Volume 1 Issue 7 July 2017

Volume 1 Issue 7

Corruption undermines the effectiveness of governments, slows economic development, and distorts democratic institutions. Muthukrishna et al. experimentally model the cost, causes, and cures for corruption, showing that anti-corruption strategies can occasionally backfire. 

See Muthukrishna et al. 1, (2017).

See also Milinski 1, (2017).

Cover image: Fanatic Studio / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover design: Samantha Whitham.


  • Editorial |

    The on-going European refugee crisis requires a concerted response across EU member states, including policy reform.

Comment and Opinion

  • Comment |

    Basic income is a democratizing reform that is long overdue. A guarantee of basic security is necessary to allow people to stand as more independent. Other institutional adjustments are needed, but basic income will help other policies designed to support human development to be more effective.

    • Louise Haagh
  • Comment |

    We recommend the widespread use of a simple, inexpensive, easy-to-implement, and uniquely powerful tool to improve the transparency and reproducibility of behavioural research — video recordings.

    • Rick O. Gilmore
    •  & Karen E. Adolph

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    Many countries around the world have serious corruption problems at the expense of public welfare. An experimental economic study now identifies conditions that encourage leaders to accept bribes instead of sanctioning free-riders. Possible anti-corruption strategies can have positive effects, fail or even backfire.

    • Manfred Milinski
  • News and Views |

    Effort is costly. People devalue personal rewards that require some measure of physical or even mental effort. Laboratory studies now suggest that physical effort is especially costly when engaged to benefit others. Even when people are willing, however, their efforts are often superficial, with people doing what is necessary but no more.

    • Michael Inzlicht
    •  & Cendri A. Hutcherson


  • Letter |

    How should Europe allocate asylum seekers? Bansak et al. show that a majority of Europeans support allocating asylum seekers proportionally to each country’s capacity, rather than the current policy of allocation based on country of first entry.

    • Kirk Bansak
    • , Jens Hainmueller
    •  & Dominik Hangartner
  • Letter |

    Why does low-quality information go viral? A stylized model of social media predicts that under real-world conditions of high information load and limited attention, low- and high-quality information are equally likely to go viral.

    • Xiaoyan Qiu
    • , Diego F. M. Oliveira
    • , Alireza Sahami Shirazi
    • , Alessandro Flammini
    •  & Filippo Menczer
  • Letter |

    Tannenbaum et al. show that partisan framing influences beliefs about the ethical use of behavioural policy interventions, but both US adults and practising policymakers are accepting of nudges when stripped of partisan cues.

    • David Tannenbaum
    • , Craig R. Fox
    •  & Todd Rogers
  • Letter |

    Lockwood et al. use a real-effort task and computational modelling to examine how individuals choose to expend effort when rewards accrue to themselves versus others. They find that people are less motivated to work for others.

    • Patricia L. Lockwood
    • , Mathilde Hamonet
    • , Samuel H. Zhang
    • , Anya Ratnavel
    • , Florentine U. Salmony
    • , Masud Husain
    •  & Matthew A. J. Apps
  • Letter |

    Peters et al. use intracranial recordings and machine-learning techniques to show that human subjects under-use decision-incongruent evidence in the brain when computing perceptual confidence.

    • Megan A. K. Peters
    • , Thomas Thesen
    • , Yoshiaki D. Ko
    • , Brian Maniscalco
    • , Chad Carlson
    • , Matt Davidson
    • , Werner Doyle
    • , Ruben Kuzniecky
    • , Orrin Devinsky
    • , Eric Halgren
    •  & Hakwan Lau