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Punishment History and Spillover Effects: A Laboratory Investigation of Behavior in a Social Dilemma

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  • David L. Dickinson
  • E. Glenn Dutcher
  • Cortney S. Rodet

Abstract

Punishment has been shown to be an effective reinforcement mechanism. Intentional or not, punishment will likely generate spillover effects that extend beyond one’s immediate decision environment, and these spillovers are not as well understood. We seek to understand these secondary spillover effects in a controlled lab setting using a standard social dilemma: the voluntary contributions mechanism game. We find that spillovers from punishment lead to either more or less cooperative behavior depending on the history of play. If subjects have direct experience with a punishment mechanism, they will contribute more to the public good after observing others’ punishment. The reverse is true of those who observe others’ punishment but have no exposure to direct experience with punishment. Key Words:

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File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp1102.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 11-02.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:11-02

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Postal: Thelma C. Raley Hall, Boone, North Carolina 28608
Phone: 828-262-2148
Fax: 828-262-6105
Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/
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  1. Anderson, Lisa R & Stafford, Sarah L, 2003. "Punishment in a Regulatory Setting: Experimental Evidence from the VCM," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 91-110, July.
  2. Bendor, Jonathan & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1990. "Norms, Third-Party Sanctions, and Cooperation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 33-63, Spring.
  3. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2011. "Punish in public," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 1006-1017.
  4. Masclet, D. & Noussair, C. & Tucker, S. & Villeval, M.C., 2001. "Monetary and Non-monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1141, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. David Dickinson, . "The carrot vs. the stick in work team motivation," Working Papers 2000-06, Utah State University, Department of Economics.
  7. David Dickinson & Marie Claire Villeval, 2008. "Does Monitoring Decrease Work Effort?," Post-Print halshs-00276284, HAL.
  8. Haigner, Stefan & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2005. "Combining Monetary and Social Sanctions to Promote Cooperation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 649-660, July.
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