Essays in Political Economy
Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Paul Lagunes
Chapter 11: Bribing abroad
The prevalence of corruption varies widely across countries, and the causes of this variation have been the subject of extensive research. Corruption has been connected to a variety of institutional and cultural factors that are usually difficult to disentangle. To isolate the cultural component of corruption, researchers have provided evidence that cultural norms persist even when individuals, or their families, move to a society with different formal institutions. Fisman and Miguel (2007) find that UN diplomats from more corrupt countries were more likely to take advantage of their diplomatic immunity, and leave parking tickets unpaid in the city of New York. Barr and Serra (2010) find that international college students’ willingness to bribe when playing a game in a lab setting depends on the level of corruption at their home country, while Cameron et al. (2009) find mixed results. Simpser (2013) documents that individuals whose ancestors came to the United States from high corruption countries are less likely to consider it ‘wrong for a public official to solicit bribes in return for a service’. Similarly, the evidence suggests that companies from corrupt countries tend to bribe more often even when they operate abroad. The major source of information on the behavior of firms that invest or trade abroad is the Bribe Payers Index (Transparency International, 1999–2011), which is based on local businessmen’s evaluation of the corporate conduct of foreign firms in their country.
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