An Experimental Bribery Game

Klaus Abbink, Bernd Irlenbusch, Elke Renner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Essential characteristics of corruption are (1) reciprocity relationships between bribers and public officials, (2) negative welfare effects, and (3) high penalties when discovered. We separate the influences of these factors in an experiment. In a two-player game, reciprocation is economically inefficient through negative externalities. A control treatment without externalities is also conducted. In a third, so-called sudden death treatment, corrupt pairs face a low probability of exclusion from the experiment without payment. The results show that reciprocity can establish bribery relationships, where negative externalities have no apparent effect. The penalty threat significantly reduces corruption, although discovery probabilities are typically underestimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-454
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Law, Economics, and Organization
Volume18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

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