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Deterrence, peer effect, and legitimacy in anti-corruption policy-making: An experimental analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Amadou Boly
  • Robert Gillanders
  • Topi Miettinen

In our framed laboratory experiment, two Public Officials, A and B, make consecutive decisions regarding embezzlement from separate funds. Official B observes Official A’s decision before making their own. There are four treatments: three with deterrence and one without. We find a peer effect in embezzlement in that facing an honest Official A reduces embezzlement by Official B. Likewise, deterrence matters in that higher detection probabilities significantly decrease embezzlement. Crucially, detection is more effective in curbing embezzlement when chosen by an honest Official A compared to a corrupt Official A at almost all individual detection levels. This ‘legitimacy’ effect may help explain why anti-corruption policies can fail in countries where the government itself is believed to be corrupt.

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File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2016-137.pdf
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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series WIDER Working Paper Series with number 137.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2016-137
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