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Social norms in repeated public good games

  • Nese, Annamaria
  • Sbriglia, Patrizia

The paper explores the relationship between an individual's preference for cooperation and the establishment of cooperative norms. Our aim is to provide an experimental test of the hypothesis (Fehr and Gachter, 2002) according to which the individuals' willingness to punish defectors in social dilemma games favours the establishment of a common rule of behaviour leading to increased levels of cooperation. We conduct two experiments in which individuals decide both whether to participate in a common project and the institutional rules determining how the profits of the project were to be shared among the participants in the group. Our main question is to analyse whether high contributors react to free riding behaviour by adopting punitive sanctions. We also interview our subjects in order to elicit their opinions on civic values and free riding behaviour. Our results partly contradict the initial hypothesis; however, with reference to the institutional choices, we find that individual ethics may play an important role.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 266-281

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Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:63:y:2009:i:4:p:266-281
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941

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  1. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Voting when money and morals conflict: an experimental test of expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1645-1664, July.
  2. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gächter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews & Okomboli Ong’ong’a, 2004. "Why Punish? Social reciprocity and the enforcement of prosocial norms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 407-429, October.
  4. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
  5. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1998. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," Research in Economics 98-08-073e, Santa Fe Institute.
  7. Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-29, December.
  8. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
  9. Marco Faillo & Stefania Ottone & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2008. "Compliance by believing: an experimental exploration on social norms and impartial agreements," Department of Economics Working Papers 0810, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  10. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Annamaria Nese, 2008. "Il problema dell'evasione fiscale: opinioni e comportamenti," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2008(94), pages 95-119.
  13. Anabela Botelho & Glenn W. Harrison & Lígia Costa Pinto & Elisabet E. Rutstrom, 2005. "Social norms and social choice," NIMA Working Papers 30, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
  14. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  15. Sandmo, Agnar, 2005. "The Theory of Tax Evasion: A Retrospective View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(4), pages 643-63, December.
  16. Slemrod, Joel, 1998. "On Voluntary Compliance, Voluntary Taxes, and Social Capital," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 3), pages 485-91, September.
  17. Haigner, Stefan & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Torgler, Benno, 2003. "To evade taxes or not to evade: that is the question," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 283-302, July.
  19. Thomas R. Palfrey, 2005. "Laboratory Experiments in Political Economy," Working Papers 91, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  20. Jeremy Clark, 1998. "Fairness in Public Good Provision: An Investigation of Preferences for Equality and Proportionality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 708-729, August.
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