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Research Seminar in Economics: Marcus Giamattei (Universität Paasau und Bard College Berlin)

28.04.2022 | 12:15 - 13:30

International bribery: Results from an on-line, cross-country, behavioural experiment

We report the findings from an on-line, cross-country, behavioural experiment involving an incentivised bribery game. Referencing actual flows of foreign direct investment, we selected the potential bribers in our experiment from subject pools in China, Germany, the UK and the USA, and the potential bribe-takers from subject pools in China, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Referencing actual international anti-bribery laws, we applied a treatment involving monitors with the power to report bribers who might then be fined. The monitors were located in the same countries as the potential bribers but could monitor and report across countries. As well as behaviours in the bribery game, we elicited measures of the social appropriateness of bribe offering, taking and reporting, and the beliefs of subjects about how others would behave. To date, 2,259 student subjects, 1/3 with experience in public service, have participated in the experiment. Included in our extensive range of findings are the following. The presence of a monitor deters bribery, but only if potential bribers believe that the monitor will report. Beliefs about the likelihood of monitors reporting do not match the reality. And shared national identity reduces the likelihood of a monitor reporting a briber. In addition, we find cross-country differences in behaviours, the social appropriateness of those behaviours and beliefs about others’ behaviours.

Marcus Giamattei is a Professor of Macroeconomics at the Bard College in Berlin and an Assistant Professor at the Chair for Economic Theory at the University of Passau.