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Fishy Gifts: Bribing with Shame and Guilt

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  • Ong, David

Abstract

The following is a model of psychological contracting with unmonitorable performance, implicit offers, and screening for non-performance by the announcement of the expectation of performance. It is motivated by the $250 billion prescription drug industry, which spends $19 billion per year on marketing to US doctors, mostly on `gifts', and often, as at Yale, with no monitoring for reciprocation. In one revealing incident, a drug firm representative closed her presentation to Yale medical residents by handing out $150 medical reference books and remarking, "one hand washes the other." By the next day, half the books were returned. I model this with a one shot psychological trust game with negative belief preferences and asymmetric information. I show that the `shame' of accepting a possible bribe can screen for reciprocation inducing `guilt'. An announcement can extend the effect. Current policies to deter reciprocation might aid such screening. I also discuss applications like vote buying when voting is unobservable and why taxis drivers in Naples announce inflated fares after their service is sunk.

Suggested Citation

  • Ong, David, 2008. "Fishy Gifts: Bribing with Shame and Guilt," MPRA Paper 17019, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Aug 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17019
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "The Canonical Type Space for Interdependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000434, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2009. "Dynamic psychological games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 1-35, January.
    3. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    4. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    5. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bribery; guilt; shame; gifts; drug firms; doctors; social norms; indirect speech; psychological trust game; contracting;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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