Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dishonesty and Selection into Public Service

Dishonesty and Selection into Public Service

In this paper, we demonstrate that university students who cheat on a
simple task in a laboratory setting are more likely to state a
preference for entering public service. Importantly, we also show that
cheating on this task is predictive of corrupt behavior by real
government workers, implying that this measure captures a meaningful
propensity towards corruption. Students who demonstrate lower levels of
prosocial preferences in the laboratory games are also more likely to
prefer to enter the government, while outcomes on explicit, two-player
games to measure cheating and attitudinal measures of corruption do not
systematically predict job preferences. We find that a screening process
that chooses the highest ability applicants would not alter the average
propensity for corruption among the applicant pool. Our findings imply
that differential selection into government may contribute, in part, to
corruption. They also emphasize that screening characteristics other
than ability may be useful in reducing corruption, but caution that more
explicit measures may offer little predictive power.


Venal scum choose bureaucrat jobs. Wonder why? Is it the overpayment, or the lack of oversight? Or just the pleasure of being paid to do nothing of any value or merit whilst having the time to top score in online games or spend all day eating junk food at their empty desk?

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