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Unobserved punishment supports cooperation

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Author Info

  • Fudenberg, Drew
  • Pathak, Parag A.

Abstract

Costly punishment can facilitate cooperation in public-goods games, as human subjects will incur costs to punish non-cooperators even in settings where it is unlikely that they will face the same opponents again. Understanding when and why it occurs is important both for the design of economic institutions and for modeling the evolution of cooperation. Our experiment shows that subjects will engage in costly punishment even when it will not be observed until the end of the session, which supports the view that agents enjoy punishment. Moreover, players continue to cooperate when punishment is unobserved, perhaps because they (correctly) anticipate that shirkers will be punished: Fear of punishment can be as effective at promoting contributions as punishment itself.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 78-86

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:1-2:p:78-86

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Public-goods experiments;

References

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  1. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
  2. 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.
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  9. Fudenberg, Drew & Dreber, Anna & Rand, David G. & Nowak, Martin, 2008. "Winners Don't Punish," Scholarly Articles 2252594, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Oliver Bochet & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2002. "Communication and Punishment in Voluntary Contribution Experiments," Working Papers 2002-29, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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  12. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 358-369, December.
  13. D. Fudenberg & E. Maskin, 2010. "Evolution and Cooperation in Noisy Repeated Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 546, David K. Levine.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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  16. Andreoni, J., 1993. "Cooperation in Public Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," Working papers 9309, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  17. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
  18. 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.
  19. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Michael Kosfeld, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundations of Trust and Social Preferences: Initial Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 346-351, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James Fenske, 2012. "Imachi Nkwu: Trade and the Commons," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-19, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Noussair, Charles N. & Wilkening, Tom, 2012. "Normative conflict and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 797-807.
  3. Sung-Ha Hwang & Samuel Bowles, 2011. "Is Altruism Bad for Cooperation?," Working Papers 1114, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
  4. 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.
  5. James Andreoni & Laura K. Gee, 2011. "The Hired Gun Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 17032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andreas Glöckner & Sebastian Kube & Andreas Nicklisch, 2011. "The Joint Benefits of Observed and Unobserved Punishment: Comment to Unobserved Punishment Supports Cooperation," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_30, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  7. Gioia de Melo & Matías Piaggio, 2012. "The perils of peer punishment. Evidence from a common pool resource framed field experiment," Documentos de Trabajo basados en Monografías (students working papers) 12-16, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
  8. 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.
  9. James Andreoni & Laura K. Gee, 2011. "Gun For Hire: Does Delegated Enforcement Crowd out Peer Punishment in Giving to Public Goods?," NBER Working Papers 17033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael McBride & Ryan Kendall & Martin B. Short & Maria R. D'Orsogna, 2012. "Crime, Punishment, and Evolution in an Adversarial Game," Working Papers 121308, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  11. Vyrastekova, Jana & Funaki, Yukihiko & Takeuchi, Ai, 2011. "Sanctioning as a social norm: Expectations of non-strategic sanctioning in a public goods game experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 919-928.
  12. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Engelmann, Dirk, 2011. "Altruistic punishment and the threat of feuds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 319-332, May.

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