Does Economics Make Citizens Corrupt?

Posted: 22 Sep 2001

See all articles by Björn Frank

Björn Frank


Gunther G. Schulze

University of Freiburg - Department of Economics


In this paper, we report on an experiment on corruption which investigates various determinants of corruptibility. We found that economics students are significantly more corrupt than others, which is due to self-selection rather than indoctrination. Moreover, our results vary with gender --- male students of economics are most corrupt, male non-economists the least. Also, agents are no less corrupt if rewarded in addition to, and independently of a possible bribe. Our experiment isolates the influence of self-interest on cooperation from other influences such as risk attitude and expectations regarding the behavior of others.

Keyword(s): Corruption; Experimental economics; Principal-agent; Economists versus non-economists

JEL Classification: C91, D82

Suggested Citation

Frank, Björn and Schulze, Gunther G., Does Economics Make Citizens Corrupt?. Available at SSRN:

Gunther G. Schulze

University of Freiburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Platz der Alten Synagoge
D-79085 Freiburg


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