Special Issue on The Social Psychology of Coruption

in the European Journal of Social Psychology

Guest Editors:

Jens Lange, University of Hamburg,

Aiysha K. Varraich, University of Gothenburg,

Nils C. Köbis, Max Planck Institute for Human Development,


Corruption poses one of the biggest contemporary societal problems worldwide, leading major international institutions to accelerate efforts to understand and fight corruption (e.g., European Commission, 2023; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2004; World Bank, 2021). It has become increasingly clear that accomplishing these goals requires taking into account insights from the behavioral sciences (e.g., Heywood, 2018; OECD, 2018). As corruption is an inherently social phenomenon that emerges between multiple actors (e.g., De Graaf & Huberts, 2008; Rothstein, 2000), the social psychology of corruption is a growing, international, and interdisciplinary field of research that started addressing this need (e.g., Dorrough et al., 2023; Heywood et al., 2022; Kubbe & Engelbert, 2018; Leib et al., 2021; OECD, 2018; Vilanova et al., 2022; Schwickerath et al., 2016).

The central aim of the special issue is to put together the latest research that examines the social-psychological forces that help to understand and fight corruption, including, but not limited to, (social) norms, power, culture, systemic factors, and social-cognitive processes. We welcome contributions from different disciplines as well as interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research, if the contribution illuminates social-psychological forces shaping corruption. Contributions need to present original research including correlational studies, experiments, qualitative analyses, methodological developments, meta-analyses, or theoretical advances. We especially welcome contributions from scholars from regions typically underrepresented in the behavioral sciences and contributions investigating non-WEIRD or hard-to-study samples. Finally, we strongly encourage adhering to standards of open science.


Submission Details

Authors who plan to submit manuscripts are invited to submit an expression of interest via the following form by August 17, 2023: 


The expression of interest must include:

a) a tentative manuscript title

b) contact information for the corresponding author

c) names and affiliations of all authors

d) a brief description of the manuscript content (up to 600 words) giving key information, if applicable, about theoretical relevance, method, sample details, and (policy) implications


Authors who do not submit an expression of interest by the deadline may still submit manuscripts (no later than December 08, 2023), but these will be considered for the special issue only as space and time allow. Manuscripts (no longer than 10,000 words without abstract, tables, figures, and references) should be prepared in accordance with the editorial guidelines of EJSP (see author guidelines).

Manuscripts should be submitted using the regular EJSP online system, specifying that the submission is for the Special Issue on The social psychology of corruption. The submission website is:


Important Dates

• August 17, 2023: Deadline for expressions of interest (EoI) from potential contributors

• September 08, 2023: Communicating decisions on EoIs and invite full manuscripts

• December 08, 2023: Paper submission deadline

• March 31, 2024: Provisional acceptance of papers (i.e., subject to revisions)

• May 31, 2024: Revised final manuscripts due



De Graaf, G., & Huberts, L. W. J. C. (2008). Portraying the nature of corruption using an explorative case study design. Public Administration Review, 68(4), 640–653.


Dorrough, A. R., Köbis, N., Irlenbusch, B., Shalvi, S., & Glöckner, A. (2023). Conditional bribery: Insights from incentivized experiments across 18 nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(18), e2209731120.


European Commission. (2023). Directive of the European Parliament and of the council on combating corruption.


Heywood, P. M. (2018). Combating corruption in the twenty-first century: New approaches. Daedalus, 147(3), Article 3.


Heywood, P. M., Tonn, J., Samarthya-Howard, A., Dickson La Rotta, V., & Global Integrity Team. (2022). From research to practice: The journey of GI-ACE. Global Integrity.


Kubbe, I., & Engelbert, A. (2018). Corruption and norms: Why informal rules matter. Palgrave.


Leib, M., Köbis, N., Soraperra, I., Weisel, O., & Shalvi, S. (2021). Collaborative dishonesty: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 147(12), 1241–1268.


OECD. (2018). Behavioural insights for public integrity: Harnessing the human factor to counter corruption. OECD.


Rothstein, B. (2000). Trust, social dilemmas and collective memories. Journal of theoretical politics, 12(4), 477-501.


Schwickerath, A. K., Varraich, A., & Smith, L. L. (2016, June). How to research corruption. In Conference Proceedings Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Forum June (pp. 7-8).


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2004). United Nations convention against corruption. UN.


Vilanova, F., Milfont, T. L., & Costa, A. B. (2022). A dual process social psychological model of corrupt intention and attitudes toward corrupt people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 123(4), 854–883.


World Bank. (2021). Combating corruption.