Corrupted by Commerce?

Many people claim that commodification, transforming a good or activity into a commodity bought and sold on a market, corrupts that good or activity. As Michael Sandel puts it:

Putting a price on the good things in life can corrupt them. That’s because markets don’t only allocate goods; they express and promote certain attitudes toward the goods being exchanged.

But few people have tested this idea which is why I loved Stephen Clowney’s Does Commodification Corrupt? Lessons from Paintings and Prostitutes. Clowney does something simple. He interviews art appraisers and male escorts, people who live with commodification, and asks them about art and sex. In short he uses the “lived experiences of those affected by commodification” to test whether commodification corrupts.

Does appraising art, for example, reduce the appraiser’s appreciation for art the way working in a pork factory might reduce a worker’s appetite for bacon?

Scott Altman, a legal scholar who has studied commodification, perfectly captures the standard market skeptic position: “[s]omeone who spends all day estimating the value of art might eventually have difficulty appreciating art in any way other than as worth a certain amount.”

What does Clowney find?

Of the twenty assessors interviewed for this study, not one reported that market work disfigured their ability to enjoy the emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic qualities of artistic masterworks. In fact, most appraisers insisted they can easily and completely compartmentalize their professional duties from their private encounters with art. This finding challenges the panicked rhetoric of many anti-commodification theorists who continue to insist that commerce diminishes the meaning of sacred things. Contrary to the predictions of market skeptics, the appraisers in this study spoke with joyful enthusiasm about their experiences viewing exceptional works of art. Even the most senior appraisers—those who have monetized thousands and thousands of objects—remain passionate consumers of art in their personal lives.

…Jane C.H. Jacob, an appraiser with thirty-five years of experience, explained, “[the appraisal work] does not corrode my enjoyment at all. I never get tired of looking at art. Never bored. I love art more now than I did 20 years ago.” She continued, “[f]or me, the joy is being able to experience it and inspect it. Listen, I don’t love art because of the price, but because of the way I respond to it. When I see [Monet’s] Water Lilies I never don’t get excited. A tear comes to my eye.”

In fact “a majority of the assessors stated that ascribing values to art actually increased their admiration for paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other creative work.”

But how could that be so? Given the widely reported dangers of commodification, how could non-instrumental values blossom in the hard soil of the marketplace? Anti-commodification scholars, it seems, have failed to appreciate that market work is a powerful educational agent that breaks the stale cake of ignorance, turns apathy into understanding, and nurtures new insights about the sacred. Imagine, for example, an appraiser confronted with attaching value to Mary Cassatt’s painting, Young Mother Sewing. Anyone attempting to price such an object must, at the outset, become well-versed in the artist’s career, the provenance of the work, and the ethos of the larger impressionist movement. Then, the appraiser must probe to explain whether the painting is a “good, better, or best” example of Cassatt’s work.

… Arch-anti-commodificationist Elizabeth Anderson even suggests that those who engage in ranking and valuation of art are “philistines, snobs, and prigs, precisely those least open to a free exploration and development of  their aesthetic sensibilities.” But that is quite wrong. Commodification does not render these artworks flat and fungible. And it is not carried out by Philistines. Just the opposite. Putting an accurate price on sacred objects demands education, rigorous training, and cultivation of the eye. Appraisers must understand the objects on an intimate level in order to properly evaluate their quality and make suitable comparisons between seemingly disparate works. Such knowledge only enhances appreciation for the way that creative work can exhilarate, sooth, baffle, enlighten, and uplift.

See also Tyler’s classic In Praise of Commercial Culture on these points.

What about sex?

In a sprawling literature, commentators have argued that exchanging sex for money “commodif[ies] sexuality,” degrades intimacy, “impedes human flourishing,” and foments attitudes that undermine the sacredness of the body. In short: market skeptics believe that prostitution corrupts the meaning of sex.

Clowney interviewed male escorts because he argues that the market in male escorts is freer and more developed. Male escorts, for example, are less likely to be abused by the police or pimps. Some will question that choice but for the purposes of the commodification theory it should still be the case that commodification degrades sex for the male escorts. Does it?

the escorts I interviewed insisted that selling physical intimacy did not corrupt their understanding of sex. While the physical demands of the job often left the interviewees feeling exhausted, each of the prostitutes revealed that they continued to experience the loving (and joyfully profane) virtues of the sexual act. Indeed, a majority of escorts confided that their market work positively impacted their private lives—commercial sex honed their sexual skills, boosted their confidence, and deepened their understanding of other men.

