Chapter 10 Behavioral and Experimental Economics as a Guidance to Anticorruption

New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption

ISBN: 978-1-78052-784-0, eISBN: 978-1-78052-785-7

ISSN: 0193-2306

Publication date: 15 June 2012


This chapter argues that reciprocity provides a key to understanding corrupt behavior and its limitations. It allows for an understanding why agents not only are guided by explicit incentives but also serve those to whom they owe gratitude. It allows to observe how citizens disregard their narrow-minded interests and engage in altruistic punishment, potentially exercising negative reciprocity toward a corrupt leadership. It shows how reciprocity is at the center of criminal networks and how reform sometimes enhances rather than inhibits this dismal form of reciprocity. It finally reveals how humans are at risk of reciprocating toward their own self-image, which may inhibit them from impartially assessing their misdeeds. A thorough understanding of the power of reciprocity can inspire novel avenues for reform, some of which are presented here.


Graf Lambsdorff, J. (2012), "Chapter 10 Behavioral and Experimental Economics as a Guidance to Anticorruption", Serra, D. and Wantchekon, L. (Ed.) New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption (Research in Experimental Economics, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 279-300.

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