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Experiments in culture and corruption : a review

  • Banuri, Sheheryar
  • Eckel, Catherine

Two decades of empirical evaluation have shown that corruption has a negative impact on economic growth, political stability, judicial effectiveness, democratization, educational attainment, and equality of income. However, corruption exists, persists, and varies significantly by culture. Lab studies have recently come to the forefront in identifying both the incentives and disincentives for corrupt behavior. However, lab studies on culture and corruption have led to some puzzling, contradictory results. This paper begins with a discussion of non-experimental work in this area, and evaluates the experimental findings in the context of earlier research. The authors sketch out the channels through which culture interacts with corruption (through institutions and social norms), and argue that discrepancies in experimental results may be due to differences in design (including repetition or unobserved variation in beliefs) or to differences in the response to punishment across societies. In addition to exploring design-based reasons for previous contradictory findings, avenues for future research include: behavioral responses to different types of externalities; replicating results in different countries; and utilizing the lab to formulate effective anti-corruption measures.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6064.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6064
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  1. Andvig, J.C. & Ove Moene, K., 1988. "How Corruption May Corrupt," Memorandum 20/1988, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2002. "Neutral versus Loaded Instructions in a Bribery Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse23_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Vivi Alatas & Lisa Cameron & Ananish Chaudhuri & Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan, 2006. "Subject Pool Effects in a Corruption Experiment: A Comparison of Indonesian Public Servants and Indonesian Students," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 975, The University of Melbourne.
  4. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1999. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Discussion Paper Serie B 459, University of Bonn, Germany.
  5. Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Culture and institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000466, David K. Levine.
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  8. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2008. "Corruption and culture: An Experimental Analysis," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-23, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  9. 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.
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  12. Brandts, Jordi & Solà, Carles, 2010. "Personal relations and their effect on behavior in an organizational setting: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 246-253, February.
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  15. Michèle Belot & Jeroen van de Ven, 2011. "Friendships and Favouritism on the Schoolground – A Framed Field Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1228-1251, December.
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  17. John List & Kenneth Leonard & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender differences in competition: Evidence from a matrilineal and a patriarchal society," Artefactual Field Experiments 00049, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Klaus Abbink, 2006. "Laboratory experiments on corruption," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-38, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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  20. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2009. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 488-503, December.
  21. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521659123 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Sha Li & Christoph Bueren & Bjoern Frank & Haiying Qin, 2015. "Group Decision Making in a Corruption Experiment: China and Germany Compared," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 235(2), pages 207-227, March.
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