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The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment

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Author Info

  • Astrid Hopfensitz

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)

  • Ernesto Reuben

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper experimentally explores how the enforcement of cooperative behavior in a social dilemma is facilitated through institutional as well as emotional mechanisms. Recent studies emphasize the importance of negatively valued emotions, such as anger, which motivate individuals to punish free riders. However, these types of emotions also trigger retaliatory behavior by the punished individuals. This makes the enforcement of a cooperative norm more costly. We show that in addition to anger, ‘social’ emotions like shame and guilt need to be present for punishment to be an effective deterrent of uncooperative actions. They play a key role by subduing the desire of punished individuals to retaliate and by motivating them to behave more cooperatively in the future.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 05-075/1.

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Date of creation: 02 Aug 2005
Date of revision: 28 Mar 2006
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20050075

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Emotions; Punishment; Retaliation; Counter punishment; Social Norms; Fairness; Cooperation;

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References

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  13. Gershon Ben-Shakhar & Gary Bornstein & Astrid Hopfensitz & Frans van Winden, 2004. "Reciprocity and Emotions: Arousal, Self-Reports, and Expectations," CESifo Working Paper Series 1298, CESifo Group Munich.
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  15. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
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  17. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2004. "On Perverse and Second-Order Punishment in Public Goods Experiments with Decentralized Sanctioning," Working Papers 2004-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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