Do People Pay Higher Bribes for Urgent Services ? : Evidence from Informal Payements to Doctors in Vietnam
Bribes, Corruption, Doctors, Acute Diseases
We study how the urgency of a public service affects its corruption level by analyzing thousands of reported bribes made by inpatients to doctors and nurses in Vietnam. Although it is commonly expected that citizens need to pay a higher bribe to receive a more valuable or urgent service, we find the opposite. Acute patients, despite having conceivably higher benefits of treatment, are 8 percentage points less likely than non-acute patients to pay bribes. If they do, they pay 18% less in bribes. This behavior suggests that even in a highly corrupt environment, public servants face an incentive to provide important services for citizens. To understand this incentive, we show that acute patients pay relatively lower bribes in facilities that are better monitored and audited more frequently.