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On punishment and well-being

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  • Brandts, Jordi
  • Fernanda Rivas, María

Abstract

The existence of punishment opportunities has been shown to cause efficiency in some public goods experiments to increase considerably. In this paper we ask whether punishment also has a downside in terms of process dissatisfaction. We conduct an experiment to study the conjecture that an environment with strong punishment possibilities may lead to higher material payoffs but lower subjective well-being, in comparison with weaker punishment or no punishment possibilities at all. The more general motivation for our study stems from the notion that people's subjective well-being may be affected by the institutional environment they find themselves in. Our findings show that harsher punishment possibilities lead to significantly higher well-being, controlling for earnings and other relevant variables. These results complement the evidence on the neural basis of altruistic punishment reported in De Quervain et al. (2004).

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 823-834

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:3:p:823-834

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: Public goods Experiments Well-being Punishment;

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References

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  1. Martin Sefton & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 200504, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
  2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
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  5. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
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  7. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
  9. Pedro Bó, 2007. "Social norms, cooperation and inequality," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 89-105, January.
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  11. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  12. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2005. "Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions," IZA Discussion Papers 1635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  15. Bruno S Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "What are the sources of happiness?," Economics working papers 2000-27, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  16. Edward C. Norton & Hua Wang & Chunrong Ai, 2004. "Computing interaction effects and standard errors in logit and probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 154-167, June.
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Cited by:
  1. De Hoop, Thomas & Van Kempen, Luuk & Linssen, Rik & Van Eerdewijk, Anouka, 2010. "Women's Autonomy and Subjective Well-Being in India: How Village Norms Shape the Impact of Self-Help Groups," MPRA Paper 25921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Róbert F. Veszteg & Erita Narhetali, 2010. "Public-good games and the Balinese," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(9), pages 660-675, September.

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