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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg March 16, 2016

Mitigating Extortive Corruption? Experimental Evidence

Elina Khachatryan, Sebastian Kube and Björn Vollan


Extortive petty corruption takes place when a public official elicits small bribes from citizens for providing public services that the citizens are legally entitled to receive. We implement a novel experimental design that mimics this phenomenon and explores bottom-up approaches for its mitigation. In different setups we examine how monitoring by citizens affects public official’s tendency to demand bribes and whether citizens are more willing to engage in monitoring if they can recommend rather than report. Our results are mixed. Recommendations seem to perform better in environments with personal and repeated interactions, where reports might cause discontent and further disadvantaged treatment by public officials. In contrast, reports and the sanctions these potentially cause are more likely to deter public officials from extortive behavior in settings similar to the stranger matching protocol. Regarding citizen’s monitoring involvement, we find a strong preference for recommendations over reports, even among stranger matching treatments. Moreover, independent of the matching protocol and the endogenous monitoring mechanism, we find that agents in both roles are sensitive to monitoring and detection rate variations: public officials in their decision to demand a bribe and citizens in their decision to monitor.

Code and Datasets

The author(s) published code and data associated with this article in the ZBW Journal Data Archive, a storage platform for datasets. See:

Online erschienen: 2016-3-16
Erschienen im Druck: 2015-4-1

© 2015 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart

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