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Asymmetric Enforcement of Cooperation in a Social Dilemma

  • Nikos Nikiforakis


    (Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 3010, Victoria, Australia)

  • Hans-Theo Normann


    (Department of Management and Applied Microeconomics, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Grueneburgplatz 1, 60629 Frankfurt, Germany)

  • Brian Wallace


    (ELSE & Department of Economics, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK)

We use a public-good experiment to analyze behavior in a decentralized asymmetric punishment institution. The institution is asymmetric in the sense that players differ in the effectiveness of their punishment. At the aggregate level, we observe remarkable similarities between outcomes in asymmetric and symmetric punishment institutions. Controlling for the average punishment effectiveness of the institutions, we find that asymmetric punishment institutions are as effective in fostering cooperation and are as efficient as symmetric institutions. At the individual level, we find that players with higher punishment effectiveness contribute similar amounts to the public account but have higher earnings and punish more than their weak counterparts.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 76 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 638-659

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:76:3:y:2010:p:638-659
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