The study has recently received criticism Griggs and Whitehead , with new attempts to replicate its findings calling into question the blind obedience that the original results suggested. However, the main finding — that people frequently obey orders from authority figures even when it means engaging in behaviour that they deem unacceptable — remains broadly accepted. Why would superiors require explicitly or implicitly lower-ranking officials to engage in corruption? One reason may be that they are getting a cut of the proceeds. Wade describes how canal irrigation engineers in South India raised vast amounts of illicit revenue from the distribution of water and contracts.
Anti-corruption through a social norms lens
Many public officials find themselves enmeshed in vertical social networks that function to ensure the upward movement of public goods Scott These normative pressures differ in strength. As illustrated by Cislaghi and Heise , the spectrum starts with the weakest normative pressures, which merely create the impression that a practice is possible.
Slightly more binding are normative forces that indicate that a given practice is tolerated. If others look the other way or even actively sustain the practice by condoning it, weak social norms in favour of the act exist. One step further along the spectrum are acts that are considered expected. Finally, we get to the strongest end of the spectrum: obligatory behaviour.
Social norms do not have to directly dictate the corrupt practice to play an important role in encouraging or condoning it. Broader norms may serve as a background factor that influences the calculation as to whether to engage in corruption or not. In and of itself, this perception would not need to lead to corruption. But if you are a public official, it could lead to your family network exerting pressure on you to skim off money or provide jobs to relatives for the benefit of the extended family.
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Resisting this pressure may result in a social sanction — being shunned at family gatherings, for example. This social norm is not the only reference point; it may be balanced out by norms of public service or concerns around being caught. But it can nonetheless create pressures to engage in fraud, embezzlement, nepotism, extortion, and so on, even though the norm — in this case family loyalty and obligation — is far from being a corruption norm per se. In line with the varying strength of social normative pressures, different sanctions follow norm disobedience.
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External sanctions are imposed by others to punish deviance from the norm. They can take different forms such as shunning, shaming, or social exclusion — or even direct violence. A crude example of external enforcement of social norms in the corruption context is the case of Frank Serpico, a police officer who entered the New York Police Department with idealistic views.
It did not take long for him to be confronted with a corrupt reality, as bribe taking by police officers seemed to be the norm. His attempt to resist this norm led to harsh social sanctions and eventually to severe bodily harm. In addition to such visible sanctions, social sanctions can also happen out of sight of the target, like gossiping about a norm violator. These social pressures certainly are not the only explanation for how citizens and public officials act and interact, but they belong to the constellation of factors that may determine how people behave.
For example, people might adhere to a code of conduct outlining certain duties and responsibilities, which serves as an alternative reference point. In her research in East Africa, Baez-Camargo , 19 found many individuals who felt burdened by the overlapping and often conflicting expectations and liabilities stemming from social norms as well as from their legal duties and responsibilities.
Therefore, we emphasise the relative influence of social pressures over other drivers of behaviour. Just as these pressures explain why corruption persists, they also help explain why standard anti-corruption reforms may fail. In the introductory hypothetical example, we saw that the interventions did little to stop the corrupt behaviours from recurring.
We would argue this is due to a shortcoming in the standard repertoire of anti-corruption actions: namely that they generally ignore the influence of social norms and pressures, an oversight that may explain why seemingly sensible solutions may often have a limited effect. Let us examine two popular interventions that illustrate this point.
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One of the most commonly proposed policies to reduce corruption among public officials is salary increases Fisman and Golden According to the fair-salary hypothesis, if public officials could earn enough to make ends meet and support their families, then they would have fewer incentives to ask for bribes Becker and Stigler ; Van Rijckeghem and Weder This policy has had mixed results, in part due to the persistence of social norms. Higher wages have been tried in the tax administration in Uganda, for example, where norms of providing for the family are very strong Baez-Camargo a.
The introduction of higher wages actually increased expectations about the extent of family support that public officials could provide, leading to a net loss for some officials once they had met social demands for redistribution. To make up for such a loss, public officials who have received salary raises may seek to extract even more bribes Fjeldstad Another reason for the failure of salary increases might lie in the persistence of horizontal pressures.
If within an organisation, such as the police force, accepting bribes has become a widespread and maybe even acceptable practice, higher salaries do little to change these pressures. Indirect evidence for this perspective stems from a study conducted by Foltz and Opoku-Agyemang , using direct observable data on bribes. During that period, the salary of the Ghanaian road police force was doubled, which allowed the authors to test whether a salary increase indeed reduced the elicitation of bribes. The results are disappointing. If anything, increasing the salary led to an increased effort by police officers to collect bribes, and the size of bribes increased as well.
