Corruption and Cheating: Evidence from Rural Thailand

Discussion Papers 1917, 42 S.

Olaf Hübler, Melanie Koch, Lukas Menkhoff, Ulrich Schmidt


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This study tests the prediction that perceived corruption reduces ethical behavior. Integrating a standard “cheating” experiment into a broad household survey in rural Thailand, we find clear support for this prediction: respondents who perceive corruption in state affairs are more likely to cheat and, thus, to fortify the negative consequences of corruption. Interestingly, there is a small group of non-conformers. The main relation is robust to consideration of socio-demographic, attitudinal, and situational control variables. Attendance of others at the cheating experiment, stimulating the reputational concern to be seen as honest, reduces cheating, thus indicating transparency as a remedy.

Lukas Menkhoff

Head of Department in the International Economics Department

JEL-Classification: O12;D73;D91
Keywords: Corruption, cheating, individual characteristics, lab-in-the-field experiment