Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Punishment Regimes for Bribery
37 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2012 Last revised: 10 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 2013
In major legal orders such as the UK, the U.S., Germany, and France, bribers and recipients face equally severe criminal sanctions. In contrast, countries like China, Russia, and Japan treat the briber more mildly. In this paper, we investigate which strategy is more effective in curbing corruption: symmetric or asymmetric punishment? To answer this, we manipulate the symmetry of punishment in a lab experiment. To control for unobserved cultural factors, we run the identical experiment in Bonn (Germany) and Shanghai (China). Our results suggest that, independent of culture and legal origin, asymmetric punishment gives bribers a behaviorally credible technology for enforcing corrupt deals.
Keywords: Bribery, Punishment, Effectiveness, Asymmetry, Legislation
JEL Classification: C91, D02, D03, D73, K14, K42
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