One reason appears to lie in the lack of punishment for bribe taking, which was unchanged by the reform. Another, possibly more important, reason is that the social norms within the police force remained the same. Asking for bribes remained a common — and acceptable — practice. Although police salaries increased, the social pressures remained in place, and bribe taking continued.
Introduction of a code of conduct is a typical reform within public administrations.
Intended to provide clarity about expected behaviour, duties, and responsibilities, such codes seek to provide a normative reference point to which employees should adhere. But as we have seen, there may be horizontal pressures on employees not to abide by the official code. The introduction of the official code merely stipulates required behaviour without relieving the normative pressures embodied in alternative, unwritten, unofficial social codes.
Official codes of conduct also need enforcement from above, that is, from figures at higher levels of an organisation. But as described earlier, these higher-ups may be receiving a share of the proceeds of corruption schemes and therefore have little interest in enforcing rules about integrity. Vertical relations within an organisation are often based on feelings of dependency and indebtedness. Going against vertical pressures may result in sanctions — loss of job, position, or earnings — and thus may constrain a change to more honest behaviour.
The point is not that these two policies — salary increases and codes of conduct — cannot work or are misguided per se, but rather that they are unlikely to be sufficient in and of themselves, given the persistence of social norms. Understanding these norms and then devising complementary strategies to address them could create space for movement towards new, more honest behaviours.
In any given context, understanding the type and strength of social pressures is essential to figuring out which interventions can help change, manage, or circumvent these pressures. Part 2 will help practitioners employ this approach. Imagine you are asked to advise on what can be done in the situation of the corrupt municipality described at the beginning.
Designing successful interventions requires a thorough understanding of the social forces that perpetuate the corrupt practices. In this section we combine the insights from various academic disciplines with the current trends in social norms programming in other domains to provide an overview of the available methodologies see for example, Stefanik and Hwang First, we outline a schematic stepwise process of designing an anti-corruption policy.
While we are aware that policy implementation often does not neatly follow these steps see, for example, Mosse , we find that this schematic framework helps illustrate the key components of policy design.
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Next, we provide an overview of the methods available to execute each step in the process. Hence this section provides guidance on how to map and diagnose social pressures, as well as methods to generate the necessary data. Deploying these tools may at first glance seem daunting, especially at the planning stage of a project.
However, do not despair: it may helpful to consider what information might already be available in your networks or among staff, and to consider whether there are local universities, institutes, or consultants that can be commissioned to generate information using the methods suggested below. Before one can understand and mitigate the social pressures driving corruption, a first step is to specify the corrupt behaviour in question see, for example, Heywood Grasping the complete picture requires extensive research.
A mapping of the corruption scheme s can help to visualise the interlinkages; Woodrow provides a useful overview on how to use such systems maps. The following questions can be useful in the initial assessment of corruption schemes:. A second step is to identify which if any social norms are contributing to the persistence of the corrupt scheme s identified Stefanik and Hwang This requires research to identify important reference groups for key actors, the norms that prevail within these groups, the channels for social pressures to enforce these norms, and the anticipated sanctions for deviance.
avypylyfyfor.tk Such research can detect potential leads for the baseline assessment in step 3. To achieve this goal, the formative research phase mostly draws on three information sources: a literature review, informal interviews, and insights from existing surveys see more details below. The following questions can serve as a guideline for data collection. In the third step, practitioners seek to obtain more generalizable and robust insight into the corrupt practices and to identify entry points for interventions. Hence, this baseline assessment phase employs more structured methods. By following up on the leads identified in the formative research stage, it seeks to more closely examine the existence of the outlined corruption schemes, as well as the sources and strength of social norms pertaining to it.
The goal is to provide a baseline measure of both the existing social norms as well as the respective behaviour i. The choice of methods for the baseline measures should be in accordance with the choice of the endline measures. Besides the tools mentioned in the formative research stage, the most useful methods in this step are more formal interview techniques, focus groups, vignettes, social network analysis, and bespoke surveys.
Upon implementation of an intervention, the next step is to monitor whether the intervention goes as planned. Are there signs of norm change? Do people respond to the newly introduced intervention in the way that was anticipated? Are there any signs of backlash or boomerang effects? These findings can be used to potentially make adjustments to the policy design, helping to increase the chances of a successful anti-corruption intervention.
Methodologically, this step can draw on any or all of the outlined techniques, depending on the specific context. The final step is to evaluate the intervention. The assessment as to whether social norms around a certain corrupt practice and the practice itself have changed should draw on similar if not the same methodology as the baseline step.
Such methodological consistency allows the most valid pre-treatment versus post-treatment comparisons.