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Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?

  • Jeffrey P. Carpenter
  • Peter Hans Matthews

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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2011.01059.x
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (05)
Pages: 555-572

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:3:p:555-572
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  1. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  2. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews & Okomboli Ong'ong'a, 2003. "Why Punish: Social Reciprocity and the Enforcement of Prosocial Norms," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0213r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  3. Jeffrey Carpenter & Amrita Daniere & Lois Takahashi, 2003. "Cooperation, Trust, and Social Capital in Southeast Asian Urban Slums," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0309, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  4. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  5. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, . "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," IEW - Working Papers 051, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  7. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Matthews, Peter Hans, 2004. "Social Reciprocity," IZA Discussion Papers 1347, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie Claire Villeval, 2002. "Monetary and non Monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Post-Print halshs-00176878, HAL.
  10. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
  13. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "The nature of human altruism," Experimental 0402003, EconWPA.
  14. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
  15. Turillo, Carmelo Joseph & Folger, Robert & Lavelle, James J. & Umphress, Elizabeth E. & Gee, Julie O., 2002. "Is virtue its own reward? Self-sacrificial decisions for the sake of fairness," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 839-865, September.
  16. Manski, Charles F., 2002. "Identification of decision rules in experiments on simple games of proposal and response," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 880-891, May.
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