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Delegation and Rewards

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  • Vetter, Stefan

Abstract

We study experimentally whether anti-corruption policies with a focus on bribery might be insufficient to uncover more subtle ways of gaining an unfair advantage. In particular, we investigate whether an implicit agreement to exchange favors between a decision-maker and a lobbying party serves as a legal substitute for corruption. Due to the obvious lack of field data on these activities, the laboratory provides an excellent opportunity to study this question. We find that even the pure anticipation of future rewards from a lobbying party suffices to bias a decision-maker in favor of this party, even though it creates negative externalities to others. Although future rewards are not contractible, the benefitting party voluntarily compensates decision-makers for partisan choices. In this way, both receive higher payoffs, but aggregate welfare is lower than without a rewards channel. Thus, the outcome mirrors what might have been achieved via conventional bribing, while not being illegal.

Suggested Citation

  • Vetter, Stefan, 2012. "Delegation and Rewards," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 378, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:378
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    delegation; gift exchange; corruption; lobbying; negative externalities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • 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

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