Meanwhile, to stamp out embezzlement, the government calls on senior administrators to clean up the programme; simultaneously, it increases wages for all municipal administrators to “change the calculation” against corruption.
Despite these measures, one year later the beneficiaries are still turning up with basic foodstuffs, and an external audit finds the same amount of leakage in the programme’s finances.
Further investigation reveals that beneficiaries have been told that to receive the assistance to which they are entitled, they should “show some gratitude” in return.
Based on reports indicating that public officials indeed demand such “gifts” as a condition of providing the cash assistance, journalists have started to label the administration of the system as “extortive.” The practice contradicts the programme’s intended purpose of providing a basic safety net – indeed, extracting precious foodstuffs would seem to exacerbate the poverty of the beneficiaries.
The purpose of a social norms approach to policy design, then, is to relieve these social normative pressures so that behaviour can change.
And while much of the current discourse speaks of the “norm of corruption,” we recognise that there is not just one corruption norm but rather various social norms that exert diverse influences on corruption.People engage in a certain practice because they believe (correctly or incorrectly) that it is common: that it is what other people in their community, organisation, or network do. When it comes to bribery, descriptive norms are captured in the explanation “I pay bribes because everybody does” (Köbis et al. The second aspect of social norms refers to the perceived acceptability of a given behaviour: whether it is considered right or wrong, a socially appropriate course of action or not (Bicchieri and Mercier 2014).This might be captured in a statement like “Giving gifts to officials in exchange for services isn’t wrong because you are showing your gratitude for their help.” This is called an .While most policy thinking on social norms and corruption draws from a sociological tradition, we make use of a social-psychological perspective to help explain where norms come from and how they might change.We argue that the threat of social sanctions for social norm violations creates multiple that reinforce and lock in certain behaviours that sustain corrupt practices.And there may be social sanctions for violating these norms.The importance of social norms in sustaining corrupt practices is increasingly recognised in the literature.In the example above, a particular citizen who queues to receive the cash assistance might like or dislike the fact that one has to bring foodstuffs to receive the cash.However, these individual opinions do not fully explain the emergence and persistence of socially embedded, perceptions, attitudes, and expectations—in other words, social norms.Across academic disciplines, studies have identified two main types of social norms.First, there are norms based on the perceived frequency of a given behaviour.