A Theory of Cyclic Bribery

Maurizio Lisciandra (Università di Roma LUMSA)
Antonio Miralles (University of Messina)
Fabio Monteforte (University of Messina)


We develop a model in which a briber decides on an optimal schedule of bribing to the governing party in a bipartisan system. Detected corruption increases voters' resentment, while periods without corruption lowers resentment. Resentment increases the risk of political overturn, hence rising the minimum acceptable bribe. The main assumption is that the briber's discount rate is higher than the rate at which resentment diminishes when there is no corruption. The optimal schedule describes
cycles alternating periods of bribing with periods of no corruption iff there is a resentment level at which bribing gives no positive instant gain to the briber.

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