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Punishment, counterpunishment and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment

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  • Laurent Denant-Boemont
  • David Masclet
  • Charles Noussair

Abstract

We present the results of an experiment that explores the sanctioning behavior of individuals who experience a social dilemma. In the game we study, players choose contribution levels to a public good and subsequently have multiple opportunities to reduce the earnings of the other members of the group. The treatments vary in terms of individuals' opportunities to (a) avenge sanctions that have been directed toward themselves, and (b) punish others' sanctioning behavior with respect to third parties. We find that the individuals avenge sanctions they have received, punish those who fail to sanction third parties, and punish low contributors, even when punishment is costly to the sanctioner. When there are five rounds of unrestricted sanctioning, contributions and welfare are significantly lower than when only one round of sanctioning opportunities exists, and welfare is lower than the zero-cooperation benchmark.
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Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Denant-Boemont & David Masclet & Charles Noussair, 2007. "Punishment, counterpunishment and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 145-167, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:33:y:2007:i:1:p:145-167
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-007-0212-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods; Sanction enforcement; Counter punishment Information; 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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