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Learning to Punish: Experimental Evidence from a Sequential Step-Level Public Goods Game

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  • David Cooper

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  • Carol Stockman

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Abstract

This paper studies how subjects in a three-person sequential step-level public good game learn to punish free riders more over time. Our current work makes several additions to the literature on other regarding behavior. First, our experiment provides evidence that subjects care about the actions that lead to an outcome as well as the outcome itself, replicating the results of A. Falk, E. Fehr and U. Fischbacher (Economic Inquiry, in press), J. Brandts and C. Solà (Games and Economic Behavior, 36(2), 138–157, 2001.) and J.H. Kagel and K. Wolfe (Working paper, Ohio State University, 1999). Second, our experiment provides one of the first tests of the newer theories of reciprocity by A. Falk and U. Fischbacher (Working paper, University of Zurich, 2000) and G. Charness and M. Rabin (Quarterly Journal of Economics, in press) that take a psychological games approach. We find that these theories fail to explain the experimental data. Finally, we examine the mechanism by which subjects learn to punish free-riding more ofter over time. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1016364608108
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 39-51

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:5:y:2002:i:1:p:39-51

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

Related research

Keywords: public goods; learning; reciprocity;

References

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  1. Gary Charness and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Social Preferences: Some Simple Tests and a New Model," Economics Working Papers E00-283, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1998. "Gift exchange and reciprocity in competitive experimental markets," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5909, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. A. Roth & I. Er’ev, 2010. "Learning in Extensive Form Games: Experimental Data and Simple Dynamic Models in the Intermediate Run," Levine's Working Paper Archive 387, David K. Levine.
  4. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Cooper, David J. & Stockman, Carol Kraker, 2002. "Fairness and learning: an experimental examination," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 26-45, October.
  6. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  7. Brandts, J. & Sola, C., 1998. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 425.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  8. Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
  9. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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Cited by:
  1. David M. McEvoy & James J. Murphy & John M. Spraggon & John K. Stranlund, 2010. "The problem of maintaining compliance within stable coalitions: experimental evidence," Working Papers 2010-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
  2. David McEvoy, 2010. "Not it: opting out of voluntary coalitions that provide a public good," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 9-23, January.
  3. Giorgio Coricelli, 2002. "Sequence Matters: an Experimental Study of the Effects of Experiencing Positive and Negative Reciprocity," Department of Economics University of Siena 369, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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