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Corrupt reciprocity: An experiment

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  • Graf Lambsdorff, Johann
  • Frank, Björn

Abstract

We let students play a corruption game, embedded into a variant of the ultimatum game. Those allotted the role of public servants chose between whistleblowing, opportunism and reciprocity by delivery (of a contract) and those acting as businesspeople chose how to frame the game and whether to blow the whistle. While opportunism and abstaining from whistleblowing is the Nash equilibrium, another likely outcome was that businesspeople allocate resources to punishing public servants for non-delivery, exhibiting a preference for negative reciprocity. Anticipating this, public servants might tend to reciprocate or blow the whistle upfront. Female public servants were more inclined to behave opportunistically; female businesspeople were less engaged in negative reciprocity. This corroborates a favorable role of women in anticorruption. Businesspeople who strongly preferred a corrupt framing of the game and obtained a form with corrupt wording were more willing to punish non-delivering public servants. This operates against camouflaging a bribe as a gift, because gifts fail to signal negative reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

  • Graf Lambsdorff, Johann & Frank, Björn, 2007. "Corrupt reciprocity: An experiment," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-51-07, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:upadvr:v5107
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicolas Jacquemet, 2005. "Corruption as Betrayal : Experimental Evidence on Corruption Under Delegation," Post-Print halshs-00180044, HAL.
    2. 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.
    3. M. Fernanda Rivas, 2013. "An Experiment On Corruption And Gender," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 10-42, January.
    4. Günther G. Schulze & Björn Frank, 2003. "Deterrence versus intrinsic motivation: Experimental evidence on the determinants of corruptibility," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 143-160, August.
    5. L. Cameron & A. Chaudhuri & N. Erkal & L. Gangadharan, 2005. "Do Attitudes Towards Corruption Differ Across Cultures? Experimental Evidence from Australia, India, Indonesia andSingapore," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 943, The University of Melbourne.
    6. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    7. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "Neutral versus loaded instructions in a bribery experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 103-121, June.
    8. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
    9. Klaus Abbink, 2006. "Laboratory Experiments on Corruption," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf, 2002. "Making corrupt deals: contracting in the shadow of the law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 221-241, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel & Sebastian Goerg & Gaoneng Yu, 2012. "Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Punishment Regimes for Bribery," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_01, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised May 2013.
    2. Armantier, Olivier & Boly, Amadou, 2011. "A controlled field experiment on corruption," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1072-1082.
    3. Lambsdorff, Johann Graf & Frank, Björn, 2010. "Bribing versus gift-giving - An experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 347-357, June.
    4. Nell, Mathias, 2007. "Strategic aspects of voluntary disclosure programs for corruption offences: Towards a design of good practice," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-52-07, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; ultimatum game; whistleblowing; gender; signaling; trust;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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