Bribery as Negotiation: A Decision Making Perspective

44 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010 Last revised: 14 Apr 2013

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 5, 2011


The majority of research in conflict management focuses on conflict resolution: the process of reaching a mutually beneficial solution for the negotiating parties. However, some negotiations impart substantial negative externalities onto third parties, so resolving the conflict may not be a socially optimal solution. Bribery is one such example: potential bribe-givers and bribe-takers often negotiate on the price, speed and quality of services. The outcome of a “successful” negotiation may be a structurally unsound building, or a driver’s license holder who cannot drive. The current paper examines bribery from a behavioral decision making perspective, zooming in on the economic and moral motivations of the negotiating parties and argues that the assignment of moral responsibility for bribery exchanges may play a significant role in the process. The lessons and policy suggestions stemming from this framework are compared and contrasted to the currently dominant approaches for controlling corruption: economic incentives and publicity campaigns condemning bribery.

Keywords: Corruption, Bribery, Bargaining, Negotiation, Ethics, Decision Making

Suggested Citation

Atanasov, Pavel D., Bribery as Negotiation: A Decision Making Perspective (June 5, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Pavel D. Atanasov (Contact Author)

Pytho LLC ( email )

866 President Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States
7173335045 (Phone)
11215 (Fax)

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