CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Virginia Oliveros Publishes Article on Costa Rica in the American Journal of Political Science

January 14th, 2016

Abstract: An influential literature argues that corruption behaves as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Its central claim is that the individual returns to corruption are a function of the perceived corruptibility of the other members of society. Empirically, this implies that if one were to exogenously increase beliefs about societal levels of corruption, willingness to engage in corruption should also increase. We evaluate this implication by utilizing an information experiment embedded in a large-scale household survey recently conducted in the Gran Área Metropolitana of Costa Rica. Changes in beliefs about corruption were induced via the random assignment of an informational display depicting the increasing percentage of Costa Ricans who have personally witnessed an act of corruption. Consistent with the self-fulfilling prophecy hypothesis, we 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.

For the entire article, click here.