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:4/5/2017)... -- KEY FINDINGS The global market for ... of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The ... the growth of the stem cell market. ... INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented on ... stem cell market of the product is segmented into ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data ... precision engineering platform, detected a statistically significant ... product prior to treatment and objective response ... the potential to predict whether cancer patients ... to treatment, as well as to improve ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong ... identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching ... and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security ... ... A research team led by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Recent ... cell type. Many treatments for specific cancers, such as breast, prostate, or lung, ... is androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer. , This therapy limits ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Today, 3Bar ... has secured $2M in funding from an impressive group of investors, including Rev1 ... Thrive Fund. With this investment, 3Bar is broadening availability of its groundbreaking offering ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... edition of the Inc. 5000 features a now-familiar name: BioPoint ( http://biopointinc.com/ ... list for the third year in a row. Now in its 36th ... a set of quantitative metrics. In addition, BioPoint was also named to ... Bay State . ... ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... , Aug. 15, 2017 After spending the past ... support with crowdsourced data collection, GeneFo now offers this platform to ... aligning and amplifying support, adherence, and data collection vis a vis ... foundations mark the successful launch of this offer. ... GeneFo ...
Breaking Biology Technology: