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Profit-seeking punishment corrupts norm obedience

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  • Xiao, Erte

Abstract

Punishment typically involves depriving violators of resources they own such as money or labor. These resources can become revenue for authorities and thus motivate profit-seeking punishment. In this paper, we design a novel experiment to provide direct evidence on the role punishment plays in communicating norms. Importantly, this allows us to provide experimental evidence indicating that if people know that enforcers can benefit monetarily by punishing, they no longer view punishment as signaling a norm violation. The result is a substantial degradation of punishmentʼs ability to influence behavior. Our findings draw attention to the detrimental effect of profit-seeking enforcement on the efficacy of punishment.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 77 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 321-344

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:77:y:2013:i:1:p:321-344

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

Related research

Keywords: Punishment; Norms; Corruption; Sender–receiver game; Experiment;

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Cited by:
  1. Daniela Grieco & Marco Faillo & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Top Contributors as Punishers," Working Papers 24/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  2. Galbiati, Roberto & Schlag, Karl H. & van der Weele, Joël J., 2013. "Sanctions that signal: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 34-51.
  3. Tan, Fangfang & Xiao, Erte, 2011. "Peer punishment with third-party approval in a social dilemma game," MPRA Paper 35473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2011. "Punish in public," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 1006-1017.
  5. Xiao, Erte & Tan, Fangfang, 2013. "Justification and Legitimate Punishment," MPRA Paper 47154, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Faillo, Marco & Grieco, Daniela & Zarri, Luca, 2013. "Legitimate punishment, feedback, and the enforcement of cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 271-283.
  7. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2011. "Laws and Norms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8663, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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