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Can Sanctions Induce Pessimism? An Experiment

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  • Roberto Galbiati

    ()

  • Karl Schlag

    ()

  • Joël van der Weele

    ()

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the effects of sanctions when there are multiple equilibria. Two subjects play a two-period minimum effort game in the presence of third player (principal). The principal benefits from coordination on higher effort, and is the only one informed of previous choices choices. We contrast introducing an exogenously imposed sanction in the second round to the case where the principal is allowed to decide whether or not, at a small cost, to impose a sanction. We find that exogenously introduced sanctions are effective in inducing optimistic beliefs about others and help coordination on more efficient equilibria. On the other hand, endogenously introduced sanctions negatively influence beliefs about the effort of the other player. The results supports the idea that sanctions have an expressive dimension which can undermine their effectiveness by discouraging optimistic players.

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Paper provided by University of Siena in its series Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena with number 024.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:024

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Keywords: Sanctions; beliefs; expressive law; deterrence; coordination; minimum effort game;

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Cited by:
  1. Friebel, Guido & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2011. "Team governance: Empowerment or hierarchical control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13.
  2. Fabrice Le Lec & Astrid Matthey & Ondrej Rydval, 2012. "Punishment Fosters Efficiency in the Minimum Effort Coordination Game," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-030, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Andrei Bremzeny & Elena Khokhlovaz & Anton Suvorov & Jeroen van de Ven, 2011. "Bad News: An Experimental Study on the Informational Effects of Rewards," Working Papers w0164, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  4. Karl Schlag & Joël van der Weele, 2009. "Efficient interval scoring rules," Economics Working Papers 1176, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Xiao, Erte, 2013. "Profit-seeking punishment corrupts norm obedience," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 321-344.

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