Publication: Subject Pool Effects in a Corruption Experiment: A Comparison of Indonesian Public Servants and Indonesian Students
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We report results from a corruption experiment with Indonesian public servants and Indonesian students. Our results suggest that the Indonesian public servant subjects have a significantly lower tolerance of corruption than the Indonesian students. We find no evidence that this is due to a selection effect. The reasons given by the subjects for their behaviour suggest that the differences in behavior across the subject pools are driven by their different real life experiences. For example, when abstaining from corruption, public servants more often cite the need to reduce the social costs of corruption as a reason for their actions, and when engaging in corruption, they cite low government salaries or a belief that corruption is a necessary evil in the current environment. In contrast, students give more simplistic moral reasons. We conclude by emphasizing that results obtained from different subject pools can complement each other in illuminating different aspects of the same problem.