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Normative Conflict & Feuds: The Limits of Self-Enforcement

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  • Nikos Nikiforakis
  • Charles N. Noussair
  • Tom Wilkening

Abstract

A normative conflict arises when there exist multiple plausible norms of behavior. In such cases, norm enforcement can lead to a sequence of mutual retaliatory sanctions, which we refer to as a feud. We investigate the hypothesis that normative conflict enhances the likelihood of a feud in a public-good experiment. We find that punishment is much more likely to trigger counter-punishment and start a feud when there is a normative conflict, than in a setting in which no conflict exists. While the possibility of a feud sustains cooperation,the cost of feuding fully offsets the efficiency gains from increased cooperation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1120.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1120

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Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 5th Floor, Economics and Commerce Building, Victoria, 3010, Australia
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Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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Keywords: normative conflict; peer punishment; feuds; counter-punishment; social norms;

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Cited by:
  1. Engelmann, Dirk & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2012. "In the long-run we are all dead: On the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments," Working Papers 32651, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  2. Kenju Kamei & Louis Putterman, 2012. "In Broad Daylight: Full Information and Higher-order Punishment Opportunities Promote Cooperation," Working Papers 2012-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Tore Ellingsen & Benedikt Herrmann & Martin A. Nowak & David G. Rand & Corina E. Tarnita, 2012. "Civic Capital in Two Cultures: The Nature of Cooperation in Romania and USA," CESifo Working Paper Series 4042, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Ulrike Vollstädt, 2011. "Power Asymmetry and Escalation in Bargaining," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-054, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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