For these men, sex remained a joyful and cherished activity, even after years of selling their bodies.A strong majority of the escorts reported that engaging in commercial sexual activities actually improved the quality of their private lives and their appreciation for sacred things.Just as appraisal work revealed new insights about the creative process, prostitution taught the interviewees about the complexity of desire, gave them a deeper understanding of the sexual act, and enhanced their ability to satisfy a private partner.

Thus, far from turning sex into a flat and interchangeable commodity, market work deepened the escorts’ understanding of physical intimacy. Sex work instilled the importance of honest communication between partners, revealed that men have many different (and often colorful) needs, and showed that not all fantasies can be met by working off the same script. On these points, the market is an exacting teacher.

Clowney’s paper is a highly original, major new work in the commodification literature and contains much more of interest. Read the whole thing.


Yeah. I definitely trust these people to tell me that they don't enjoy art which is what their lives are about. Also, the male prostitutes, they are definitely looking to say that sex is just a mechanical act to them but they are doing it for the buck. I love self reported studies. Crap in crap out.

Everything is commensurable in a marketplace but reservation prices can't compensate for the externalities of consumer surplus and producer mitigation.

Agreed. Whatever they may or may not really feel, these people are simply saying what they think their customers want to hear.


I get lied to occasionally by the women in my life now, and I'm not paying them. Economically I would overwhelmingly prefer to pay a prostitute to paint my house than shovel me BS. That being said, I do have more respect for a prostitute than I do someone who actually pays for's like buying a bowling trophy and putting it on your shelf except you don't bowl. It's right up there with honorary degrees.

>it's like buying a bowling trophy

Yeah, I don't think that's accurate.

A friend of mine from Colombia told me that as a high school graduation present his father took him and his friends to a brothel. I said that I thought that was a little unusual. He replied that there it's more frowned upon to get the neighbor's daughter pregnant than to purchase sex.

Ok, so what experiment could you do that would properly test the hypothesis that commodification corrupts?

My thoughts exactly. Why should I trust what anti-commercial theorists say about these people over the people themselves? Self-reports are far from perfect, but they're still better than the free-wheeling theorists.

maybe.. (and I'm just spit-balling here, don't shoot the messenger):

Take a bunch of people and make them view a set number of pieces of art, and provide ratings of the art on a scale.

Randomly ask half the people to also estimate the monetary value of the art. Maybe you set it up so that 25% estimate value of all of it, 25% 2/3rds, 25% 1/3rd, 25% none.

Revisit 6 months later, ask them to review the art again. If the commodification corrupts, I would expect that the ratings would go down for the people who monetized the art, and go down more for the people who monetized more of the art.

So a bad experiment is better than no experiment??

"I seem, then, in just this little thing to be wiser than this man at any rate, that what I do not know I do not think I know either." - Socrates

I seem to recall some psychology literature that found that as financial considerations changed, so did individuals' attitudes towards a given activity. For example, as salaries rose in professional sports after the advent of free agency, players cared less about winning or camaraderie with teammates and more about just gettin' paid. This was like 15-20 years ago, so don't ask me for any details.

That doesn’t really show commoditification corrupting, it just shows it affecting people’s tastes, which I don’t see any reason to think is necessarily a bad thing.

The example given of appraising a famous painting by a famous painter would seem like the opposite of "commodification." The art market isn't selling hog bellies, it's selling the promise or hope of uniqueness: this painting was physically created by the unique artist Mary Cassatt and it is, ideally, unique even among Cassatt paintings.

There are a number of issues here, including the efficiency of markets. Does the market in works of art provide an accurate measure of the value of art? Does the market in company stock provide an accurate measure of the value of stock? Those who worship at the altar of markets certainly believe it. Tabarrok believes in markets, so much so that he would de-regulate the development and production of drugs because the market in drugs would produce only safe and efficacious drugs. In theory, that's true. I don't doubt that turning drugs into a commodity traded on a frictionless market would deepen the participants' (manufacturers of drugs, investors in manufacturers of drugs, purchasers of drugs) understanding and knowledge of drugs and enhance both the safety and efficacy of drugs. My observation is that markets sometimes fail, and fail spectacularly. For example, the market in presidents produced Trump.

the market in drugs would produce only safe and efficacious drugs. In theory, that's true.

I have no idea whether Alex believes that or not, but I do know that it's not remotely true in any sensible theory.

But first things first: Monet's water lilies or Picasso's xyz or Some-self-loathing-stupid-european-with-a-brush-and-some-paints-in-1600s abc or whatever it is in medieval or impressionist groupings, they are not 'commodities'. They are just one of each (in this universe, keeping parallel universes and alternate universes apart). So what the h 'commodification' are you first referring to here w.r.t art. Or for that matter Hampi Chennakeshava Temple of Sistine Chapel or Thanjavur Big Temple or Angkorwat Complex. There just is one and only one and you can't commodify them - except may be in replicas or imitations.

Belur Chennakeshava. Not Hampi.

How does he overcome selection bias? (Have not read paper yet). It seems likely that the effects of commodification would vary from person to person. The people still working in the industry, enjoying it enough to continue working in it! And willing to be interviewed select for people who don't get negative effects from commodification. Also most humans will rationalize their actions and results in a positive light. Would be better to monitor the groups behavior. What is their frequency of going to appreciate these things outside of work.

Monitor and compare it to the behavior of, say, art collectors. That would be the control group this study needs.

The entire time, I kept equating commodification as the thing that all entrepreneurs and first movers strenuously avoid, as commodification involves a disappearing profit margin. Sugar or salt are fine examples of commodities, and though a sea salt seller may try to resist commodification, it is a miniscule niche market at best.

Obviously, in terms of the greatest good for the greatest number, commodification is the greatest thing the market has to offer. As can be seen by the entire history of the IT industry. Even including Apple's concerted generation long attempt to take advantage of commodification while profiting from buyers thinking that Apple offers something other than mass market IT products.

Yes, the greatest good for the greatest number is a good point. In the past before commodification something like fine art might be viewable only to its elite patrons in some kind of private collection but now such art could be viewed by anyone online. Even if the marginal person viewing the art online doesn’t appreciate it as much as Lord So-And-So who commissioned it, the enjoyment is still a net positive and doesn’t detract from Lord So-And-So’s enjoyment (unless he was just using his exclusivity to flaunt his wealth to begin with).

“ The entire time, I kept equating commodification...”

Agreed. I kept wondering what commodification meant in this context and it distracted me.

Probably commodification in the Marxist sense, where it just means stuff that gets traded in a market, and is therefore bad because of [Litany of Psychobabble].

Right, this paper isn't using "commodify" the way that economists and MBAs use the word: to standardize a product to reduce costs, especially transaction costs.

Instead, they are using "commodify" in the Marxist sense: "tainted by money."

Commodification comes mostly from buyers and not from sellers in my opinion. You need to somewhat enjoy the job you're doing to last in the art or sex industry.

How do you know?

Commodification is good because it allows more people to enjoy otherwise scarce resources. The commodification of art through art dealing allows artists to get paid for their work which allows and encourages more people to produce a bigger variety of art compared to a world where art is not traded so only independently wealthy people can become artists. Similarly, the commodification of sex through prostitution would allow more people to enjoy a greater quality and variety of that pleasure, whereas a world without prostitution is one where the most attractive and charismatic people get most of the sex and many other people are left with sexual frustration that sometimes unfortunately explodes into violence.

It's funny, because many posit the complete opposite. Today, the only way to make it as an artist is to already be independently wealthy.

Cézanne was, Van Gogh had a brother, Duchamp was, Burroughs had his parents

Sex and art are some of most niche industries out there. So it barely represents commerce and barely represents commodification. For a real example, look at Amazon and Walmart where everything on display is a commodity. Consumers are trained to look only at price which forces production overseas to places that cut the most corners like China. In this case, which is a big one, it leads to corruption.

Most consumers look at both quality and price. Otherwise everything would be the same price and there would be no such thing as a luxury brand.

It’s also a quite stereotyped view to think everything made in China is just competing on price. There’s junk made in China and good stuff made in China, same as anywhere else. I trust the individual brand more than the country of origin—and this is all the easier in an age of easily accessible reviews from other consumers.

Sex and art are two markets that the commodification school have focused on.

Fake reviews on sites like Amazon are overtaking the legit ones as businesses learn to game the system. This is another example of both commodification and corruption. As the political establishment of the US learned in 2016, the web is rife with disinformation. Buyer beware.

Maybe I'm getting old but narratives showing the "importance of honest communication" or "appreciation for the way that creative work can exhilarate, sooth, baffle, enlighten, and uplift" doesn't work for me anymore. I just prefer facts, charts, and data over stories written in flowery prose.

Yeah. The quotes reek of advocacy rather than analysis.

"Sacred things" was my gag point.

Why can't we just let the demi-monde be the demi-monde?

What is the "incorruptible" version of gay sex - would that be between loving, monogamous, old-marrieds, or that between strangers absent payment, or something in between - they are invoking or assuming?

Asking art appraisers if their profession corrupts the art world is like asking a JP Morgan Director if his work corrupts finance.

And surveying sex workers strikes me as a process in massive need of controls. Surveyor: "is your experience with sex better now, or better when you were sixteen years old, living on the streets, ashamed of your sexuality, and trading sex with strangers for drugs?"

* I am not saying that is the only path into sex work, I am saying that's why they need some controls.

You want corruption in commerce? How about private equity holding hospitals for ransom if they don't get their publicly funded bailouts?

"Pennsylvania’s governor was urgently preparing for a surge in Covid-19 cases last month when a private-equity-owned hospital said it would shut its doors unless the state secured a $40 million bailout."

When your business model is to load up on exorbitant sums of debt, why should taxpayers bail you out when the bill comes due?

China built over a dozen new hospitals during the pandemic. In the US, nothing was built, hospitals instead threaten to close down if they don't get money from the state. Is the US getting outplayed by Marxists?

When you control your country's media lock and stock, you can make yourself look good. When America's news organizations I've decided inexplicably to treat " news " coming out of your country as gospel you can make yourself look even better.

Anyone whose IQ would at least make a respectable basketball score knows better than to believe either sort of propaganda mouthpiece.

They wanted to know if frequent, meaningless sex cheapened the sexual experience... so they asked a bunch of guys. Turns out the guys were fine with it.

This is some groundbreaking stuff, Alex.

And all homosexuals to boot.

They were the customers. lol

Many people claim that commodification, transforming a good or activity into a commodity bought and sold on a market, corrupts that good or activity.

People who hold this opinion should be prohibited from receiving money for writing, speaking, teaching, and researching, lest these activities of theirs be corrupted by trading them for money.

Indeed, to help ensure that they aren't doing it for indirect compensation, they should be charged substantial amounts of money every time they express their opinions about anything. That way we can ensure that they value expressing the ideas for their own sake, not because of attitudes expressed and promoted by commerce in them.


I wonder if Michael Sandel and other Harvard professors should be worried about corruption by their administrators' dealings with China.

It’s more than just interviews.

From the conclusion: “ The promise of a world without competitive markets is seductive. Marx knew this. The kibbutzniks, too. Our sympathies drift toward claims that we can achieve material abundance without the amoral and unruly beat of commerce. And during the last twenty years, no group has argued more passionately (or more effectively) against the preeminence of market- thinking than a loosely organized bloc of philosophers and legal-theorists, often referred to as the anti-commodificationists. They contend that the logic of bargain and sale endangers the meaning of goods with moral or civic value. The demands of the market, they allege, inevitably coarsen our understandings of sacred things and ultimately promote inferior conceptions of the good life.

At base, this Article pushes back against the cornerstone promise of anti-commodification theory and attempts to force scholarly attention on the empirical weakness of the market skeptics’ claims.”

This is way too highfaluten.

This isnt a very suprising result. Any attempt to control for the obvious bias?

I'm having a hard time understanding why the authors consider self-reported public opinion to be obviously wrong, yet the self-reported opinion of tiny minorities to be obviously correct.

Oh I bet we can guess why...

Obviously apples and oranges? Asking people if they believe the commodification of sex degrades it tells us nothing about whether it actually degrades it; for that you have to ask people actually commodify sex.

If people’s abstract opinions about activities they don’t engage are bad only tells us their subjective value judgements about those activities, not how people who do engage in them experience them.

Great observation for points of data collection for comparison. *thumbs up*

Did a test drive of a car a few weeks ago. The talk was all about customization. The seller never mention the wheel hubs have the exact same 5 studs on all the models, he focused on unique wheel models, seats, interiors, brakes, rear axle steering, etc.

I don't think commodification corrupts, but the market pays a little or a lot more for the illusion of buying something "special". That includes cars fully loaded, paintings of an specific artist and prostitutes with repeat customers.

I don't see how this is evidence of anything. The sample is small and not random. Don't get me wrong. I think qualitative studies like this are great. But only as sources of theory. Without randomization and sufficient power, they prove absolutely nothing.

Selection bias? One would assume that those who enjoy art and sex would be most successful at them as professions, and those that don't or become jaded would drop out.

many anti-commodification theorists who continue to insist that commerce diminishes the meaning of sacred things"

Art is a sacred thing? Man. that is f***ed.

Yeah, well, the 19th Century moron Schopenhauer has a lot of modern idiot followers who apparently never noticed that the whole Renaissance was work done on commission.

Suppose you sleep with a "private partner", who unexpectedly insists on giving you a crisp one-dollar bill afterwards. How do you react?

Homo economicus might reason that $1 is always better than the $0 you were clearly willing to accept earlier. But it corrupts a mutual-gift interaction into a commercial transaction.

Free can be priceless. Assign a price and it can't be priceless anymore. An insultingly low price is merely adding insult to injury. Putting a price on it was the injury.

You can't explain "1 < 0" without recourse to psychology. Whatever explanation you devise can be broadly labeled as "corruption".

People can compartmentalize gift transactions and commercial transactions if the parameters are crystal clear from the start. Blur the line in mid-transaction, and every single one of the male escorts and art appraisers in the survey would react negatively.

1. "But it corrupts a mutual-gift interaction into a commercial transaction."

I think the very point is to address the presumption behind your judgement that every transformation of 'mutual gift interaction' into a 'commercial transaction' is a 'corruption'.

2. If by free you mean $0 then you have already assigned a price, so by your own account free is not priceless, in fact it does have a price and you have just assigned it - the price of zero dollars. Then the standard laws of arithmetic dictates it is less than $1. I am sympathetic to this confusion. It took a long time to come up with the notion of zero.

“ Free can be priceless. Assign a price and it can't be priceless anymore. An insultingly low price is merely adding insult to injury. Putting a price on it was the injury.”

I think some version of this is what the anti-commodification crowd have in mind ... or rather at the back of their minds, motivating their hostility to the market. Isn’t it Kantian? The idea that some things are inherently ends in themselves?

Disagree. I'm learning to play an instrument and I have a teacher (a friend). At the same time I'm teaching another instrument another friend. I'm paying the lessons (I kind of insisted on this), I'm not being paid, though the friend gave me some christmas presents that would probably be on par with what she would pay to some teacher. I had another teacher who I was unable to persuade to accept money and it didn't last.

It is hard to ask others some personal questions, yet those being asked don't feel bad about answering them. It feels bad to ask a friend to pay you for a service, yet in the end it actually makes the transaction possible and doesn't interfere with the friendship at all. It actually feels better in the end because you don't have the feeling that you are exploiting your friendship and, honestly, it's much easier to give money than devise appropriate christmas gifts (my student has a very good taste though).

This reminds me of Charles "Greening of America" Reich's autobiography The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef". Until well into his twenties, he had refused to admit to himself that he was gay, and was still a virgin. But during a summer in San Francisco away from Yale Law, he procured a gay prostitute. He thinks that, unlike heterosexual prostitutes, this guy is great, an artist. In fact, he seems to think of most gay male prostitutes that way. The self-description of the "male escorts" sounded very familiar.

Indeed, as opposed to homeless teens

My intuition is it is not the idea of commodification per se that bothers people so much, rather it is certain consequences of the neighbouring notion of fungibility. Under which my honest, heard-earned hundred bucks is made equivalent to another’s ill-gotten hundred bucks.

One can put it another way: it is how the very human aversion to free-riders manifest among those who are of the socialist bent, instead of the more obvious way.

For the art market, an interesting take on the alternative (vaguely corrupting and pernicious influence of money) is given in Michael Lewis’ Against The Rules series.!7616f

Hope this joker enjoyed the golden age of academia, before the coronavirus Depression wiped out the funding of idiotic research life this.

Few have tested the theory because the theory is not to date testable. There is no reliable psychometrics for whether an object "has been corrupted" and certainly not for whether it's inevitably so. Anti-commodificationists have much better arguments on their side.

Don’t you also have to ask the former art appraisers who left the profession for whatever reason & check to see if they left because pricing art ruined the aesthetics for them?

This study seems like it suffers from a data problem.

> “ Anti-commodification scholars, it seems, have failed to appreciate that market work is a powerful educational agent that breaks the stale cake of ignorance, turns apathy into understanding, and nurtures new insights about the sacred.“

> “ Putting an accurate price on sacred objects demands education, rigorous training, and cultivation of the eye. Appraisers must understand the objects on an intimate level in order to properly evaluate their quality and make suitable comparisons between seemingly disparate works. Such knowledge only enhances appreciation for the way that creative work can exhilarate, sooth, baffle, enlighten, and uplift.”

+1. Reminds me of this clip (2 min) from Feynman on the difference in appreciation between atomists and holists, which I think maps onto scientists and artists.

Exchanging money or other valuable considerations for sex or other valued services, or temporary access to one's physical body, should NEVER be permitted. That is NOT OK!
Copulation was designed for reproduction, and it should stay that way. Sex for "enjoyment", not to exclude, so-called "mutual pleasure" (all sex is rape by the way) is even WORSE! because it's SELFISH! Also because it is permitted in Islam (although it would be wrong to judge, and I'm not judging.)
Likewise people who think they are freely, within the constraints of their reality, pursuing their self-interest by exchanging something they have or can do for something they want, should be prevented from doing that, because it is WRONG!
Personally, in order to avoid breaking Poe's Law or whatever, I should indicate that this is what I read on the internet. I acknowledge that some people may disagree.
By all means if you want to restrict people's freedom of choice and action, do so, but come up with better reasons than because it's wrong, not OK, or some fake human trafficking, false consciousness claims.
Regrettablly, MR is becoming a click-bait troll site. Hopefully when Tyler recovers from his COVID19 panic he'll be able to salvage a bit of his credibility.

Hello. I have been a scientist for six years, a male sex worker for thirteen years and an artist most of my life. For your follow up studies, I want to see the following additions to methodology:

Take the time to actively build relationships with members in the art and sex work businesses. You will not have access to poor, marginal, part-time or mistrusting individuals who have been exploited or misrepresented, but your contacts might. This will require more time to build trust with respondents. This will increase your testing population and create more inclusive representation of answers.

To address the desirability bias of the self-reporting, followup questions can be asked, such as "How much do other artists/sexworkers you know overcharge or undercharge?" "Are the practices of competitors fair?" "What good or bad things do they do in order to get advantages or avoid disadvantages?"

These responses will show the difference between self-perception and competitive peer perception within the same business context by people more knowledgeable to assess.

Then, there needs to be a better definition of "corruption."
What does a population consider corrupt? Different codes of conduct have evolved from community needs to be met. Is corruption defined by the participants or people who have nothing to do with the transaction?

Corruption can be assessed and quantified with questions along the following themes:

"What kind of methods and tips do you use to earn the belief and trust of others?

"What is a difficult ethical situation you have to deal with during business and how do you solve the problem?"

"What are the ethical rules of conduct in your business?"

"How often are you still satisfied?"

Me personally, most days I enjoy making art and intimacy. Some days I feel like I don't want to see anyone at all, because I'm tired, or my interests change, or I have nasty callers. Does my temporary/occasional dissatisfaction invalidate my general satisfaction with the sacred act or the benefits thereof? Do I need to cry for you, or show you scars, or videos of me being happy for you to take my word about my own life?

But if I didn't have enough money, like some of my coworkers, and had to create or perform or not pay rent, then I would resent being put into a corner and associate it with the act.

Some situations are bad. Resentment, opportunism, exploitation, jadedness, by customers and creators on both sides. These come mostly from feeling we don't have a choice of what to create, but have to respond to circumstances we are in with the resources and support we have available at the time until we can move to a better situation.

Bad clients will take advantage of workers in weakened and unprotected positions. Corruption takes the form of aggressive negative negotiating tactics, asking the professional to take unsafe risks, withhold payment assurance, withholding honest communication more frequently, or actively causing harm to reputation or livelihood.

When workers have more choices of who to work with, they can resist corrupt practices. When clients have open communication with different workers, they can select workers of preferred integrity level with the support of competitor observations.

I hope this reply will help create a follow up study that collects more effective empirical evidence to answer the question.

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