Contagious Corruption: Cross-Country Comparisons

42 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2019

See all articles by Arthur J. H. C. Schram

Arthur J. H. C. Schram

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB); Tinbergen Institute

Jin Di Zheng

University of Amsterdam - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making (CREED)

Tatyana Zhuravleva

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: November 15, 2019

Abstract

We investigate how prescriptive and descriptive norms affect the development of corruption over time. In particular, we are interested in whether the extent of corruption converges. If it does, we study how the level at which it converges depends on the prescriptive norms in the environment in which it takes place and on the information individuals have about others’ corrupt choices, that is, on descriptive norms. In a laboratory experiment implemented in Italy, China and the Netherlands, a Gneezy-type corruption task is used, with a real-effort task. We use a Krupka-Weber elicitation method to obtain information about existing prescriptive norms with respect to corrupt behavior. To induce natural variation in descriptive norms, we vary the type of information about others’ choices. Our results show that corruption is highly contagious everywhere, that is, descriptive norms affect choices. Nevertheless, differences in the effects of descriptive norms are evident across countries. Prescriptive norms concerning bribers’ and judges’ behaviors are observed to differ across the considered subject pools. While in China and the Netherlands it is highly socially inappropriate to bribe and, if you are a decision maker, to treat unfavorably people with high efforts and low bribes, in Italy the norms are the opposite.

Keywords: bribery, corruption

JEL Classification: C91, D73

Suggested Citation

Schram, Arthur J. H. C. and Zheng, Jin Di and Zhuravleva, Tatyana, Contagious Corruption: Cross-Country Comparisons (November 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3487972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3487972

Arthur J. H. C. Schram

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
CREED
Amsterdam 1018 WB
Netherlands
+31 (0)20 525 4293 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fee.uva.nl/creed/PEOPLE/Arthurs.htm

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Jin Di Zheng

University of Amsterdam - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making (CREED) ( email )

Faculty of Economics and Econometrics
Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Tatyana Zhuravleva (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Soyza Pechatnikov str., 15
St. Petersburg, 190068
Russia

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