this item

    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
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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