The influence of ethnic origin on the inclination toward bribing - An experimental investigation in Japan

Last registered on August 25, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

The influence of ethnic origin on the inclination toward bribing - An experimental investigation in Japan
Initial registration date
August 23, 2022

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
August 25, 2022, 1:59 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Paderborn University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Individual differences in the propensity toward corrupt behavior are affected by informal institutions comprising social norms and values that prevail in a country or region. In this regard, a key determinant is the person to interact with since a trustful relationship needs to be established to facilitate these risky practices. The ethnicity of an individual is a detectable characteristic that forms beliefs about an individual and influences the behavior by stereotypical thinking that is shaped by the transmission and adaptation of former cultural norms in a society. While the inclination toward corrupt behavior has been shown to differ depending on the perceived country of origin of the opposing individual, we also find different ethnicities within a country. In the case of Japan, Brazilians, Koreans, and Chinese form the largest minority groups that are confronted with discrimination. This study investigates in conditional corruption among Japanese individuals when being confronted with individuals of ethnic minorities. An experimental bribery game will be conducted using a lab-in-the-field approach to explore this underrepresented perspective on the influence of ethnic discrimination on corrupt behavior. The design includes two treatment groups and one control group to test for differences in offering and accepting bribes depending on the ethnic origin signaled by the name of the partner during the game. Shedding light on the preconditions for individual differences in the propensity toward corruption does not only extend the existing research focusing on a rather homogenous population like Japan but also provides useful insights for officials to understand why unethical practices may emerge in their business environment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Auer, Thorsten. 2022. "The influence of ethnic origin on the inclination toward bribing - An experimental investigation in Japan." AEA RCT Registry. August 25.
Experimental Details


In the bribery game, the participants in two treatment groups will receive information about the name of their partner which is displayed to them throughout the game in the respective stages. While it is a Japanese name in the first treatment group, the second treatment group will see a Korean name.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The analysis will focus on the share of offered and accepted bribes.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
There will be a distinction between first round decisions on offering and accepting bribes and any decision made after the first round since first round results reveal a more intuitive than strategic decision-making.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
I will use an experimental bribery game that was first executed by Abbink et al. (2002). In the bribery game, players have the opportunity to achieve a game outcome that is advantageous for them by disobeying norms, but also by taking risks. Over ten rounds, they can earn Tokens paid out to them at the end of the experiment. However, they can also lose all Tokens earned, which leads to an early end of the game. The bribery game is implemented using the classEx lab-in-the-field software developed by Giamattei and Lambsdorff (2019). After explaining the structure of the game in English or Japanese (depending on the sample), pairs will be randomly matched and maintain in this constellation until the end of the game. They will randomly be assigned to either the role of the briber (entrepreneur) or the role of the bribee (public official). In the treatment groups, the players will be asked to insert their name at the beginning of the game. The displayed name of the partner is, however, fixed in advance. This name varies depending on the treatment. Overall, there will be two treatment groups and one control group. In the control group, no names will be displayed. After the game is finished, there will be a questionnaire asking for demographic information as well as experiences with and perceptions about ethnic minorities in Japan. All data will be anonymized for examination. Participation in the experiment would require about 45 minutes of time for the subjects.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization on matching participants is automatically executed by the implemented code in classEx.
Randomization Unit
There will be a mixed sample of employees and students.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
One university class and two firm workshops
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
20 employees in control, 20 students in control, 30 employees in treatment 1, 30 students in treatment 2.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


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