# 12-038/1 (2012-04-13)

Author(s)
Roel van Veldhuizen, University of Amsterdam
Keywords:
bribery, corruption, experimental economics, laboratory experiment
JEL codes:
D73, C91, K42

Previous studies have proposed a link between corruption and wages in the public sector. This paper investigates this link using a laboratory experiment. In the experiment, public officials have the opportunity to accept a bribe and can then decide between a neutral and a corrupt action. The corrupt action benefits the briber but poses a large negative externality on a charity. The results show that increasing public officials' wages greatly reduces their corruptibility. In particular, experienced low wage public officials accept 91% of bribes on average, whereas high wage public officials accept 38%. Moreover, high wage public officials are less likely to choose the corrupt option.