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The Behavioural Consequences of Unfair Punishment

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  • Michalis Drouvelis

Abstract

Experimental evidence from public good games with punishment suggests that punishment works when subjects assign it fairly by sanctioning non-cooperators. This paper reports an experiment in which punishment is assigned unfairly in the sense that it is not linked to individual behaviour and is melted out to all group members (irrespective of their prior behaviour). We test whether unfair punishment generates different contribution and punishment behaviour relative to the standard punishment game. Our findings suggest different dynamics of average contributions in the presence of unfair punishment relative to the standard punishment game. Contribution levels are significantly different only when subjects have obtained experience from both games. We also find that, although the assignment of punishment is unaffected after the experience of an environment with unfair punishment, a history of unfair punishment makes a difference regarding reactions to alleviation, reward and punishment received.

Suggested Citation

  • Michalis Drouvelis, 2010. "The Behavioural Consequences of Unfair Punishment," Discussion Papers 10-34, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-34
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/10-34.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michalis Drouvelis & Julian C. Jamison, 2015. "Selecting public goods institutions: Who likes to punish and reward?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 501-534, October.
    2. Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Promoting Cooperation: the Distribution of Reward and Punishment Power," Discussion Papers 2012-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Recriprocity; Unfair punishment; Public good experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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