Navigation Links
UT researcher finds power and corruption may be good for society
Date:12/14/2010

They are familiar scenes: politicians bemoaning the death of family values only for extramarital affairs to be unveiled or politicians preaching financial sacrifice while their expense accounts fatten up.

Moral corruption and power asymmetries are pervasive in human societies, but as it turns out, that may not be such a bad thing.

Francisco beda, an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Edgar Duez of Harvard University found that power and corruption may play a role in maintaining overall societal cooperation.

A report of their research is published in the journal Evolution and can be viewed online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291558-5646/earlyview.

Using game theory, beda and Duez looked at what causes individuals in society to cooperate even though those in charge display some level of corruption. They developed a model that allows individuals who are responsible for punishing noncooperators (e.g., law enforcers and government officials) to fail to cooperate themselves by acting in a corrupt manner. They also considered the possibility that these law enforcers, by virtue of their positions, are able to sidestep punishment when they are caught failing to cooperate.

What they found is that the bulk of society cooperates because there are law enforcers forcing them to stay in line. People tend to cooperate because they do not want to get punished.

Even if the law enforcers consider themselves above the law and behave in a corrupt way, overall societal cooperation is maintained as long as there is a small amount of power and corruption. However, if the law enforcers have too much power and corruption runs rampant, overall societal cooperation breaks down.

beda explained how it works:

"Law enforcers often enjoy privileges that allow them to avoid the full force of the law when they breach it. Law enforcing results in the general public abiding by the law. Thus law enforcers enjoy the benefits of a lawful society and are compensated for their law enforcing by being able to dodge the law," he said.

The researchers concluded that power and corruption benefit society; without law enforcers, individuals have less incentive to cooperate and without power and corruption, law enforcers have less incentive to do their job.

The researchers' findings have far-reaching implications. In biology, they may help explain corrupt behaviors in social insects. In economics, the findings may aid in formulating policies by providing insights on how to harness corruption to benefit society. In the field of psychology, the findings provide a justification to the correlation between power and corruption observed in humans.


'/>"/>

Contact: Whitney Holmes
wholmes7@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Freshwater sustainability challenges shared by Southwest and Southeast, researchers find
2. Forest Service researcher receives prestigious Presidential award
3. Epilepsy researcher at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia receives scientific prize
4. MGH researchers develop faster method of engineering zinc-finger nucleases
5. Researcher develops accurate method for detecting dangerous fluoride
6. Researchers discover how natural drug fights inflammation
7. Genetic studies of human evolution win researcher 2011 Gani Medal
8. Researchers devise computer model for projecting severity of flu season
9. NIH awards $6.4 million to Case Western Reserve School of Medicine researchers
10. Researchers discover a way to delay Christmas tree needle loss
11. Researchers: Include data about societal values in endangered species decisions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and ... business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ ... project. This collaboration will result in greater convenience ... credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow and ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... , November 30, 2016 The global ... few players hold a dominant share in the overall ... Laboratories International, Inc., and Merck KGaA, held a lion,s ... Transparency Market Research observes that these companies are expected ... development products that are do not require rabbit pyrogen ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare ... coordination solutions, has been recognized as one of the ... 100, an annual international listing that distinguishes the top ... "We,ve pushed a great step forward this year continually ... growing our own customer base and team," says ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... -- Part of 5m$ Investment in Integrated Drug ... , ... today announced that it had successfully completed the expansion of ... increased the Screening Collection to over 400,000. The new compounds ... the company. This expansion, complemented by new robotics and compound ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Triangle Park, NC (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... development company engaged in the development of a new orally administered treatment for ... testing and neuroimaging results of a Phase 2a clinical trial of T3D-959 in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: