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Social Reciprocity

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  • Jeffrey Carpenter

    ()

  • Peter Matthews

    ()

Abstract

We conduct a survey and find that 47% of respondents state they would sanction free riders in a team production scenario even though the respondent was not personally affected and no direct benefits could be expected to follow an intervention. To understand this phenomenon, we define social reciprocity as the act of demonstrating ones disapproval, at some personal cost, for the violation of a widely-held norm (for example, don’t free ride). Social reciprocity differs from reciprocity because social reciprocators punish all norm violators, regardless of group affiliation or whether or not the punisher bears the costs. Social reciprocity also differs from altruism because, while the latter is an outcome-oriented act benefiting someone else, the former is a triggered response not conditioned on future outcomes. To test the robustness of our survey results, we run a public goods experiment that allows players to punish each other. The experiment confirms the existence of social reciprocity and additionally demonstrates that more socially efficient outcomes arise when reciprocity can be expressed socially. Further we find that most subjects who punish do so to discipline transgressors and helping others is largely a positive externality. Finally, to provide some theoretical foundations for social reciprocity, we show that generalized punishment norms survive in one of the two stable equilibria of an evolutionary public goods game with selection drift.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0229.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0229.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0229

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Keywords: reciprocity; norm; experiment; public good; learning; evolution;

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  1. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  2. Nachbar, J H, 1990. ""Evolutionary" Selection Dynamics in Games: Convergence and Limit Properties," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 59-89.
  3. Guth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1993. "Competition or Co-Operation," Papers 9339, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  4. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
  5. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews, 2005. "No Switchbacks: Rethinking Aspiration-Based Dynamics in the Ultimatum Game," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 351-385, 06.
  6. Ghemawat, Pankaj, 1995. "Competitive Advantage and Internal Organization: Nucor Revisited," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 685-717, Winter.
  7. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
  8. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2003. "Understanding reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-27, January.
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  10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  11. Jeffery Carpenter & Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2006. "Mutual Monitoring in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence on the Importance of Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0608, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  12. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1997. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Working papers 9729r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1998. "Mutual Monitoring in Teams: The Effects of Residual Claimancy and Reciprocity," Research in Economics 98-08-074e, Santa Fe Institute.
  14. Martin Sefton & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 200504, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
  15. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
  16. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  17. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  18. Binmore, Ken & Samuelson, Larry, 1999. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 363-93, April.
  19. repec:att:wimass:9323 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
  21. Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "Evolutionary stability and social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 113-140, January.
  22. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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