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Inequality aversion and antisocial punishment

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  • Christian Thöni

Abstract

Antisocial punishment—punishment of pro-social cooperators—has shown to be detrimental for the efficiency of informal punishment mechanisms in public goods games. The motives behind antisocial punishment acts are not yet well understood. This article shows that inequality aversion predicts antisocial punishment in public goods games with punishment. The model by Fehr and Schmidt (Q J Econ 114(3): 817–868, 1999 ) allows to derive conditions under which antisocial punishment occurs. With data from three studies on public goods games with punishment I evaluate the predictions. A majority of the observed antisocial punishment acts are not compatible with inequality aversion. These results suggest that the desire to equalize payoffs is not a major determinant of antisocial punishment. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Thöni, 2014. "Inequality aversion and antisocial punishment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 529-545, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:76:y:2014:i:4:p:529-545
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-013-9382-3
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    Cited by:

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    5. Stephen Cheung, 2014. "New insights into conditional cooperation and punishment from a strategy method experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 129-153, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Antisocial punishment; Inequality aversion; Public goods; Informal punishment; Experimental economics; D03; H41; C72; C91;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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