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A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments

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  • Nikos Nikiforakis
  • Hans-Theo Normann

Abstract

This paper provides a comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments. We vary systematically the effectiveness of punishment, that is, the factor by which punishment reduces the punished player’s income, and we find that contributions to the public good increase monotonically in effectiveness. High effectiveness leads to near complete contribution rates and welfare improvements. Below a certain threshold, however, punishment cannot prevent the decay of cooperation found in the public-good game without punishment. In these cases, the possibility to punish may even worsen welfare. Finally, we show that punishment is a normal and inferior good.
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Suggested Citation

  • Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(4), pages 358-369, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:11:y:2008:i:4:p:358-369
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-007-9171-3
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    1. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
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    4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2002. "Altruistic punishment in humans," Nature, Nature, vol. 415(6868), pages 137-140, January.
    5. Anderson, Christopher M. & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? The demand for punishment in the voluntary contribution mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-24, January.
    6. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann & Brian Wallace, 2007. "Asymmetric Enforcement of Cooperation in a Social Dilemma," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 982, The University of Melbourne.
    7. Ostrom, Elinor & Walker, James & Gardner, Roy, 1992. "Covenants with and without a Sword: Self-Governance Is Possible," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 404-417, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decentralized punishment; Punishment effectiveness; Public good; Welfare; C92; D70; H41;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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