Economics of Governance

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–15

On the effects of incentive framing on bribery: evidence from an experiment in Burkina Faso

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10101-013-0135-0

Cite this article as:
Armantier, O. & Boly, A. Econ Gov (2014) 15: 1. doi:10.1007/s10101-013-0135-0


While incentive framing has been shown to promote workers’ effort, little is known about how it affects other dimensions of the employer-employee relationship. This paper examines whether incentive framing can also influence workers propensity to engage in an activity disloyal to their employer: corruption. To do so, we conducted an experiment in which graders are offered a bribe to report a better grade. Three treatments are conducted by framing economically equivalent contracts as menus of bonuses, penalties, or bonuses and penalties. We find that graders are more corrupt when incentives are framed as a combination of bonuses and penalties, while no difference is found between the bonus and the penalty contracts. These results are inconsistent with both standard economic theory and labor reciprocity.


BriberyIncentive framingExperimental economics

JEL Classification


Supplementary material

10101_2013_135_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 20 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal Reserve Bank of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.United Nations Industrial Development OrganizationViennaAustria