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Past Issue • Jul-Sep 2012

Kicking Back on Kickbacks: An Experiment in Asymmetric Liability

Can a radical proposal to tackle harassment bribery work in practice? Professor Tarun Jain and his colleagues conducted an experiment to study the potential impact of implementing an asymmetric liability policy for bribe givers and takers. In this article, he presents his findings from the study.

On the anti-corruption website, www.ipaidabribe. com, the stories told by citizens are not of fixed sales for wireless spectrum or mining licences, MPs who vote for cash or of bungled Commonwealth Games, but of marriage registrars and excise officers. “The inspector who visited our factor y immediately asked for R 5,000 else work will get slow down,” complained one person from Mumbai. A gentleman from Erode who explained to the inspector that a bribe demand of R 750 was unjustified since the passport fee itself was R 1,000 was warned that he would never receive his passport. One perceptive (and perhaps heartbroken) suitor wrote about marriage registration, “I was asked a minimum of 500 in order to get an inter view with the magistrate. But at the end I didn’t get married, so should I ask for a refund?”


  • Tarun

    Tarun Jain

    Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB).
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