Legal immunity to bribe-givers will motivate greater citizen reporting and decrease official demands for bribes, according to a study conducted by Indian School of Business (ISB) jointly with Australian and the US universities.

“This would also increase whistle-blower protections through anonymous reporting systems including phone and through Web sites,” Tarun Jain, an assistant professor of economic and public policy at ISB, told Business Line here on Friday.

Jain, along with experts from Monash University, Australia and Franklin & Marshall College, US conducted the study.

The research paper containing the study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Public Economics.

As part of the study, an experiment was conducted involving 480 students from across disciplines in role-playing games as officials/bribe-givers.

Out of this, 55 per cent paid a bribe for household services such as electricity, water/phone connection, at bank, post office, insurance company, transport office or school/college while 63 per cent reported.

“If caught, both the bribe-giver and taker are committing an illegal act.”

Another 22 per cent supported the statement: “Do you think that it is useful to have a system where there is a way to get what you want even if you have to bribe”.

The study also suggested that crowd-source complaints instead of relying on single citizen or complaint.

Transfers and staff rotation for lower bureaucracy would also be helpful, it added.

When asked on the reliability of the method of study involving role-playing games, Jain said the method was well-accepted in experimental economics.

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