is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behavior (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the recipient would otherwise not alter. Bribery is defined by Black's Law Dictionary
as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty
Gifts of money or other items of value which are otherwise available to everyone on an equivalent basis, and not for dishonest purposes, is not bribery. Offering a discount or a refund to all purchasers is a legal rebate and is not bribery. For example, it is legal for an employee of a Public Utilities
Commission involved in electric
rate regulation to accept a rebate on electric service that reduces their cost for electricity, when the rebate is available to other residential electric customers. If the rebate was done to influence them to look favorably on the electric utility
's rate increase applications, however, that
would be bribery, and unlawful.
The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct. It may be money, goods, rights in action
, property, preferment, privilege, emolument
, objects of value, advantage, or merely a promise to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.
In economics, the bribe has been described as rent. Bribery in bureaucracy has been viewed as a reason for the higher cost of production of goods and services.