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
Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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