On the Effects of Incentive Framing on Bribery: Evidence from an Experiment in Burkina Faso

Economics of Governance, 15(1), p. 1-15. DOI: 10.1007/s10101-013-0135-0

Posted: 17 Jul 2014

See all articles by Olivier Armantier

Olivier Armantier

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Amadou Boly

African Development Bank

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

While incentive framing has been shown to promote workers’ effort, little is known about how it affects other dimensions of the employer-employee relationship. This paper examines whether incentive framing can also influence workers propensity to engage in an activity disloyal to their employer: corruption. To do so, we conducted an experiment in which graders are offered a bribe to report a better grade. Three treatments are conducted by framing economically equivalent contracts as menus of bonuses, penalties, or bonuses and penalties. We find that graders are more corrupt when incentives are framed as a combination of bonuses and penalties, while no difference is found between the bonus and the penalty contracts. These results are inconsistent with both standard economic theory and labor reciprocity.

Keywords: Bribery, Incentive framing, Experimental economics

JEL Classification: C91, D73, M5

Suggested Citation

Armantier, Olivier and Boly, Amadou, On the Effects of Incentive Framing on Bribery: Evidence from an Experiment in Burkina Faso (2014). Economics of Governance, 15(1), p. 1-15. DOI: 10.1007/s10101-013-0135-0. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2466874

Olivier Armantier

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States

Amadou Boly (Contact Author)

African Development Bank ( email )

Rue Joseph Anoma
Abidjan, Ivory Coast 01 BP 1387
Ivory Coast (Cote D'ivoire)

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