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Third-party punishment and social norms

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Author Info

  • Ernst Fehr

    (University of Zurich & CEPR)

  • Urs Fischbacher

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

We examine the characteristics and relative strength of third-party sanctions in a series of experiments. We hypothesize that egalitarian distribution norms and cooperation norms apply in our experiments, and that third parties, whose economic payoff is unaffected by the norm violation, may be willing to enforce these norms although the enforcement is costly for them. Almost two-thirds of the third parties indeed punished the violation of the distribution norm and their punishment increased the more the norm was violated. Likewise, up to roughly 60% of the third parties punished violations of the cooperation norm. Thus, our results show that the notion of strong reciprocity extends to the sanctioning behavior of ‘‘unaffected’’ third parties. In addition, these experiments suggest that thirdparty punishment games are powerful tools for studying the characteristics and the content of social norms. Further experiments indicate that second parties, whose economic payoff is reduced by the norm violation, punish the violation much more strongly than do third parties.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/exp/papers/0409/0409002.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0409002.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 29 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0409002

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 25
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: Social norm; Sanction; Punishment; Strong reciprocity; Social preference; Third party;

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References

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  1. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
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  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Brandts, J. & Charness, G., 1998. "Hot Vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 424.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "The nature of human altruism," Experimental 0402003, EconWPA.
  12. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  13. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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  15. Michi Kandori, 2010. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Levine's Working Paper Archive 630, David K. Levine.
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  18. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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  20. Samuel Bowles & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2000. "The Co-evolution of Individual Behaviors and Social Institutions," Working Papers 00-12-073, Santa Fe Institute.
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  22. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  23. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  24. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2003. "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," Microeconomics 0305006, EconWPA.
  25. 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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