The Economics of Altruistic Punishment and the Demise of Cooperation
AbstractExplaining the evolution and maintenance of cooperation among unrelated individuals is one of the fundamental problems in biology and the social sciences. Recent experimental evidence suggests that altruistic punishment is an important mechanism to maintain cooperation among humans. In this paper we explore the boundary conditions for altruistic punishment to maintain cooperation by systematically varying the cost and impact of punishment, using a subject pool which extends beyond the standard student population. We find that the economics of altruistic punishment lead to the demise of cooperation when punishment is relatively expensive and/or has low impact. Our results indicate that the 'decision to punish' comes from an amalgam of emotional response and cognitive cost-benefit analysis. Additionally, earnings are lowest when punishment promotes cooperation, suggesting that the scope for altruistic punishment as a means to maintain cooperation is limited.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 05-065/1.
Date of creation: 17 Jun 2005
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altrusitic puishment; collective action; public goods; internet experiment;
Other versions of this item:
- Martijn Egas & Arno Riedl, 2005. "The economics of altruistic punishment and the demise of cooperation," Artefactual Field Experiments 00040, The Field Experiments Website.
- Egas, Martijn & Riedl, Arno, 2005. "The Economics of Altruistic Punishment and the Demise of Cooperation," IZA Discussion Papers 1646, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
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