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Punishment, Cooperation, and Cheater Detection in “Noisy” Social Exchange

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  • Gary Bornstein

    (Department of Psychology and Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel)

  • Ori Weisel

    ()
    (Department of Psychology and Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel)

Abstract

Explaining human cooperation in large groups of non-kin is a major challenge to both rational choice theory and the theory of evolution. Recent research suggests that group cooperation can be explained by positing that cooperators can punish non-cooperators or cheaters. The experimental evidence comes from public goods games in which group members are fully informed about the behavior of all others and cheating occurs in full view. We demonstrate that under more realistic information conditions, where cheating is less obvious, punishment is much less effective in enforcing cooperation. Evidently, the explanatory power of punishment is constrained by the visibility of cheating.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Games.

Volume (Year): 1 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 18-33

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Handle: RePEc:gam:jgames:v:1:y:2010:i:1:p:18-33:d:7469

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Related research

Keywords: public-goods game; punishment; cooperation; reciprocity; experimental games;

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  1. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  2. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "Group Size and Social Ties in Microfinance Institutions," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 1, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2003. "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," Microeconomics 0305006, EconWPA.
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Cited by:
  1. Alessandro Bucciol & Natalia Montinari & Marco Piovesan & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2014. "It Wasn't Me! Visibility and Free Riding in Waste Sorting," Discussion Papers 14-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Patel, Amrish & Cartwright, Edward & Mark, Van Vugt, 2010. "Punishment Cannot Sustain Cooperation in a Public Good Game with Free-Rider Anonymity," Working Papers in Economics 451, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Erte Xiao & Howard Kunreuther, 2012. "Punishment and Cooperation in Stochastic Social Dilemmas," NBER Working Papers 18458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Avner Ben-Ner & Matthew Ellman, 2013. "The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 75-100, August.
  5. Simon Gaechter, 2014. "Human Pro-Social Motivation and the Maintenance of Social Order," CESifo Working Paper Series 4729, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Goeschl, Timo & Jarke, Johannes, 2013. "Non-Strategic Punishment when Monitoring is Costly: Experimental Evidence on Differences between Second and Third Party Behavior," Working Papers 0545, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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