IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ver/wpaper/18-2019.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The power of words in a petty corruption experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Vittoria Levati

    () (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

  • Chiara Nardi

    () (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

Abstract

Following a recent recommendation by Transparency International, we set up a controlled laboratory experiment to gauge the impact of a specific type of grassroots participation on petty corruption. Participants play a simple one-shot, three-person bribery game which, depending on the treatment, either gives or does not give passive third parties who suffer from corruption the opportunity to send a publicly visible message to the potential bribers and bribees. We find that bribes are less likely to be offered in the presence of messaging opportunities. This may be attributed to an increase in the bribe-givers' non-monetary costs of acting corruptly. However, messaging opportunities have no effect on bribe acceptances. We provide a theoretical justification for this null effect, based on the bribe-takers' beliefs that the passive parties inherently value the chance to have a voice.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Vittoria Levati & Chiara Nardi, 2019. "The power of words in a petty corruption experiment," Working Papers 18/2019, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:18/2019
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dse.univr.it/home/workingpapers/wp2019n18.pdf
    File Function: First version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Haller, Sven & Krüger, Tyll & Neumann, Thomas & Schosser, Stephan & Vogt, Bodo, 2013. "Risk attitude, beliefs, and information in a Corruption Game – An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 46-60.
    3. repec:oup:alecon:v:18:y:2016:i:2:p:506-556. is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    5. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
    6. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Tjøtta, Sigve & Torsvik, Gaute, 2010. "Testing guilt aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-107, January.
    7. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "The Effect of Communication Media on Cooperation," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 217-241, May.
    8. Banerjee, Ritwik & Mitra, Arnab, 2018. "On monetary and non-monetary interventions to combat corruption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 332-355.
    9. Alekseev, Aleksandr & Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2017. "Experimental methods: When and why contextual instructions are important," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 48-59.
    10. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    11. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 428-454, October.
    12. Charles M. North & Wafa Hakim Orman & Carl R. Gwin, 2013. "Religion, Corruption, and the Rule of Law," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(5), pages 757-779, August.
    13. Barr, Abigail & Serra, Danila, 2010. "Corruption and culture: An experimental analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 862-869, December.
    14. Ben-Ner, Avner & Kramer, Amit & Levy, Ori, 2008. "Economic and hypothetical dictator game experiments: Incentive effects at the individual level," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1775-1784, October.
    15. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2009. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(4), pages 488-503, December.
    16. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    17. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
    18. Cameron, Lisa & Chaudhuri, Ananish & Erkal, Nisvan & Gangadharan, Lata, 2009. "Propensities to engage in and punish corrupt behavior: Experimental evidence from Australia, India, Indonesia and Singapore," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 843-851, August.
    19. Abbink, Klaus & Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Jain, Tarun, 2014. "Letting the briber go free: An experiment on mitigating harassment bribes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 17-28.
    20. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Khalid Sekkat, 2005. "Does corruption grease or sand the wheels of growth?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 69-97, January.
    21. Danila Serra, 2012. "Combining Top-Down and Bottom-Up Accountability: Evidence from a Bribery Experiment," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 569-587, August.
    22. Eric Avis & Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2018. "Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(5), pages 1912-1964.
    23. Vivi Alatas & Lisa Cameron & Ananish Chaudhuri & Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan, 2009. "Gender, Culture, and Corruption: Insights from an Experimental Analysis," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 663-680, January.
    24. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    25. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2009. "Avoiding the sharp tongue: Anticipated written messages promote fair economic exchange," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 393-404, June.
    26. Qiyan Ong & Yohanes Riyanto & Steven Sheffrin, 2012. "How does voice matter? Evidence from the ultimatum game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(4), pages 604-621, December.
    27. Mikhail Drugov & John Hamman & Danila Serra, 2014. "Intermediaries in corruption: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 78-99, March.
    28. Nicholas Bardsley, 2005. "Experimental economics and the artificiality of alteration," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 239-251.
    29. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2010. "Bare promises: An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 281-283, May.
    30. Ritwik Banerjee, 2016. "On the interpretation of bribery in a laboratory corruption game: moral frames and social norms," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 240-267, March.
    31. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1607-1636, September.
    32. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    33. Sanjeev Gupta & Hamid Davoodi & Rosa Alonso-Terme, 2002. "Does corruption affect income inequality and poverty?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 23-45, March.
    34. Zamboni, Yves & Litschig, Stephan, 2018. "Audit risk and rent extraction: Evidence from a randomized evaluation in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 133-149.
    35. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    36. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    37. Ritwik Banerjee, 2016. "On the interpretation of bribery in a laboratory corruption game: moral frames and social norms," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 240-267, March.
    38. repec:mcb:jmoncb:v:45:y:2013:i::p:757-779 is not listed on IDEAS
    39. Ryvkin, Dmitry & Serra, Danila & Tremewan, James, 2017. "I paid a bribe: An experiment on information sharing and extortionary corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-22.
    40. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence from a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 679-705.
    41. Charles M. North & Wafa Hakim Orman & Carl R. Gwin, 2013. "Religion, Corruption, and the Rule of Law," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(5), pages 757-779, August.
    42. Christoph Engel & Sebastian J. Goerg & Gaoneng Yu, 2016. "Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Punishment Regimes for Collusive Bribery," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 506-556.
    43. Olivier Armantier & Amadou Boly, 2013. "Comparing Corruption in the Laboratory and in the Field in Burkina Faso and in Canada," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1168-1187, December.
    44. Salmon, Timothy C. & Serra, Danila, 2017. "Corruption, social judgment and culture: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 64-78.
    45. Koukoumelis, Anastasios & Levati, M. Vittoria, 2019. "An experiment investigating the spillover effects of communication opportunities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 147-157.
    46. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Petty corruption; Bribery game; Communication; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:18/2019. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael Reiter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/isverit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.