An Experimental Bribery Game

Posted: 5 Sep 2002

See all articles by Klaus Abbink

Klaus Abbink

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Bernd Irlenbusch

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Elke Renner

University of Nottingham

Abstract

Essential characteristics of corruption are (1) reciprocity relationships between bribers and public officials, (2) negative welfare effects, and (3) high penalties when discovered. We separate the influences of these factors in an experiment. In a two-player game, reciprocation is economically inefficient through negative externalities. A control treatment without externalities is also conducted. In a third, so-called sudden death treatment, corrupt pairs face a low probability of exclusion from the experiment without payment. The results show that reciprocity can establish bribery relationships, where negative externalities have no apparent effect. The penalty threat significantly reduces corruption, although discovery probabilities are typically underestimated.

Suggested Citation

Abbink, Klaus and Irlenbusch, Bernd and Renner, Elke, An Experimental Bribery Game. The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 428-454, 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=311399

Klaus Abbink (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

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Bernd Irlenbusch

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Management ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Elke Renner

University of Nottingham ( email )

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Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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