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Social Norms Regarding Bribing in India: An Experimental Analysis

Banerjee, Ritwik | Baul, Tushi | Rosenblat, Tanya

Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, Vol. 136 (2016), Iss. 2: pp. 171–197

2 Citations (CrossRef)

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Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bannerghatta Main Rd., Bangalore, India.

Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame, 940 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.

School of Information, University of Michigan, 9332 North Quad, 105 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Cited By

  1. Socioeconomic Status, Norms and Bribe-Giving Behaviors Among Citizens of Vietnam

    Nguyen, Phuong Anh

    Le, Quang Canh

    International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 45 (2022), Iss. 1 P.37 [Citations: 1]


We conduct incentive-compatible economic experiments to measure norms regarding social appropriateness of bribes in India. We adopt a stylized real world situation (obtaining a driver’s license) in which the possibility to engage in unethical behavior is common. Using coordination game technique to elicit social norms, we measure social appropriateness of engaging in this type of unethical behavior. We find that the social appropriateness ratings of bribing vary with the bribe amount. For smaller bribes, there is a lack of coordination on the modal social appropriateness rating, whereas larger bribes are considered inappropriate by the majority of participants. We also vary the information regarding common behaviors at the driver’s license testing facility by letting participants know in some treatments that bribe-taking by public officials is prevalent. When bribe-giving and bribe-taking are framed as widespread behaviors, participants perceive bribes to be less socially inappropriate.

JEL Codes: C91, D80, J10