Corruption As A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Evidence From A Survey Experiment In Costa Rica
Gingerich et al. (2016)
This research evaluates the implication that if one were to increase beliefs about societal levels of corruption, willingness to engage in corruption should also increase. This implication is evaluated by utilizing an information experiment embedded in a large-scale household survey recently conducted in Costa Rica. Consistent with the self-fulfilling prophecy hypothesis, results find that internalizing the information from the display on average increased the probability that a respondent would be willing to bribe a police officer by approximately .05 to .10.
Treatment participants were randomly exposed to information about increasing levels of corruption in the country via an informational display depicting the increasing percentage of Costa Ricans who have personally witnessed an act of corruption.
Control participants were simply given information about the inefficiency of the public system, or no information at all.
Those exposed to information about corruption were more likely to say they would bribe a police officer to avoid a traffic ticket (exposure to the corruption treatment was estimated to increase the proportion of respondents willing to bribe by 28 percent).