De-criminalizing Bribes

Indian Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu proposes a radical way to eliminate bribes: de-criminalize the act of paying a bribe.

In theory, once a demand for a bribe has been satisfied—and the service received, one presumes—the bribe giver may be interested in cooperating in getting the bribe taker caught, knowing that he or she will not face any punishment. That possibility could deter the bribe taker from taking a bribe in the first place. Right now, the interests of both converge, since both payer and taker face punishment if caught, and so the payer has a reduced interest in uncovering bribery.

Here’s a longer paper from Basu on the subject, for those interested: PDF.

WSJ – Kaushik Basu Says Make Bribe Giving Legal

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