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The Tragedy of Corruption. Corruption as a social dilemma

Ye-Feng Chen, Shu-Guang Jiang () and Marie Claire Villeval ()
Additional contact information
Ye-Feng Chen: College of Economics, Zhejiang University, China
Shu-Guang Jiang: Centre for Economic Research, Shandong University, China

No 1531, Working Papers from Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon

Abstract: We investigate corruption as a social dilemma by means of a bribery game in which a risk of collective failure is introduced when the number of public officials accepting a bribe from firms reaches a certain threshold. We show that, despite the social risk, the pursuit of individual interest prevails and leads to the elimination of honest officials over time. Reducing the size of the groups while increasing the probability of collective failure diminishes the public officials’ corruptibility but is not sufficient to eliminate the tragedy of corruption altogether.

Keywords: Corruption; bribing; social dilemma; collective failure; coordination; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D73 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-cna, nep-exp, nep-law and nep-soc
Date: 2015
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