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Black Sheep and Walls of Silence

  • Gerd Muehlheusser
  • Andreas Roider

In this paper we analyze the frequently observed phenomenon that (i) some members of a team (“black sheep”) exhibit behavior disliked by other (honest) team members, who (ii) nevertheless refrain from reporting such misbehavior to the authorities (they set up a “wall of silence”). Much cited examples include hospitals and police departments. In this paper, these features arise in equilibrium. An important ingredient of our model are benefits that agents receive when cooperating with each other in a team. Our results suggest that teams in which the importance of these benefits varies across team members are especially prone to the above mentioned phenomenon.

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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse17_2005.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision: Jun 2005
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse17_2005
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1991. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," NBER Working Papers 3822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S225-S258, December.
  3. Dhammika Dharmapala & Thomas J. Miceli, 2003. "Search, Seizure and (False?) Arrest: An Analysis of Fourth Amendment Remedies when Police can Plant Evidence," Working papers 2003-37, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Kübler, Dorothea, 2000. "On the regulation of social norms," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2000,38, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
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  13. Jean-Pierre Benoit & Juan Dubra, 2004. "Why Do Good Cops Defend Bad Cops?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 787-809, 08.
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  16. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
  17. John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime," NBER Working Papers 6784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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