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Sanctioning as a social norm: Expectations of non-strategic sanctioning in a public goods game experiment

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  • Vyrastekova, Jana
  • Funaki, Yukihiko
  • Takeuchi, Ai

Abstract

Sanctioning increases cooperation in public goods games, but not indiscriminately under all conditions and in all societies, and the mechanisms by which sanctioning exercises its impact on behavior are yet to be studied in detail. We show experimentally that in the presence of sanctioning, our experimental subjects adjust their behavior in order to avoid being a free rider. They do this not only in the STANDARD sanctions treatment, where they directly experience any sanctions assigned to them, but also in our main treatment, the SECRET sanctions treatment, where no information on sanctions received is available until the end of the experiment. We observe no such free riding avoidance in the treatment without sanctioning. The mere knowledge that sanctions might be assigned increases cooperation among the members of our subject pool; subjects expect that non-strategic sanctioning occurs against the free riders. Moreover, these expectations are correct as we observe a similar pattern and extent of sanctioning in both treatments. We propose that sanctioning in itself is a social norm and may be culturally dependent, as suggested in the literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 919-928

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:40:y:2011:i:6:p:919-928

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

Related research

Keywords: Non-strategic sanctions; Unobserved sanctions; Social norm of sanctioning; Public goods; Economic experiment;

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References

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Astrid Hopfensitz & Ernesto Reuben, 2009. "The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1534-1559, October.
  3. Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2009. "Cooperation under alternative punishment institutions: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 273-282, August.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  5. James M. Walker & Matthew A. Halloran, 2004. "Rewards and Sanctions and the Provision of Public Goods in One-Shot Settings," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 235-247, October.
  6. Klaus Abbink & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Shmuel Zamir, 2004. "Fairness, Public Good, and Emotional Aspects of Punishment Behavior," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 25-57, 08.
  7. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
  8. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2005. "Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 2017-2030, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
  11. Louis Putterman & Christopher M. Anderson, 2003. "Do Non-strategic Sanctions Obey the Law of Demand? The Demand for Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Working Papers 2003-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  12. Fudenberg, Drew & Pathak, Parag A., 2010. "Unobserved punishment supports cooperation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 78-86, February.
  13. Noussair, C.N. & Masclet, D. & Tucker, S. & Villeval, M..C, 2003. "Monetary and non-monetary punishment in the voluntary contributions mechanism," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-377951, Tilburg University.
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Cited by:
  1. Sari, Nazmi, 2013. "On anti-smoking regulations and tobacco consumption," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 60-67.

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