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Essays on Corruption and Group Decision-Making

Evidence suggests that corruption in the administering of driver's licenses has the potential to create large social harm by allowing
incompetent drivers on the road, but these drivers are not guaranteed to cause accidents. Similarly, contractors for a building may be
permitted to do shoddy work as long as an inspector is paid a bribe. The building may not collapse with certainty, but it may do so in the
face of a natural disaster that it should have been able to withstand. While we know that individuals will engage in corruption when its
negative effects are probabilistic, little is known about the underlying reasons for doing so. The second and third chapters of this
dissertation explore the effects that individuals' beliefs have on the decision to bribe when social harm is probabilistic. In Chapter 2, I
introduce a game that captures some of the key elements of the environments in which exchanges that generate probabilistic negative
externalities occur. This chapter seeks to establish a basic understanding of behavior in these types of environments, given that previous
corruption experiments have focused on situations where negative externalities occur with certainty. I find that subjects are more likely to
offer a bribe when they believe that others are going to bribe. When subjects are at risk of causing themselves and others to incur losses,
the beliefs that they form about the likelihood of experiencing losses are inaccurate, even when they have the information necessary to form
accurate beliefs. However, these beliefs do not appear to affect the decision to offer a bribe. In Chapter 3, I apply my bribery game to the
study of bribing for a driver's license. I supply subjects with context-rich instructions and induce types among potential bribers to reflect
drivers of different natural ability. Some drivers can bribe for a license while increasing social efficiency, because the formalities of
obtaining a license are unnecessary for them, while other drivers lower social efficiency, in expectation, when they bribe, since formal
licensing procedures are necessary for them. I find that subjects once again are more willing to offer a bribe when they believe that others
are going to bribe. Inaccurate beliefs about the likelihood of experiencing losses are also commonplace, even in the face of full
information, but in contrast to Chapter 2, these beliefs enter into the decision to offer a bribe. Beliefs about type indicate
non-rationalizable overconfidence, but these beliefs are not predictive of bribing behavior. Finally, in Chapter 4, I turn my attention to
the topic of group formation. Using a public goods game in which participants can select their groups, I investigate the role that
personality plays in contribution behavior and group selection as the information available to participants about groups varies. I find that
when participants only have access to information about the average personality profiles of groups, personality predicts contribution
behavior, and participants select groups based on high measures of certain personality traits. However, when participants have access to
historical contribution information about groups, both by itself and along with personality information, personality has little predictive
power for contribution behavior, and groups are selected on the basis of past contribution levels. / A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Economics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy. / Fall Semester 2017. / November 3, 2017. / Bribery, Corruption, Experiment, Group Formation, HEXACO, Public Goods / Includes bibliographical references. / John Hamman, Professor Directing Dissertation; Eric A. Coleman, University Representative; Sebastian
Goerg, Committee Member; R. Mark Isaac, Committee Member.
ContributorsAhloy, James (author), Hamman, John R. (professor directing dissertation), Coleman, Eric A. (university representative), Goerg, Sebastian J., 1980- (committee member), Isaac, R. Mark (Robert Mark), 1954- (committee member), Florida State University (degree granting institution), College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (degree granting college), Department of Economics (degree granting departmentdgg)
PublisherFlorida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
LanguageEnglish, English
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeText, text, doctoral thesis
Format1 online resource (145 pages), computer, application/pdf

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