The Power of Example: Corruption Spurs Corruption

34 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2018

See all articles by Nicolas Ajzenman

Nicolas Ajzenman

SciencesPo - Sciences Po - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 17, 2018


Does political corruption erode civic values and foster dishonest behaviour? This paper tests this hypothesis – using Mexico as an example – by combining data on local government corruption and cheating in school tests. Results show that, following revelations of corruption by local officials, cheating in cognitive tests by secondary school students increases significantly. The findings are validated by evidence from individual survey data which document that individuals interviewed right after corruption is revealed, report to be less honest, less trustworthy and more prone to think that cheating is necessary to succeed, than similar individuals interviewed just before.

Keywords: Corruption, Social Norms, Culture, Leadership, Civic Values

JEL Classification: D73, P16, Z1, A13, O12, H72, K42

Suggested Citation

Ajzenman, Nicolás, The Power of Example: Corruption Spurs Corruption (April 17, 2018). EBRD Working Paper No. 212. Available at SSRN: or

Nicolás Ajzenman (Contact Author)

SciencesPo - Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, Paris 75007

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