The Effect of Particularism on Corruption: Theory and Empirical Evidence
29 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 27, 2015
This paper investigates the role played by the cultural norms of particularism and universalism for collusive bribery. In our theoretical framework, the act of proposing or demanding a bribe violates a commonly held social norm, thus producing a psychological cost. By lowering this psychological cost, particularism increases the probability of offering or asking for a bribe. We test the predictions of the model by using individual-level data for 25 countries from the European Social Survey. Consistent with the theory, particularism is found to have a positive causal effect on the probability of offering a bribe, but no effect on the probability to be asked for a bribe. Overall, our findings indicate that policies aimed at favoring universalism may provide an effective tool in the fight against corruption.
Keywords: Corruption, Bribe, Particularism, Universalism.
JEL Classification: D73, O17, C71, K42, Z13.
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