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Conditional Corruption

Author

Listed:
  • Bin Dong
  • Uwe Dulleck
  • Benno Torgler

Abstract

We argue that the decision to bribe bureaucrats depends on the frequency of corruption within a society. We provide a behavioral model to explain this conduct: engaging in corruption results in a disutility of guilt. This implies that people observe a lower probability to be involved in corruption if on average the guilt level of others within a country is higher. We also explore whether - and to what extent - group dynamics or socialization and past experiences affect corruption. In other words, we explore theoretically and empirically whether corruption is contagious and whether conditional cooperation matters. We use the notion of �conditional corruption� for these effects. The empirical section presents evidence using two data sets at the micro level and a large macro level international panel data set covering almost 20 years. The results indicate that the willingness to engage in corruption is influenced by the perceived activities of peers and other individuals. Moreover, the panel data set at the macro level indicates that the past level of corruption has a strong impact on the current corruption level.

Suggested Citation

  • Bin Dong & Uwe Dulleck & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Conditional Corruption," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 241, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:241
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    Keywords

    corruption; contagion effect; conditional cooperation; interdependent preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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