Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Psychological and Cultural Drivers of Corruption"

VU University Amsterdam - Social and Organizational Psychology

PhD Student
Meta Aurelia

Prof.dr. Paul van Lange (VU University Amsterdam)
dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen (VU University Amsterdam)

1 December 2015 - 30 November 2019

Netherlands Fellowship Programme/NUFFIC


This research aims to understand the psychological and cultural factors that predict corruption. We specifically examine moral, social, and cultural dynamics that influence the occurrence of corruption, and how it influences people's moral emotions. As to the moral dynamics, we focus on extent that people perceive moral value, and use moral self-licensing, when committing corruption. As to the social dynamics, we investigate whether loyalty concerns can stimulate corruption (e.g., bribery) within social relationships, and make corruption seem acceptable or even moral. As to the cultural dynamics, we more broadly test meta-relational model of social relationships across two cultures, and how this relates to the presence of corruption within these cultures. We will specifically focus on Indonesia and the Netherlands, given that (1) Indonesia ranks high, and the Netherlands low, on corruption in worldwide comparisons, and (2), we expect Indonesia and the Netherlands to vary greatly in their emphasis on basic models of social relationships, and this comparison thus affords testing the explanatory (and confirmatory) cultural variables for why and how people engage in corruption. Finally, throughout the project we will assess the implications of these dynamics for the moral emotions shame and guilt.

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