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Norm Enforcement in the city: A natural field experiment

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  • Loukas Balafoutas
  • Nikos Nikiforakis

Abstract

The willingness of individuals to enforce social norms can have important welfare implications. All the experimental evidence on norm enforcement so far comes from laboratory experiments and indicates that many participants are indeed willing to enforce norms, even in one-shot interactions. We examine individuals’ willingness to punish norm violations in a natural field experiment. We violate two efficiency-enhancing norms in the main subway station in Athens, Greece. The large number of passengers ensures that strategic motives for punishing are minimized. We find that some individuals punish norm violators,but the rate of enforcement is low relative to that found in laboratory experiments. Surprisingly, violations of the better known of the two norms are less likely to trigger punishment. Questionnaire data indicate that most people are concerned about being counterpunished, and that violators of the better known norm are considered more likely to counterpunish.Men are more likely to punish than women, while the rate of enforcement is unaffected by the violator’s height and gender.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1133.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1133

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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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Keywords: norm enforcement; social norms; field experiment; altruistic punishment; cooperation;

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References

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  1. Louis Putterman & Christopher M. Anderson, 2003. "Do Non-strategic Sanctions Obey the Law of Demand? The Demand for Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Working Papers 2003-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nikos Nikiforakis & Helen Mitchell, 2013. "Mixing the Carrots with the Sticks : Third Party Punishment and Reward," Working Papers 1338, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  2. Engelmann, Dirk & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2013. "In the long-run we are all dead: On the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79743, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Noussair, Charles N. & Wilkening, Tom, 2012. "Normative conflict and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 797-807.
  4. Nikos Nikiforakis & Helen Mitchell, 2014. "Mixing the carrots with the sticks: third party punishment and reward," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, March.
  5. Zuzana Berná & Jiøí Špalek, 2012. "The decentralization of punishments in experiments with public goods," Working Papers 05, Masaryk University, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Department of Public Economics, revised Mar 2013.
  6. Andreoni, James & Gee, Laura K., 2012. "Gun for hire: Delegated enforcement and peer punishment in public goods provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1036-1046.
  7. Le Zhang & Andreas Ortmann, 2013. "On the Interpretation of Giving, Taking, and Destruction in Dictator Games and Joy-of-Destruction Games," Discussion Papers 2012-50A, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  8. Balafoutas, Loukas & Grechenig, Kristoffel & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2014. "Third-party punishment and counter-punishment in one-shot interactions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 308-310.

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