Egoism, grupplojalitet och korruption i svensk kommunalpolitik: Lärdomar från spelteori och experimentell samhällsvetenskap


  • Andreas Bergh
  • Gissur Erlingsson
  • Mats Sjölin


Egoism, group loyalty and corruption in Swedish local politics: Lessons from game theory and experimental social science. Recent advances in game theory and experimental social science provide insights for the study of corruption and abuse of power in local politics. We survey the evidence from theoretical and experimental research and illustrate findings and problems with two examples from a survey among local politicians and officials in Sweden. The most simplified theoretical models, such as the prisoner’s dilemma, fail to capture the distinction between group loyal behavior at different levels. There are several greyzones between pro-social behavior and corruption. These greyzones can be considered corruption danger zones. While Sweden is typically seen as a non-corrupt society, there are several situations where local politicians and officials must make choices in these corruption danger zones. Both formal institutions and informal norms influence these choices, and the views among politicians can vary substantially regarding what behavior is considered acceptable. Communication, openness and public debate can help the fight against corruption.