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Group Corruption via Sequential Bargaining in a Hierarchical Organization


  • Fan-chin Kung
  • Ping Wang
  • Quan Wen


We develop a framework of group corruption via back-door negotiations between an outside initiator and an authority of decision-makers in a hierarchical organization. We examine the role played by the architecture of a multi-tier authority and determine under such a structure how bargaining proceeds, in what order, and when it breaks down. We verify that equilibrium bargaining sequence proceeds as a chain through decision-making agents, regardless of the hierarchy of the organization. We prove the existence of a compromised equilibrium, where the decision of the authority is compromised, and establish sufficient conditions under which the most natural bottom-up bargaining configuration arises in equilibrium where a proposer negotiates with an immediately higher ranked respondent, starting with the initiator bargaining with the lowest ranked decision-maker in the organization. We then show the circumstances under which a top-down or a non-monotonic equilibrium configuration may emerge, and those under which the deal may break down. This enables us to capture a rich array of group corruptive configurations as observed. We conclude by investigating the extension to multi-tier authorities with multiple agents of the same rank in each tier, such as in a tree hierarchy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fan-chin Kung & Ping Wang & Quan Wen, 2022. "Group Corruption via Sequential Bargaining in a Hierarchical Organization," NBER Working Papers 29759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:29759
    Note: IO LE PE

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    Cited by:

    1. Mehmet Bac, 2024. "Ex ante transparency and corruption by networks," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 91(363), pages 1023-1046, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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