IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trust and Bribery: The Role of the Quid Pro Quo and the Link with Crime


  • Jennifer Hunt


I study data on bribes actually paid by individuals to public officials, viewing the results through a theoretical lens that considers the implications of trust networks. A bond of trust may permit an implicit quid pro quo to substitute for a bribe, which reduces corruption. Appropriate networks are more easily established in small towns, by long-term residents of areas with many other long-term residents, and by individuals in regions with many residents their own age. I confirm that the prevalence of bribery is lower under these circumstances, using the International Crime Victim Surveys. I also find that older people, who have had time to develop a network, bribe less. These results highlight the uphill nature of the battle against corruption faced by policy-makers in rapidly urbanizing countries with high fertility. I show that victims of (other) crimes bribe all types of public officials more than non-victims, and argue that both their victimization and bribery stem from a distrustful environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Trust and Bribery: The Role of the Quid Pro Quo and the Link with Crime," NBER Working Papers 10510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10510
    Note: LS PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Falk Armin & Kosfeld Michael, 2012. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-36, September.
    2. Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
    3. Naci Mocan, 2008. "What Determines Corruption? International Evidence From Microdata," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 493-510, October.
    4. Swamy, Anand & Knack, Stephen & Lee, Young & Azfar, Omar, 2001. "Gender and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 25-55, February.
    5. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Osberg, Lars, 2003. "Nobody to play with? The implications of leisure coordination," ISER Working Paper Series 2003-19, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Sanjeev Gupta, 1998. "Does Corruption Affect Income Inequality and Poverty?," IMF Working Papers 98/76, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    8. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    9. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
    10. Lui, Francis T, 1985. "An Equilibrium Queuing Model of Bribery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 760-781, August.
    11. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
    12. 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)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hunt, Jennifer, 2007. "How corruption hits people when they are down," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 574-589, November.
    2. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, "undated". "A Quantitative Exploration of the Golden Age of European Growth: Structural Change, Public Investment, the Marshall Plan and Intra-European Trade," Working Papers UWEC-2004-15, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    3. Hunt, Jennifer & Laszlo, Sonia, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What are the Payoffs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5251, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Frank A.G. den Butter, 2012. "Managing Transaction Costs in the Era of Globalization," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14748.
    5. Ricardo Montero & Gustavo Yamada, 2011. "Raza, corrupción y acceso a servicios públicos en el Perú : ¿exclusión o discriminación?," Working Papers 11-03, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.
    6. Dzhumashev Ratbek, 2016. "The Role of Income Uncertainty in the Corruption–Growth Nexus," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1169-1201, April.
    7. Ricardo Montero & Gustavo Yamada, . "Exclusión y discriminación étnica en los servicios públicos en el Perú," Chapters of Books,in: Francisco Galarza (ed.), Discriminación en el Perú: Exploraciones en el Estado, la empresa y el mercado laboral., edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 219-278 Fondo Editorial, Universidad del Pacífico.
    8. Gil S. Epstein & Ira N. Gang, 2010. "Why Pay Taxes When No One Else Does?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 374-385, May.
    9. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Why Are Some Public Officials More Corrupt Than Others?," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Hunt, Jennifer & Laszlo, Sonia, 2012. "Is Bribery Really Regressive? Bribery’s Costs, Benefits, and Mechanisms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 355-372.
    11. Chongwoo Choe & Ratbek Dzhumashev & Asadul Islam & Zakir H. Khan, 2011. "Corruption and Network in Education: Evidence from the Household Survey Data in Bangladesh," Monash Economics Working Papers 08-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    12. Şeker, Murat & Yang, Judy S., 2014. "Bribery solicitations and firm performance in the Latin America and Caribbean region," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 246-264.
    13. Michael, Bryane & Popov, Maja, 2012. "Do Customs Trade Facilitation Programmes Help Reduce Customs-Related Corruption?," EconStor Preprints 109021, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    14. Chavis, Larry, 2013. "Social networks and bribery: The case of entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 279-293.
    15. us Swaleheen, Mushfiq, 2008. "Corruption and saving in a panel of countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1285-1301, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:nbr:nberwo:10510. 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: .

    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 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.

    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.