Responsibility to Punish: Discouraging Free-Riders in Public Goods Games
This study employs a public goods game in which participants can punish each other for free-riding. This paper examines the motivation for punishment behavior when the situation is such that a rational individual will not punish. This paper predicts and finds evidence for the punishment of free-ridership, even when not punishing is the profit-maximizing strategy. Specifically, this paper finds participants will punish more when designated the sole punisher for a group, than when all group members are allowed to punish. This result implies that those individuals who punish for non-rational reasons often free-ride on each others’ punishment. Accordingly, the study suggests individual responsibility is important for ensuring the strength of institutions aimed at punishing selfish behavior. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2008
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Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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