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Can moral reminders curb corruption? Evidence from an online classroom experiment

Corinna Claus, Ekkehard Köhler () and Tim Krieger

No 2022-01, Discussion Paper Series from University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy

Abstract: Using an incentivized online classroom experiment, we assess the effectiveness of deontological vs. consequentialist moral reminders. Participants were told that they are the responsible public servant for acquiring a Covid-19 vaccine, providing them with the opportunity to generate some extra private income by accepting a bribe. Our findings indicate that a deontological moral reminder ("corruption is immoral") leads to a significant reduction in accepting bribes. A consequentialist moral reminder, pointing out that bribes are costly to taxpayers, shows no significant effect. Furthermore, we do not find any empirical support that male participants are more corrupt in comparison to female participants. Students majoring in economics or business/management show more corrupt behavior than students studying to become economics school teachers, but the difference is not statistically significant. A person's disposition towards risk appears to have a strong dissuading effects. Our experiment was conducted before and after the unexpected announcement by pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer on November 9th, 2020, that they will be able to provide an effective Covid-19 vaccine. This announcement does not correlate with a changed level of bribe-taking.

Keywords: Moral Reminder; Ethics; Corruption; Dishonesty; Economics Students; Experiment; Covid-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A20 C91 D73 H12 I20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe and nep-exp
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Working Paper: Can Moral Reminders Curb Corruption? Evidence from an Online Classroom Experiment (2022) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:wgspdp:202201

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