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An investment game with third-party intervention

  • Charness, Gary B
  • Cobo-Reyes, Ramón
  • Jiménez, Natalia

This paper explores the effect of the possibility of third-party intervention on behavior in a variant of the Berg, Dickhaut, and McCabe (1995) “Investment Gameâ€. A third party’s material payoff is not affected by the decisions made by the other participants, but this person may choose to punish a responder who has been overly selfish. The concern over this possibility may serve to discipline potentially-selfish responders. We also explore a treatment in which the third party may also choose to reward a sender who has received a low net payoff as a result of the responder’s action. We find a strong and significant effect of third-party punishment, in both punishment regimes, as the amount sent by the first mover is more than 60% higher when there is the possibility of third-party punishment. We also find that responders return a higher proportion of the amount sent to them when there is the possibility of punishment, with this proportion slightly higher when reward is not feasible. Finally, third parties punish less when reward is feasible, but nevertheless spend more on the combination of reward and punishment when these are both permitted than on punishment when this is the only choice for redressing material outcomes.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt7qg338r3.

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Date of creation: 16 Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt7qg338r3
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  3. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Gneezy, Uri & Guth, Werner & Verboven, Frank, 2000. "Presents or investments? An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 481-493, October.
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  12. Charness, Gary B, 1999. "Responsibility And Effort In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x98w91h, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  14. Nancy Buchan & Rachel Croson, 1999. "Gender and Culture: International Experimental Evidence from Trust Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 386-391, May.
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  18. Martin Sefton & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 200504, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
  19. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "The relative price of fairness: gender differences in a punishment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 143-158, August.
  20. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
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