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On Punishment and Well-being

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Abstract

The existence of punishment opportunities has been shown to cause efficiency in public goods experiments to increase considerably. In this paper we ask whether punishment also has a downside in terms of process dissatisfaction. We conduct an experiment to study the conjecture that an environment with stronger punishment possibilities leads to higher material but lower subjective well-being. The more general motivation for our study stems from the notion that people??s subjective well-being may be affected by the institutional environment they find themselves in. Our findings show that harsher punishment possibilities lead to signficantly higher well-being, controlling for earnings and other relevant variables. People derive independent satisfaction from interacting under the protection of strong punishment possibilities. These results complement the evidence on the neural basis of altruistic punishment reported in de Quervain et al. (2004).

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  • Jordi Brandts & María Fernanda Rivas, 2007. "On Punishment and Well-being," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 705.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:705.07
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    Cited by:

    1. Zvonimir Bašic & Parampreet C. Bindra & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Angelo Romano & Matthias Sutter & Claudia Zoller, 2021. "The Roots of Cooperation," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2021_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Zvonimir Bašic & Parampreet Christopher Bindra & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Angelo Romano & Matthias Sutter & Claudia Zoller, 2021. "The Roots of Cooperation," CESifo Working Paper Series 9404, CESifo.
    3. Lane, Tom, 2017. "How does happiness relate to economic behaviour? A review of the literature," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 62-78.
    4. De Hoop, Thomas & Van Kempen, Luuk & Linssen, Rik & Van Eerdewijk, Anouka, 2010. "Women's Autonomy and Subjective Well-Being in India: How Village Norms Shape the Impact of Self-Help Groups," MPRA Paper 25921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Basic, Zvonimir & Bindra, Parampreet C. & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Romano, Angelo & Sutter, Matthias & Zoller, Claudia, 2021. "The Roots of Cooperation," IZA Discussion Papers 14467, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Róbert F. Veszteg & Erita Narhetali, 2010. "Public-good games and the Balinese," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(9), pages 660-675, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Goods; Experiments; Well-being; Punishment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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