Posts Tagged: Bribery



How Do You Eliminate Bribery? Make It Legal – By Steven Dale

It’s summer and I’m catching up on my reading and one of the most intriguing things I’ve read in a long time is a working paper by Kaushik Basu, the Chief Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance of the Government of India.

As everyone knows, India has a severe problem with bribery. Basu’s ingenious idea to curb the problem is (get ready for it) to make bribe-giving legal.

Bribe-taking, however, would remain illegal. Such an arrangement, Basu argues, would sever the incentive towards collusion that characterizes the act of bribery. Based on lessons learned from the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma game, the incidence of bribery should drop dramatically.

Basu admits the plan is not without its flaws, but his insightful and creative logic should give all policy-makers pause for contemplation.

You should read it. It’s not short, but it’s easy-reading and well worth the effort.

Too often our policy is tied up in morality. What should be right and what should be wrong. The idea that bribery should be made legal goes against all common intuition.

But if we agree as a society that bribery is something that should not be tolerated (and I doubt there’s anyone who would disagree with that position), then the end goal should be about ending bribery no matter the policy imperative that gets us there.

Yes it is absurdly ironic to make bribery legal in order to eliminate bribery. But so what? If it works, who cares?

All policy should be so creative, insightful and problem-oriented.

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