Can Moral Reminders Curb Corruption? Evidence from an Online Classroom Experiment

36 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2022

See all articles by Corinna Claus

Corinna Claus

University of Freiburg

Ekkehard A. Koehler

University of Siegen - Department of Economics; Walter Eucken Institute; University of Freiburg - College of Economics and Behavioral Sciences

Tim Krieger

University of Freiburg - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

Using an incentivized online classroom experiment, we assess the effectiveness of deontological vs. consequentialist moral reminders. Participants were told that they are the responsible public servant for acquiring a Covid-19 vaccine, providing them with the opportunity to generate some extra private income by accepting a bribe. Our findings indicate that a deontological moral reminder (“corruption is immoral”) leads to a significant reduction in accepting bribes. A consequentialist moral reminder, pointing out that bribes are costly to taxpayers, shows no significant effect. Furthermore, we do not find any empirical support that male participants are more corrupt in comparison to female participants. Students majoring in economics or business/management show more corrupt behavior than students studying to become economics school teachers, but the difference is not statistically significant. A person’s disposition towards risk appears to have a strong dissuading effects. Our experiment was conducted before and after the unexpected announcement by pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer on November 9th, 2020, that they will be able to provide an effective Covid-19 vaccine. This announcement does not correlate with a changed level of bribe-taking.

Keywords: moral reminder, ethics, corruption, dishonesty, economics students, experiment, Covid-19

JEL Classification: A200, C910, D730, H120, I200

Suggested Citation

Claus, Corinna and Koehler, Ekkehard A. and Krieger, Tim, Can Moral Reminders Curb Corruption? Evidence from an Online Classroom Experiment (2022). CESifo Working Paper No. 9670, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4077482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4077482

Corinna Claus (Contact Author)

University of Freiburg ( email )

Fahnenbergplatz
Freiburg, D-79085
Germany

Ekkehard A. Koehler

University of Siegen - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Hoelderlinstr. 3
Siegen, 57068
Germany

Walter Eucken Institute ( email )

Goethestrasse 10
Freiburg, 79100
Germany

University of Freiburg - College of Economics and Behavioral Sciences ( email )

Freiburg, D-79085
Germany

Tim Krieger

University of Freiburg - Department of Economics ( email )

University of Freiburg
Wilhelmstr. 1b
Freiburg, D-79085
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wguth.uni-freiburg.de

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
10
Abstract Views
65
PlumX Metrics