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The influence of wages on public officials' corruptibility: A laboratory investigation

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  • van Veldhuizen, Roel

Abstract

Previous studies have proposed a link between corruption and wages in the public sector. The present paper investigates this link using a laboratory experiment. In the experiment, public officials have the opportunity to accept a bribe and can then decide between a neutral and a corrupt action. The corrupt action benefits the briber but poses a large negative externality on a charity. The results show that increasing public officials' wages greatly reduces their corruptibility. In particular, low-wage public officials accept 91% of bribes on average, whereas high-wage public officials accept 38%. Moreover, high-wage public officials are less likely to choose the corrupt option. Additionally, the results suggest that a positive monitoring rate may be necessary for these effects to arise.

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  • van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2013. "The influence of wages on public officials' corruptibility: A laboratory investigation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-210, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmbh:spii2013210
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    2. Gans-Morse, Jordan & Borges, Mariana & Makarin, Alexey & Mannah-Blankson, Theresa & Nickow, Andre & Zhang, Dong, 2018. "Reducing bureaucratic corruption: Interdisciplinary perspectives on what works," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 171-188.
    3. Vranka, Marek Albert & Bahník, Štěpán, 2017. "Predictors of Bribe-Taking: The Role of Bribe Size and Personality," OSF Preprints mzhkq, Center for Open Science.
    4. Giulia Mugellini & Sara Della Bella & Marco Colagrossi & Giang Ly Isenring & Martin Killias, 2021. "Public sector reforms and their impact on the level of corruption: A systematic review," Campbell Systematic Reviews, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 17(2), June.
    5. Hans J. Czap & Natalia V. Czap, 2019. "‘I Gave You More’: Discretionary Power in a Corruption Experiment," Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, , vol. 32(2), pages 200-217, July.
    6. Sheheryar Banuri & Catherine Eckel, 2015. "Cracking down on bribery," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(3), pages 579-600, October.
    7. Justin Buffat & Julien Senn, 2017. "Corruption, norm enforcement and cooperation," ECON - Working Papers 260, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jul 2018.
    8. Dmitry Ryvkin & Danila Serra, 2016. "The Industrial Organization of Corruption: Monopoly, Competition and Collusion," Working Papers wp2016_10_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    9. Thebeth Rufaro Mukwembi & Simon Mukwembi, 2017. "Corruption and its detection: a graph-theoretic approach," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 293-300, June.
    10. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Grimm, Veronika & Karakostas, Alexandros, 2020. "Bribing to Queue-Jump: An experiment on cultural differences in bribing attitudes among Greeks and Germans," MPRA Paper 102775, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Adam Salisbury, 2018. "Cutting the Head off the Snake: An Empirical Investigation of Hierarchical Corruption in Burkina Faso," CSAE Working Paper Series 2018-11, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    12. Estache, Antonio & Foucart, Renaud, 2018. "The scope and limits of accounting and judicial courts intervention in inefficient public procurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 95-106.
    13. Thebeth Rufaro Mukwembi & Simon Mukwembi, 0. "Corruption and its detection: a graph-theoretic approach," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-8.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bribery; corruption; experimental economics; laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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