Free-Riding on Altruistic Punishment? An Experimental Comparison of Third-Party Punishment in a Stand-Alone and in an In-Group Environment
While second-party punishment is suitable in small groups, third-party punishment is much more common in large societies, where it is generally recognized as a social norm enforcement device that may guarantee social stability. However, in large societies, the presence of a potential additional third-party punisher who observes the norm violation and decides to intervene becomes more probable. The question arises as to whether third-party punishment would be robust with respect to an enlargement of the pool of potential altruistic punishers, namely the introduction of a second potential punisher. The relevance of this question is evident because, should the case be that the presence of several potential third-party punishers activates free-riding attitudes, third-party punishment may decline or even collapse altogether. In our paper we compare, by means of an economic experiment, punishment by a single third party (the Stand-Alone case) with punishment by third parties (In-Group environment). Shifting punishment choices into this “enlarged environment” allows us to study, in a systematic way, the complex relationship between the punisher’s expectations about her/his peer’s punishment decisions and her/his own punishment choices. Our data suggest that individual punishers are heterogeneous as to their individual punishment characteristics and the presence of a second punisher affects their choices to a certain extent. Consequently, the implementation of voluntary punishment depends on the distribution of types within the population. This result allows both to put into discussion the extreme emphasis devoted to voluntary third-party punishment as the “golden cornerstone” of spontaneous social order and to explain why large developed societies need institutional legal systems as the root of stability.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/rle|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004.
"Third-party punishment and social norms,"
- William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1974. "The Private Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 0062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2005.
"Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment,"
Purdue University Economics Working Papers
1176, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
- Marco Casari & Luigi Luini, 2005. "Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 002, University of Siena.
- Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007.
"The demand for punishment,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
- Stefania Ottone, 2008.
"Are people Samaritans or Avengers?,"
AccessEcon, vol. 3(10), pages 1-3.
- Anderson, Christopher M. & Putterman, Louis, 2006.
"Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? The demand for punishment in the voluntary contribution mechanism,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-24, January.
- 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.
- Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
- repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2008:i:10:p:1-3 is not listed on IDEAS
- Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000.
"Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
- Ottone, Stefania, 2005. "Transfers and Altruistic Punishments in Solomon's Game experiments," POLIS Working Papers 50, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:7:y:2011:i:1:n:8. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.