Greasing (small) palms: Early rejection of bribery.

Academic Article


  • We tested when U.S. children reject bribery, and whether their rejections vary by public versus private setting. Six- to 10-year-olds (224 children, 118 boys, 106 girls, majority-White) participated across four experiments, in which participants indicated whether a contest judge should accept a contestant's financial gift. Children conveyed their preferences while in public or in private (in the presence or absence of an adult experimenter). Children's rejections of bribes were found to increase with age. Notably, younger children's acceptance rate was higher when the experimenter was present than in their absence; in contrast, older children showed comparable rejection rates across settings. Limitations in children's early reasoning about bribery, including the reputational and moral implications of accepting bribes in public, are discussed.
  • Authors

  • Reyes-Jaquez, Bolivar (Boli)
  • Koenig, Melissa A
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 2022
  • Published In

  • Child Development  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gift Giving
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morals
  • Problem Solving
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 35674011
  • Start Page

  • e531
  • End Page

  • e546
  • Volume

  • 93
  • Issue

  • 5