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Punish in public

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  • Xiao, Erte
  • Houser, Daniel

Abstract

We report data from public goods games showing that privately-implemented punishment reduces cooperation in relation to a baseline treatment without punishment. When that same incentive is implemented publicly, however, cooperation is sustained at significantly higher rates than in either the baseline or private punishment treatments. Our design ensures that this increased cooperation is not attributable to shame, differences in information or signaling. Rather, our evidence is that the ability to observe the punishment of low-contributors can reverse punishment's detrimental effects. This result has important efficiency implications for the design of mechanisms intended to deter misconduct.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2011. "Punish in public," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 1006-1017, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7-8:p:1006-1017
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    Cited by:

    1. Faillo, Marco & Grieco, Daniela & Zarri, Luca, 2013. "Legitimate punishment, feedback, and the enforcement of cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 271-283.
    2. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte, 2010. "Inequality-seeking punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 20-23, October.
    3. Erik O. Kimbrough & Alexander Vostroknutov, 2012. "Rules, Rule-Following, and Cooperation," Discussion Papers dp12-15, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    4. repec:eee:joepsy:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:55-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Rustam Romaniuc & Katherine Farrow & Lisette Ibanez & Alain Marciano, 2016. "The perils of government enforcement," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 161-182, January.
    6. Dirk Engelmann & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2015. "In the long-run we are all dead: on the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(3), pages 561-577, October.
    7. Tor Eriksson & Lei Mao & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Saving face and group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 622-647, September.
    8. Erte Xiao & Fangfang Tan, 2014. "Justification and Legitimate Punishment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 170(1), pages 168-188, March.
    9. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    10. Erte Xiao & Howard Kunreuther, 2016. "Punishment and Cooperation in Stochastic Social Dilemmas," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 60(4), pages 670-693, June.
    11. Daniela Grieco & Marco Faillo & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Top Contributors as Punishers," Working Papers 24/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    12. David L. Dickinson & E. Glenn Dutcher & Cortney S. Rodet, 2011. "Punishment History and Spillover Effects: A Laboratory Investigation of Behavior in a Social Dilemma," Working Papers 11-02, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    13. Croson, Rachel & Fatas, Enrique & Neugebauer, Tibor & Morales, Antonio J., 2015. "Excludability: A laboratory study on forced ranking in team production," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 13-26.
    14. David Dickinson & E. Glenn Dutcher & Cortney Rodet, 2015. "Observed punishment spillover effects: a laboratory investigation of behavior in a social dilemma," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 136-153, March.
    15. S. Bowles & S. Polania-Reyes., 2013. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    16. Sergio F. Góngora y Moreno & J. Octavio Gutierrez-Garcia, 0. "Collective action in organizational structures," Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-33.
    17. repec:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:15-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Daniel Houser & Natalia Montinari & Marco Piovesan, 2012. "Private and Public Decisions in Social Dilemmas: Evidence from ChildrenÕs Behavior," Working Papers 1034, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    19. Qin, Xiangdong & Wang, Siyu, 2013. "Using an exogenous mechanism to examine efficient probabilistic punishment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-10.
    20. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Erte Xiao, 2017. "Deviant or Wrong? The Effects of Norm Information on the Efficacy of Punishment," Discussion Papers 2017-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    21. Xiaoting Zheng & Puyan Nie, 2013. "Effective Punishment Needs Legitimacy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(287), pages 522-544, December.
    22. Xiao, Erte, 2013. "Profit-seeking punishment corrupts norm obedience," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 321-344.
    23. Kakizawa, Hisanobu, 2017. "The value of punishment of free riders: A case study on the receiving fee system of the Japanese public broadcasting organization," 14th ITS Asia-Pacific Regional Conference, Kyoto 2017: Mapping ICT into Transformation for the Next Information Society 168496, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    24. Rupert Sausgruber, 2009. "A note on peer effects between teams," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 193-201, June.

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