This argument clearly rests on the presumption that ‘incentives let corrupt nature seep through and it gets hardwired over time’. Any evidence which can suggest this could prove the point. Typically, case studies are used to demonstrate this phenomenon — examples of where corruption reduced after instituting appropriate incentives are used to argue that people aren’t inherently corrupt and that corruption can be addressed by changing incentive structures without resorting to moral lessons. Though, that would serve a purpose, it might still not be convincing. Evidence from neuro-science that actually demonstrates such human nature would be more helpful. We now have the evidence on these lines.
dishonesty gradually increases with repetition and gradually escalates and can get hard wired
amygdala, a brain area intricately involved in emotional responses, was most active when people first lied for personal gain. The amygdala’s response to lying declined with every lie while the magnitude of the lies escalated.
Critically, the extent of reduced amygdala sensitivity to dishonesty on a present decision relative to the previous one predicts the magnitude of escalation of self-serving dishonesty on the next decision
So, do laws corrupt people?
Yes. They can. If they are forcing people necessitating them to break the laws by initiating the chain of reducing sensitivity to dishonesty.
It's not just laws, it applies to institutions too. A huge section of people necessitated to pay bribes to get things done get immune to `corruption` and take it for granted. The new normal for acceptable actions goes down.