Embezzlement Game


Talk on a working paper using an experiment (n = 80) to assess how the interplay between the structural factor of transparency and dark personality traits shape corrupt behavior. We introduce a novel corruption game consisting of an adapted public goods game involving an allocator of the public good presented with the opportunity to engage in corruption. This game entails face-to-face interactions and monetary incentives with which we assess the dark side of personality and show a positive link between sub-clinical psychopathy and corrupt behavior. We find that transparency did not reduce corruption, even acting as a catalyst for corruption under individuals high on psychopathic traits. Corruption poses one of the major threats to societies around the world. In response, one of the most common policy advice to reduce corruption is to increase transparency. While little experimental work has tested its effectiveness, research on the psychological facets of this policy is lacking altogether. Psychology has seen increased attention for the role of dark personality traits (i.e. Psychopathy, Narcissism, Machiavellianism) in organizations as these traits are argued to be overrepresented in positions of power. We conducted anThe implications of these findings for research on the social and personality elements of corruption and its practical implications are discussed.

Passau, Germany
Terence Daniel Dores Cruz
PhD Candidate

I am broadly interested in human cooperation. Currently, I study gossip’s role in cooperation with regards to reasons for gossip and reactions to gossip.