Social preferences and responsiveness to bribery - a survey experiment

Last registered on April 26, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Social preferences and responsiveness to bribery - a survey experiment
Initial registration date
April 21, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
April 26, 2023, 5:18 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
London School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Bribery as a form of petty corruption is a widespread phenomenon contributing to overburdened provision of public services across low- and middle-income countries. The adverse effects on the quality, equity and trust within these systems are widely acknowledged. There are numerous challenges associated with researching corruption of any type due to its illicit nature. Moreover, observing the quality, timeliness or provider effort of most public services (such as healthcare or education) adds another layer of complexity in determining the real effect of bribery on the delivery of these services. Within this study I propose a novel experimental design which allows me to measure the extent to which bribery is reciprocated. Furthermore, by incorporating varying service provider and recipient characteristics, I will be able to assess the effects on social preferences on this degree of responsiveness. By proposing a cross-cultural experimental set-up, recruiting students from Bulgaria and the UK, I will utilize the underlying discrepancies in bribery prevalence to elicit the interactions between corruption norms and social preferences.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Lagarde, Mylene and Iva Parvanova. 2023. "Social preferences and responsiveness to bribery - a survey experiment." AEA RCT Registry. April 26.
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Experimental Details


The intervention aims to assess the effect of social preferences and norms on the likelihood of reciprocating bribery. Through a survey experiment, individuals are randomly assigned to receive alternative messages linked to in- and out-group inequity as well as the possibility of bribe rejection. We will test how these prompts triggering various social and fairness preferences affect the generosity of participants when distributing a scarce resource between two hypothetical individuals (the briber and non-briber).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcome of the analysis is whether or not the bribe is reciprocated.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The corrupt reciprocity will be measured as a binary outcome Y, whereby Y=1 if the bribing recipient received more letters than the non-bribing one and 0 otherwise.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will randomly present participants with information prompts linked to inequality and bribery.
Individuals will randomly be assigned to one of 5 groups:
1) control
2) bribery
3) bribery + in-group inequity
4) bribery + out-group inequity
5) bribery + rejection
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization will happen automatically as respondents begin the survey in Qualtrics.
Randomization Unit
Randomization will take place on the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Around 450 students (200 students in the UK and 250 students in Bulgaria)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
90 students per treatment arm (control, bribery, bribery + provider inequity information, bribery + recipient inequity information, bribery + rejection)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
London School of Economics Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials