Mr N.C. (Nils) Köbis

  • Faculty of Economics and Business
    Section Microeconomics
  • Visiting address
    REC E
    Roetersstraat 11  
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15867
    1001 NJ  Amsterdam

As one of the few social-psychologists working on corruption Nils' work covers wide range of research questions, such as: What are the different forms of corruption and what are the psychological decision-making process involved (see paper here)? What role do social norms play in bribery (see our open access paper here)? Or how does corruption unfold over time (paper here)?

Transparency International has been kind enough to invite me to join Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Solutions and Knowledge Network of Experts and in 2017, I have become a member of the UNODC Education for Justice Expert Roundtable that aims to foster tertiary education on anti-corruption. I have also co-authored policy reports for the Dutch Tax Authority and the Anti-Corruption Resource Center (U4).

Studying corruption, especially through interdisciplinary collaborations, has been a passion of mine ever since my Research Master, and as a result I have co-founded of the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network. Together with other network members I have organized two conference on the topic, so called ICR Forums: the first ICR Forum took place in 2016 in Amsterdam and examined the question: "How to Research Corruption?". The second ICR Forum took place in 2017 Paris and asked "How to Conceptualize Corruption?". The next Forum will be at the University of Gothenburg in 2018.

First-authored publications:


Köbis, N. C., van Prooijen, J.-W., Righetti, F., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2017). The road to bribery and corruption: Slippery slope or steep cliff? Psychological Science, 1, 1–10.

Köbis, N. C. and Huss, O. (2018) ‘Ein Atlas zur Unterscheidung von Korruptionsformen’, in Graeff, P. and Wolf, S. (eds) Korruptionsbekämpfung vermitteln. Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer, pp. 153–181. doi: 10.1007/978-3-658-19016-3.

Köbis, N. C., Iragorri, D. and Starke, C. (2017) ‘A Social Psychological View on the Social Norms of Corruption’, in Kubbe, I. and Engelbert, A. (eds) Corruption and Norms - Why Informal Rules Matter. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.doi:10.1007/978-3-319-66254-1

Köbis, N. C. and Starke, C. (2017) ‘Why did the Panama Papers (not) shatter the world? The relationship between Journalism and Corruption’, in Schwickerath, A., Varraich, A., and Lee-Smith, L. (eds) Proceedings of the First Forum of Interdisciplinary Corruption Research. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (IRCN), pp. 69–78. Available at:

Köbis, N. C., van Prooijen, J.-W., Righetti, F. and Van Lange, P. A. M. (2016) ‘Prospection in individual and interpersonal corruption dilemmas’, Review of General Psychology, 20(1), pp. 71–85. doi:10.1037/gpr0000069.

Köbis, N. C., van Prooijen, J.-W., Righetti, F. and Van Lange, P. A. M. (2015) ‘“Who Doesn’t?”-The Impact of Descriptive Norms on Corruption.’, PLoS ONE. Public Library of Science, 10(6), p. e0131830. doi:

Köbis, N. C. Brandt, C. O., and Starke, C. (2016) ‘Korruption - Das machen doch alle so’, Katapult, 1(1), pp. 44–48.

Co-authored publications:

Oostrom, J. K., Köbis, N. C., Ronay, R. and Cremers, M. (2017) ‘False Consensus in Situational Judgment Tests: What Would Others Do?’, Journal of Research in Personality, 71, pp. 33–45. doi: .

Laakasuo, M., Köbis, N. C., Palomäki, J. and Jokela, M. (2017) ‘Money for microbes-Pathogen avoidance and out-group helping behaviour’, International Journal of Psychology. 10.1002/ijop.12416.

Saucier, G., Kenner, J., Iurino, K., Bou Malham, P., Chen, Z., Thalmayer, A. G., Kemmelmeier, M., Tov, W., Boutti, R., Metaferia, H., Çankaya, B., Mastor, K. A., Hsu, K.-Y., Wu, R., Maniruzzaman, M., Rugira, J., Tsaousis, I., Sosnyuk, O., Regmi Adhikary, J., Skrzypińska, K., Poungpet, B., Maltby, J., Salanga, M. G. C., Racca, A., Oshio, A., Italia, E., Kovaleva, A., Nakatsugawa, M., Morales-Vives, F., Ruiz, V. M., Braun Gutierrez, R. A., Sarkar, A., Deo, T., Sambu, L., Huisa Veria, E., Ferreira Dela Coleta, M., Kiama, S. G., Hongladoram, S., Derry, R., Zazueta Beltrán, H., Peng, T. K., Wilde, M., Ananda, F. A., Banerjee, S., Bayazit, M., Joo, S., Zhang, H., Orel, E., Bizumic, B., Shen-Miller, S., Watts, S., Pereira, M. E., Gore, E., Wilson, D., Pope, D., Gutema, B., Henry, H., Dacanay, J. C., Dixon, J., Köbis, N. C., Luque, J., Hood, J., Chakravorty, D., Pal, A. M., Ong, L., Leung, A. and Altschul, C. (2015) ‘Cross-Cultural Differences in a Global “Survey of World Views”’, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 46(1). doi:10.1177/0022022114551791

