Liangcong Fan, Zechun Ying, Yuemei Yuan, Xinchao Zhang, Bin Xu
September 18, 2019
Article number: 20190059
Corrupt deals are commonly arranged by intermediaries. However, attempts to deter corruption pay little attention to the role of intermediaries in corrupt deals. This paper reports a laboratory bribery experiment on corruption designed to investigate how intermediaries with information about the lowest bribe that the official is willing to accept in a briber-initiated corrupt deal affect the effectiveness of the four-eyes-principle (FEP) on deterring corruption. We find that the introduction of the FEP significantly decreases the corruption level by increasing uncertainty. However, the presence of intermediaries with information completely offsets the positive effect of introducing the FEP on preventing corruption. Our findings suggest that further research on corruption should allow a more active role of intermediaries, and legislators should take the role of intermediaries into account when designing anti-corruption mechanisms.