Students in India who cheat on a simple laboratory task are more likely to prefer public sector jobs. This paper shows that cheating on this task predicts corrupt behavior by civil servants, implying that it is a meaningful predictor of future corruption. Students who demonstrate pro-social preferences are less likely to prefer government jobs, while outcomes on an explicit game and attitudinal measures to measure corruption do not systematically predict job preferences. A screening process that chooses high-ability applicants would not alter the average propensity for corruption. The findings imply that differential selection into government may contribute, in part, to corruption.
Hanna, Rema, and Shing-Yi Wang.
"Dishonesty and Selection into Public Service: Evidence from India."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Individual
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits
Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements