Marina Povitkina, Department of Political Science. "In the Shadow of Doubt: Cooperation, Public Officials and Embezzlement"
Department seminar. Marina Povitkina is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo. She will present the paper: "In the Shadow of Doubt: Cooperation, Public Officials and Embezzlement", with Andrea Martinangeli.
Collective action dilemmas are at the heart of many societal problems. How to make individuals sacrifice a little bit of their self-interest for the benefit of society is one of the most crucial questions in the social sciences. A large scholarship in political science and economics argues that one solution to collective action dilemmas is to introduce a formal authority that could regulate actors’ behavior, handle the contributions to a collective good and redistribute these contributions equally. In the real world, however, the authority can be corrupt and thus potentially have negative consequences for collective action. In large-n quantitative comparisons, the level of corruption often correlates with a public or common good - the level of economic development, social welfare, and the level of trust; however, it is usually difficult to estimate the causal direction of these relationships. In our study, we propose a laboratory experiment with a modified public good game to test the effect of a corrupt institutional context measured by the probability of embezzlement by public officials on the level of cooperation between individuals.