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Normative conflict and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement

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  • Nikiforakis, Nikos
  • Noussair, Charles N.
  • Wilkening, Tom

Abstract

A normative conflict arises when multiple plausible rules exist, specifying how one ought to behave in a given situation. In such cases, enforcing one normative rule can lead to a sequence of mutual retaliatory sanctions, which we refer to as a feud. We investigate the hypothesis that normative conflict enhances the likelihood of a feud in a public-good experiment. Normative conflict in our experiment arises from the fact that individuals derive different benefits from the public good. We find that punishment is much more likely to trigger counter-punishment and start a feud when there is a normative conflict, than it is in a setting in which all individuals derive the same benefit from the public good and no such conflict exists. While the possibility of a feud sustains cooperation, the cost of feuding fully offsets the efficiency gains from increased cooperation. Our results point to an important limitation of self-enforcement mechanisms.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9-10 ()
Pages: 797-807

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:797-807

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

Related research

Keywords: Normative conflict; Peer punishment; Counter-punishment; Feuds; Heterogeneous groups;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tore Ellingsen & Benedikt Herrmann & Martin A. Nowak & David G. Rand & Corina E. Tarnita, 2012. "Civic Capital in Two Cultures: The Nature of Cooperation in Romania and USA," CESifo Working Paper Series 4042, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Marco Kleine & Pascal Langenbach & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2013. "How Voice Shapes Reactions to Impartial Decision Makers: An Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_11, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Feb 2014.
  3. Marco Kleine & Pascal Langenbach & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2014. "Fairness and Persuasion. How Stakeholder Communication Affects Impartial Decision Making," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2014_03, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  4. Engelmann, Dirk & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2012. "In the long-run we are all dead: On the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments," Working Papers 32651, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  5. Reuben, Ernesto & Riedl, Arno, 2013. "Enforcement of contribution norms in public good games with heterogeneous populations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 122-137.
  6. Neitzel, Jakob & Sääksvuori, Lauri, 2013. "Normative Conflict and Cooperation in Sequential Social Dilemmas," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79904, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  7. Loukas Balafoutas & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2012. "Norm enforcement in the city: A natural field experiment," Working Papers 2012-12, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  8. Sven Fischer & Kristoffel Grechenig & Nicolas Meier, 2013. "Cooperation under punishment: Imperfect information destroys it and centralizing punishment does not help," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  9. Balafoutas, Loukas & Grechenig, Kristoffel & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2014. "Third-party punishment and counter-punishment in one-shot interactions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 308-310.
  10. Daniele Nosenzo & Theo Offerman & Martin Sefton & Ailko van der Veen, 2014. "Discretionary Sanctions and Rewards in the Repeated Inspection Game," Discussion Papers 2014-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Erte Xiao & Howard Kunreuther, 2012. "Punishment and Cooperation in Stochastic Social Dilemmas," NBER Working Papers 18458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hoyer, Maximilian & Bault, Nadège & Loerakker, Ben & van Winden, Frans, 2014. "Destructive behavior in a Fragile Public Good game," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 295-299.
  13. Felix Ebeling, 2013. "On the role of endowment heterogeneity and ambiguity for conditional cooperation," Working Paper Series in Economics 58, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  14. Fabian Winter, 2013. "Fairness norms can explain the emergence of specific cooperation norms in the Battle of the Prisoners Dilemma," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  15. Diederich, Johannees & Goeschl, Timo, 2014. "Motivational Drivers of the Private Provision of Public Goods: Evidence From a Large Framed Field Experiment," Working Papers 0561, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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