QoG lunch seminar with Diego Romero (winner of the QoG Best Paper Award 2021)

Society and economy

Unpacking Bribery: Petty Corruption and Favor Exchanges

5 Oct 2022
16:00 - 17:00
Stora Skansen (room B336), Sprängkullsgatan 19

Diego Romero, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Pennsylvania’s DevLab@Penn
Good to know
The QoG institute regularly organizes seminars related to research on Quality of Government, broadly defined as trustworthy, reliable, impartial, uncorrupted and competent government institutions.

All seminars are held in English unless stated otherwise.
The Quality of Government Institute


The incidence of petty corruption in public service delivery varies greatly across citizens and geography. This paper proposes a novel explanation for citizen engagement in collusive forms of petty corruption. It is rooted in the social context in which citizen-public official interactions take place. I argue that social proximity and network centrality provide the two key enforcement mechanisms that sustain favor exchanges among socially connected individuals. Bribery, as a collusive arrangement between a citizen and a public official, relies on the same enforcement mechanisms. Using an original dataset from a household survey conducted in Guatemala, the analysis shows that social proximity and centrality allow citizens to obtain privileges through implicit favor exchanges and illicit payments. These effects go beyond simply increasing the frequency of contact with public officials and are not driven by better access to information about the bribery market.