Perceived Corruption: A Lab Experiment by Dr. Francesca Marazzi
The Department of Economics and Social Sciences organized a presentation by Dr. Francesca Marazzi from University of Rome Tor Vergata, titled “Perceived Corruption: A Lab Experiment” on Thursday 4 April, 2019.
Dr. Marazzi started by presenting the design of the experiment. Participants were asked to play a repeated public good game with mandatory minimal contribution in a lab. In such a setup each individual had an incentive to free ride on others’ contributions, although they collectively benefit from the public good. In each group there were 4 participants, each with different endowments. In each period, participants could bribe a computerized bureaucrat to avoid making their contribution to the public good. The aim of the experiment was to study the gap between perceived corruption and its actual level under two different information conditions.
Results show that in the absence of information concerning the corruption attempt, participants tried to bribe the bureaucrat significantly more. Spreading the news about an attempt of corruption discourages such attempts. Highly-endowed participants did not differ from others in terms of willingness to corrupt, but were found to contribute significantly less. Subjects showed a tendency to overestimate the bureaucrat’s corruptibility when information is private.