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Dominance and Submission: Social Status Biases Economic Sanctions

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Author Info

  • von Essen, Emma

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stockholm university)

  • Ranehill, Eva

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

Social hierarchy is persistent in all almost all societies. Social norms and their enforcement are part of sustaining hierarchical systems. This paper combines social status and norm enforcement, by introducing status in a dictator game with third party punishment. Status is conveyed by surname; half of the third parties face dictators with a noble name and half face dictators with a common name. Receivers all have common names. We find that social status has an impact on behavior. Our results indicate that low status men are punished to a greater extent than low status women, high status men, or high status women. Interestingly, discrimination occurs only in male to male interaction. For offers below half, or almost half of the allocated resource, male third parties punish male dictators with common names almost twice as much as their noble counterparts. We find no support for female discrimination. This result suggests that social status has important implications for men’s decisions to use economic punishment, and that this holds true in situations where reputation or strategic concerns have no importance.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0732.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 732.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 11 Jan 2011
Date of revision: 08 Feb 2011
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0732

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Keywords: Status; punishment; discrimination;

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  1. Holm, Hakan J., 2000. "Gender-Based Focal Points," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 292-314, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Almenberg, Johan & Dreber, Anna, 2009. "When Does The Price Affect The Taste? Results From A Wine Experiment," Working Papers 51755, American Association of Wine Economists.

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