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Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?

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  • Jeffrey P. Carpenter
  • Peter Hans Matthews

Abstract

The enforcement of social norms often requires that unaffected third parties sanction offenders. Given the renewed interest of economists in norms, the literature on third party punishment is surprisingly thin, however. In this paper, we report on the results of an experiment designed to evaluate two distinct explanations for this phenomenon, indignation and group reciprocity. We find evidence in favor of both, with the caveat that the incidence of indignation-driven sanctions is perhaps smaller than earlier studies have hinted. Furthermore, our results suggest that second parties use sanctions to promote conformism while third parties intervene primarily to promote efficiency.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2012. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 555-572, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:3:p:555-572
    DOI: j.1542-4774.2011.01059.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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    11. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews, 2002. "Social Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0229, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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