IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Paying for sanctions in social dilemmas: The effects of endowment asymmetry and accountability


  • De Cremer, David
  • Dijk, Eric van


The present research examines whether or not endowment asymmetry leads those with many endowments to contribute more than those with few endowments towards the public good (i.e., a first-order dilemma), but also towards the implementation of a sanctioning system (i.e., a second-order dilemma). In Experiment 1, we found that those with many endowments contributed more than those with few endowments in a public good dilemma without a sanctioning system present, whereas those with many endowments did not contribute more than those with few endowments toward the implementation of a sanctioning system. The latter effect, however, was eliminated when participants were accountable (i.e., when expectations that they would have to justify their decisions to others in the group were high). Experiment 2 showed that when participants were accountable, the contributions of those with many endowments (and not those with few endowments) toward the sanctioning system increased, but only when they perceived the group to be more self-evaluative in terms of morality (i.e., high-evaluation expectancy). Experiment 3 showed that this effect of evaluation expectancy only emerged when participants were accountable to the whole group rather than to only one group member.

Suggested Citation

  • De Cremer, David & Dijk, Eric van, 2009. "Paying for sanctions in social dilemmas: The effects of endowment asymmetry and accountability," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 45-55, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:109:y:2009:i:1:p:45-55

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    2. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
    3. McCusker, Christopher & Carnevale, Peter J., 1995. "Framing in Resource Dilemmas: Loss Aversion and the Moderating Effects of Sanctions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 190-201, February.
    4. van Dijk, Eric & Grodzka, Malgorzata, 1992. "The influence of endowments asymmetry and information level on the contribution to a public step good," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 329-342, June.
    5. Melissa Bateson & Daniel Nettle & Gilbert Roberts, 2006. "Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting," Natural Field Experiments 00214, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 23-34, February.
    7. Wade-Benzoni, Kimberly A. & Tenbrunsel, Ann E. & Bazerman, Max H., 1996. "Egocentric Interpretations of Fairness in Asymmetric, Environmental Social Dilemmas: Explaining Harvesting Behavior and the Role of Communication," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 111-126, August.
    8. M.A. Nowak & K. Sigmund, 1998. "Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity by Image Scoring/ The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," Working Papers ir98040, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    9. repec:feb:natura:0059 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:77:y:1983:i:01:p:112-122_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. George Loewenstein & Don A. Moore, 2004. "When Ignorance Is Bliss: Information Exchange and Inefficiency in Bargaining," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 37-58, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Desai, Sreedhari D. & Kouchaki, Maryam, 2015. "Work-report formats and overbilling: How unit-reporting vs. cost-reporting increases accountability and decreases overbilling," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 79-88.
    2. Steinel, Wolfgang & Utz, Sonja & Koning, Lukas, 2010. "The good, the bad and the ugly thing to do when sharing information: Revealing, concealing and lying depend on social motivation, distribution and importance of information," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 85-96, November.
    3. Visser, Martine & Burns, Justine, 2013. "Inequality, Social Sanctions and Cooperation within South African Fishing," SALDRU Working Papers 117, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    4. Cadigan, John & Wayland, Patrick T. & Schmitt, Pamela & Swope, Kurtis, 2011. "An experimental dynamic public goods game with carryover," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 523-531.
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:15-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Visser, M. & Burns, J., 2015. "Inequality, social sanctions and cooperation within South African fishing communities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 95-109.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:109:y:2009:i:1:p:45-55. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.