Abstract for: Going with the flow: corruption in tax agencies

Corruption is a widespread “wicked” problem in the world, whose roots are still poorly understood by policy makers. The paper summarized the findings from the behavioral ethics literature, assembling a model to explain the creation and solidification of a culture of corruption in tax agencies in Brazil. The model represents the conversion of honest tax auditors into corrupt ones based on a process of rationalization that responds to social norms, the magnitude of illegal rewards, perceived risk and job quality. Four policies are simulated and only a policy that combines multiple interventions produce positive results. Overall, the model shows that a culture of corruption can be created and disseminated in few years, becoming resistant to change inasmuch as corrupt auditors occupy management positions and create alliances with politicians.