Free-Riding on Altruistic Punishment? An Experimental Comparison of Third-Party Punishment in a Stand-Alone and in an In-Group Environment
AbstractWhile second-party punishment is suitable in small groups, third-party punishment is much more common in large societies, where it is generally recognized as a social norm enforcement device that may guarantee social stability. However, in large societies, the presence of a potential additional third-party punisher who observes the norm violation and decides to intervene becomes more probable. The question arises as to whether third-party punishment would be robust with respect to an enlargement of the pool of potential altruistic punishers, namely the introduction of a second potential punisher. The relevance of this question is evident because, should the case be that the presence of several potential third-party punishers activates free-riding attitudes, third-party punishment may decline or even collapse altogether. In our paper we compare, by means of an economic experiment, punishment by a single third party (the Stand-Alone case) with punishment by third parties (In-Group environment). Shifting punishment choices into this “enlarged environment” allows us to study, in a systematic way, the complex relationship between the punisher’s expectations about her/his peer’s punishment decisions and her/his own punishment choices. Our data suggest that individual punishers are heterogeneous as to their individual punishment characteristics and the presence of a second punisher affects their choices to a certain extent. Consequently, the implementation of voluntary punishment depends on the distribution of types within the population. This result allows both to put into discussion the extreme emphasis devoted to voluntary third-party punishment as the “golden cornerstone” of spontaneous social order and to explain why large developed societies need institutional legal systems as the root of stability.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by De Gruyter in its journal Review of Law & Economics.
Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.degruyter.com
Other versions of this item:
- Lewisch Peter & Ottone, Stefania & Ponzano, Ferruccio, 2010. "Free-riding on altruistic punishment? An experimental comparison of third-party-punishment in a stand-alone and in an in-group environment," POLIS Working Papers 139, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stefania Ottone, 2008.
"Are people Samaritans or Avengers?,"
AccessEcon, vol. 3(10), pages 1-3.
- Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004.
"Third-party punishment and social norms,"
- Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007.
"The demand for punishment,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
- Louis Putterman & Christopher M. Anderson, 2003.
"Do Non-strategic Sanctions Obey the Law of Demand? The Demand for Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism,"
2003-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Anderson, Christopher M. & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? The demand for punishment in the voluntary contribution mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-24, January.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, .
"Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments,"
IEW - Working Papers
010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
- Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
- repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2008:i:10:p:1-3 is not listed on IDEAS
- Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2005.
"Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment,"
Purdue University Economics Working Papers
1176, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
- Marco Casari & Luigi Luini, 2005. "Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 002, University of Siena.
- Ottone, Stefania, 2005. "Transfers and Altruistic Punishments in Solomon's Game experiments," POLIS Working Papers 50, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
- William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1974. "The Private Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 0062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeffrey V. Butler & Pierluigi Conzo & Martin A. Leroch, 2013.
"Social Identity and Punishment,"
EIEF Working Papers Series
1316, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised May 2013.
- Butler, Je rey V. & Conzo, Pierluigi & Leroch, Martin A., 2013. "Social Identity and Punishment," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201329, University of Turin.
- Gianna Lotito & Matteo Migheli & Guido Ortona, 2013.
"Is cooperation instinctive? Evidence from the response times in a public goods game,"
Journal of Bioeconomics,
Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 123-133, July.
- Lotito, Gianna & Migheli, Matteo & Ortona, Guido, 2011. "Is cooperation instinctive? Evidence from the response times in a Public Goods Game," POLIS Working Papers 161, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
- Marchese Carla & Ramello Giovanni B., 2011.
"In the Beginning Was the Word. Now is the Copyright,"
Review of Law & Economics,
De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 271-289, October.
- Marchese, Carla & Ramello, Giovanni B., 2010. "In the beginning was the Word. Now is the Copyright," POLIS Working Papers 140, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.