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Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?

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  • Jeffrey P. Carpenter
  • Peter Hans Matthews

Abstract

The enforcement of social norms often requires that unaffected third parties sanction offenders. Given the renewed interest of economists in norms, the literature on third party punishment is surprisingly thin, however. In this paper, we report on the results of an experiment designed to evaluate two distinct explanations for this phenomenon, indignation and group reciprocity. We find evidence in favor of both, with the caveat that the incidence of indignation-driven sanctions is perhaps smaller than earlier studies have hinted. Furthermore, our results suggest that second parties use sanctions to promote conformism while third parties intervene primarily to promote efficiency.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2011.01059.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (05)
Pages: 555-572

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:3:p:555-572

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  1. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, 2004. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 696-719, 06.
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  8. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2004. "Social Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0229r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
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  11. Peter Matthews & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2002. "Why Punish: Social Reciprocity and the Enforcement of Prosocial Norms," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0213, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  12. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
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