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The organization of anticorruption: Getting incentives right!


  • Graf Lambsdorff, Johann


Governments and private firms try to contain corruption among their staff mostly in a top-down, rules-based approach. They limit discretion, increase monitoring or impose harsher penalties. Principles-based, bottom-up approaches to anticorruption, instead, emphasize the importance of value systems and employee's intrinsic motivation. This embraces the invigorating of social control systems, encouraging whistle-blowing, coding of good practice and alerting to red flags. This paper investigates how some top-down measures run counter to bottom-up contributions. Examples range from penalties imposed with zero-tolerance, debarment or the nullity of contracts. While top-down elements are indispensable for containing corruption they must be designed well in order to avoid discouraging the bottom-up endeavors.

Suggested Citation

  • Graf Lambsdorff, Johann, 2008. "The organization of anticorruption: Getting incentives right!," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-57-08, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:upadvr:v5708

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Arlen, Jennifer, 1994. "The Potentially Perverse Effects of Corporate Criminal Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 832-867, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucke Eva Maria & Lütge Christoph, 2011. "Moralisches Verhalten in einem korrupten Markt: Anreize und Erfolgsfaktoren anhand einer Fallstudie aus Argentinien / Moral behaviour in a corrupted market: Incentives and success factors – a case stu," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 62(1), pages 297-320, January.

    More about this item


    Corruption; whistle-blowing; contract penalties; debarment; nullity;

    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


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