Bribery in International Business Transactions

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Globalization leads to cross-border business transactions between societies with very different norms and regulations regarding bribery. Bribery in international business transactions can be seen as a function of not only the demand for such bribes in different countries, but the supply, or willingness to provide bribes by multinational firms and their representatives. This study addresses the propensity of firms from 30 different countries to engage in international bribery. The study incorporates both domestic (economic development, culture, and domestic corruption in the supplying country) and international factors (those countries' patterns of trade and involvement in international accords) in explaining the willingness to bribe abroad. The propensity to provide bribes was the lowest when corruption was not tolerated in the multinational firms' home countries, when the firms' countries were signatories of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) anti-bribery convention, and when those countries traded heavily with wealthier nations. Further, these findings are maintained when controlling for levels of economic development and cultural values in the supplying country. In terms of culture, firms from high power distance countries showed a somewhat greater propensity for providing bribes in transactions with less-developed nations.