Non-Governmental Public Norm Enforcement in Large Societies as a Two-Stage Game of Voluntary Public Good Provision
In small groups, norm enforcement is achieved through mutual punishment and reward. In large societies, norms are enforced by specialists such as government officials. However, not every public cause is overseen by states, for instance those organized at the international level. This paper shows how non-governmental norm enforcement can emerge as a decentralized equilibrium. As a first stage, individuals voluntarily contribute to a non-governmental agency that produces an incentive system. The second stage is the provision of a public good on the basis of private contributions. The incentive system punishes and rewards deviations from the norm for contributions by means of public approval or disapproval of behavior. It is shown that, even in large populations, nongovernmental norm enforcement can be supported in a non-cooperative equilibrium of utility-maximizing individuals.
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