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Review of Law & Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Parisi, Francesco

Ed. by Cooter, Robert D. / Gómez Pomar, Fernando / Kornhauser, Lewis A. / Parchomovsky, Gideon / Engel, Christoph

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Volume 10, Issue 3 (Nov 2014)


Volume 13 (2017)

A Disruption Mechanism for Bribes

Robert D. Cooter
  • University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  • Email:
/ Nuno Garoupa
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA
  • Email:
Published Online: 2014-09-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rle-2013-0027


Crimes such as bribery require the cooperation of two or more criminals for mutual gain. Instead of deterring these crimes, the state should disrupt them by creating distrust among criminals so they cannot cooperate. In a cooperative crime with two criminals, the state should offer amnesty and a bounty to the criminal who first secures punishment of the other criminal. When the bounty exceeds the bribe, a bribed official gains less from keeping the bribe than from confessing and receiving the bounty. Consequently the person who pays the bribe cannot trust the person who takes it. The game’s unique equilibrium is non-cooperative and bribes disappear. We explore legal implications and practical challenges to this disruption mechanism.

Keywords: bribes; corruption; crime


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-09-20

Published in Print: 2014-11-01

Citation Information: Review of Law & Economics, ISSN (Online) 1555-5879, ISSN (Print) 2194-6000, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/rle-2013-0027. Export Citation

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