Selected appearances in the media:

BBC Radio 4 - Cyber snooping your therapist; Performing anxiety; Insiders' Guide; Bribery and corruption

Köbis, N. C., Van Lange, P. A. M. and Mkwella, H. (2017) Social Psychology Videos: Social Dilemmas. In-Mind

Yudkin, D., Köbis, N. C. and Van Lange, P. A. M. (2017) ‘Leaping into Corruption’, Scientific American.

Romm, C. (2017). Sometimes Corruption happens all at once, NY Mag. 

Lauritz, J. (2017) Does Corruption Happen Slowly, or All at Once? The Atlantic,

Portolese, j. (2017) Oh Good: People Are More Likely to 'Abruptly' Become Corrupt, Study Finds, Vice Media, 

Jacobs, T. (2017). We Don’t Gradually Glide Into Corrupt Behavior—We Jump Head First, Pacific Standard,

Horckmans, M. (2017) Corruptie heeft vaak te maken met plotse opportuniteiten, Express Business,   

Veja (2017). Corrupção surge de uma vez e não de maneira gradual, diz estudo, Hoje Mais,

Lopes, J. R. (2017) Cientistas descobrem que corrupção não surge aos poucos, mas de uma vez, Folha de S. Paulo,

Remus, D. (2017)  Die Psychologie der Korruption, Radiofeature, Bayerischer Rundfunk,

Starke, C. & Köbis, N.C. (2015) European Identity: The Aftermath of Charlie Hebdo, European Student Think Tank,

Starke, C., Köbis, N.C., & Brandt. (2016) The Role of Social Norms in Corruption Research, European Student Think Tank, 

Köbis, N. C. (2015).  Descriptive Norms of Corruption or “I bribe because everybody else does”  Transparency International Anti-Corruption Research Network Blog, 


  • Verschuere, B. J., Köbis, N. C., Bereby-Meyer, Y., Rand, D., & Shalvi, S. (2018). Taxing the Brain to Uncover Lying? Meta-analyzing the Effect of Imposing Cognitive Load on the Reaction-Time Costs of Lying. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.


  • Oostrom, J. K., Köbis, N. C., Ronay, R., & Cremers, M. (2017). False consensus in situational judgment tests: What would others do? Journal of Research in Personality, 71, 33-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2017.09.001  [details] 
  • Köbis, N. C., van Prooijen, J. W., Righetti, F., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2017). The Road to Bribery and Corruption: Slippery Slope or Steep Cliff? Psychological Science, 28(3), 297-306. DOI: 10.1177/0956797616682026  [details] 
  • Laakasuo, M., Köbis, N., Palomäki, J., & Jokela, M. (2017). Money for microbes—Pathogen avoidance and out‐group helping behaviour. International Journal of Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12416 


  • Köbis, N. C., & Huss, O. (2018). Ein Atlas zur Unterscheidung von Korruptionsformen. In S. Wolf, & P. Graeff (Eds.), Korruptionsbekämpfung vermitteln: Didaktische, ethische und inhaltliche Aspekte in Lehre, Unterricht und Weiterbildung (pp. 153-177). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-19016-3_9  [details] 


  • Köbis, N., & Starke, C. (2017). Why did the Panama Papers (not) shatter the world? The relationship between Journalism and Corruption. In A. K. Schwickerath, A. Varraich, & L-L. Smith (Eds.), How to research corruption?: Conference Proceedings: Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Forum, June 2016, Amsterdam (pp. 69-78). Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network. [details] 


  • Jackson, D., & Köbis, N. (2018). Anti-corruption through a social norms lens. U4 Issue, 2018(7). [details] 

Media appearance

  • Köbis, N. (10-12-2018). Why do we Collude with Corruption?. BBC World Service - Why do we Collude with Corruption?.
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