Replication Data for: The Curse of Good Intentions: Why Anti-Corruption Messaging Can Encourage Bribery



Awareness raising messages feature prominently in most anticorruption strategies. Yet, there has been limited systematic research into their efficacy. There is growing concern that anticorruption awareness raising efforts may be backfiring; instead of encouraging citizens to resist corruption they may be nudging them to ‘go with the corrupt grain.’ This study offers a first test of the impact of anti-corruption messaging on ordinary people’s behaviour. A house-hold level field experiment, conducted with a representative sample in Lagos, Nigeria, is used to test whether exposure to five different messages about (anti)corruption influence the outcome of a ‘bribery game’. We find that exposure to anti-corruption messages largely fails to discourage the decision to bribe, and in some cases makes individuals more willing to pay a bribe. Importantly, we also find that the effect of anti-corruption messaging is conditioned by an individual’s pre-existing perceptions regarding the prevalence of corruption.
Date made available2021
PublisherHarvard Dataverse


  • anti-corruption
  • bribery
  • messaging
  • experiment
  • awareness-raising

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