Experimental Economics

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 103–121 | Cite as

Neutral versus loaded instructions in a bribery experiment



This paper contributes to the ongoing methodological debate on context-free versus in-context presentation of experimental tasks. We report an experiment using the paradigm of a bribery experiment. In one condition, the task is presented in a typical bribery context, the other one uses abstract wording. Though the underlying context is heavily loaded with negative ethical preconceptions, we do not find significant differences with our 18 independent observations per treatment. We conjecture that the experimental design transmits the essential features of a bribery situation already with neutral framing, such that the presentation does not add substantially to subjects’ interpretation of the task.


Corruption Context Framing Valence Experimental Instructions Laboratory Trust Reciprocity Ethical Behaviour Social Norms 


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsThe University of NottinghamNottinghamUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Laboratorium für experimentelle WirtschaftsforschungBonn UniversityBonnGermany

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