If Everyone Else is Being Corrupt, So Will I

An IADB study has revealed that people exposed to information about corruption are more likely to commit it themselves.

Monday, April 6, 2015


An article in Crhoy.com analyzes the report "Corruption as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Costa Rica", produced by researchers at the Inter-American Development Bank, which concludes that "... The willingness of an individual to engage in corrupt behavior is indeed affected by their perceived level of corruption in society." The report's results can be extrapolated to the entire region, since other Central American countries exhibit levels of perceived corruption which are higher than in Costa Rica.

The dire consequences of corruption extend beyond their direct results such as the impoverishment of the many for the benefit of the few, and the loss of competitiveness of the economy, generating a vicious cycle: Corruption breeds more corruption.

The following have been identified as characteristics of corruption:

- The existence of corruption wears down sanction mechanisms: This occurs if the probability of detection is inversely related to the frequency of the act

- Corruption corrupts by affecting search costs: The more sure one entity (official or business) is about the corruption of other, the less it costs them to commit a corrupt act.

- Education at Home: corrupt behaviors are imitated if they have been successful for neighbors or relatives in the past.

- Entrance to public service: If there are corrupt officials and political elites, it will be the dishonest ones who try to enter [the public arena].
... "

View full report Corruption as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Costa Rica

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