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Punishment History and Spillover Effects: A Laboratory Investigation of Behavior in a Social Dilemma

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  • David L. Dickinson
  • E. Glenn Dutcher
  • Cortney S. Rodet

Abstract

Punishment has been shown to be an effective reinforcement mechanism. Intentional or not, punishment will likely generate spillover effects that extend beyond one’s immediate decision environment, and these spillovers are not as well understood. We seek to understand these secondary spillover effects in a controlled lab setting using a standard social dilemma: the voluntary contributions mechanism game. We find that spillovers from punishment lead to either more or less cooperative behavior depending on the history of play. If subjects have direct experience with a punishment mechanism, they will contribute more to the public good after observing others’ punishment. The reverse is true of those who observe others’ punishment but have no exposure to direct experience with punishment. Key Words:

Suggested Citation

  • David L. Dickinson & E. Glenn Dutcher & Cortney S. Rodet, 2011. "Punishment History and Spillover Effects: A Laboratory Investigation of Behavior in a Social Dilemma," Working Papers 11-02, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:11-02
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    File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp1102.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Dickinson, 2001. "The Carrot vs. the Stick in Work Team Motivation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(1), pages 107-124, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Anderson, Lisa R & Stafford, Sarah L, 2003. "Punishment in a Regulatory Setting: Experimental Evidence from the VCM," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 91-110, July.
    4. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2011. "Punish in public," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 1006-1017.
    5. David Dickinson & Marie Claire Villeval, 2008. "Does Monitoring Decrease Work Effort?," Post-Print halshs-00276284, HAL.
    6. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2005. "Combining Monetary and Social Sanctions to Promote Cooperation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 649-660, July.
    7. Bendor, Jonathan & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1990. "Norms, Third-Party Sanctions, and Cooperation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 33-63, Spring.
    8. Haigner, Stefan & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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