The Influence of Wages on Public Officials' Corruptibility: A Laboratory Investigation

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 12-038/1

29 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2012

Date Written: April 13, 2012

Abstract

Previous studies have proposed a link between corruption and wages in the public sector. This 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, experienced 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.

Keywords: bribery, corruption, experimental economics, laboratory experiment

JEL Classification: D73, C91, K42

Suggested Citation

van Veldhuizen, Roel, The Influence of Wages on Public Officials' Corruptibility: A Laboratory Investigation (April 13, 2012). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 12-038/1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2039238

Roel Van Veldhuizen (Contact Author)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

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