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The limits of self-governance in the presence of spite: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia

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  • Simon Gaechter

    () (University of Nottingham)

  • Benedikt Herrmann

    () (University of Nottingham)

Abstract

We report evidence from public goods experiments with and without punishment which we conducted in Russia with 566 urban and rural participants of young and mature age cohorts. Russia is interesting for studying voluntary cooperation because of its long history of collectivism, and a huge urban-rural gap. In contrast to previous experiments we find no cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment. An important reason is that there is substantial spiteful punishment of high contributors in all four subject pools. Thus, spite undermines the scope for self-governance in the sense of high levels of voluntary cooperation that are sustained by sanctioning free riders only.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2006. "The limits of self-governance in the presence of spite: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers 2006-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2006-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Ernesto Reuben & Arno Riedl, 2009. "Public Goods Provision and Sanctioning in Privileged Groups," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 53(1), pages 72-93, February.
    2. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews, 2009. "What norms trigger punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 272-288, September.
    3. Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2009. "Cooperation under alternative punishment institutions: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 273-282, August.
    4. Armin Falk & Christian Zehnder, 2007. "Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 318, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, September.
    6. Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Visser, Martine, 2008. "Does stake size matter for cooperation and punishment?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 508-511, June.
    7. Ye, Maoliang & Nikolov, Plamen & Casaburi, Lorenzo & Asher, Sam, 2008. "Do threshold patterns matter in public good provision?," MPRA Paper 12029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Visser, Martine & Burns, Justine, 2006. "Bridging the Great Divide in South Africa: Inequality and Punishment in the Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers in Economics 219, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Vollan, Bjorn & Prediger, Sebastian & Frolich, Markus, 2010. "The influence of collective property rights on grazing management in a semi-arid region," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-30, December.
    10. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Lamla, Bettina, 2014. "The long Shadow of Socialism: On East-West German Differences in Financial Literacy," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100585, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Visser, Martine & Burns, Justine, 2013. "Inequality, Social Sanctions and Cooperation within South African Fishing," SALDRU Working Papers 117, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    12. Visser, M. & Burns, J., 2015. "Inequality, social sanctions and cooperation within South African fishing communities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 95-109.
    13. Asher, Sam & Casaburi, Lorenzo & Nikolov, Plamen & Ye, Maoliang, 2009. "One Step at a Time: Do Threshold Patterns Matter in Public Good Provision?," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-5, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    14. repec:mea:meawpa:14282 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2006. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Prevalence, Behaviour and Success," CEPR Discussion Papers 5789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    Keywords

    social norms; free riding; punishment; spite; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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