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Norm enforcement in the city: A natural field experiment

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  • Loukas Balafoutas
  • Nikos Nikiforakis

Abstract

Extensive evidence from laboratory experiments indicates that many individuals are willing to use costly punishment to enforce social norms, even in one-shot interactions. However, there appears to be little evidence in the literature of such behavior in the field. We study the propensity to punish norm violators in a natural field experiment conducted in the main subway station in Athens, Greece. The large number of passengers ensures that strategic motives for punishing are minimized. We study violations of two distinct efficiency enhancing social norms. In line with laboratory evidence, we find that individuals punish norm violators. However, these individuals are a minority. Men are more likely than women to punish violators, while the decision to punish is unaffected by the violator's height and gender. Interestingly, we find that violations of the better known of the two norms are substantially less likely to trigger punishment. We present additional evidence from two surveys providing insights into the determinants of norm enforcement.

Suggested Citation

  • Loukas Balafoutas & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2012. "Norm enforcement in the city: A natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00385, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00385
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nikos Nikiforakis & Helen Mitchell, 2014. "Mixing the carrots with the sticks: third party punishment and reward," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, March.
    2. Loukas Balafoutas & Nikos Nikiforakis & Bettina Rockenbach, 2016. "Altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of norm violations in the field," Natural Field Experiments 00638, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:204-230 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gächter, Simon & Gerhards, Leonie & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2017. "The importance of peers for compliance with norms of fair sharing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 72-86.
    5. Butler, Je rey V. & Conzo, Pierluigi & Leroch, Martin A., 2013. "Social Identity and Punishment," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201329, University of Turin.
    6. Kamei, Kenju & Putterman, Louis, 2015. "In broad daylight: Fuller information and higher-order punishment opportunities can promote cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 145-159.
    7. Dirk Engelmann & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2015. "In the long-run we are all dead: on the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(3), pages 561-577, October.
    8. Kriss, Peter H. & Weber, Roberto A. & Xiao, Erte, 2016. "Turning a blind eye, but not the other cheek: On the robustness of costly punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 159-177.
    9. Balafoutas, Loukas & Grechenig, Kristoffel & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2014. "Third-party punishment and counter-punishment in one-shot interactions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 308-310.
    10. Andreoni, James & Gee, Laura K., 2012. "Gun for hire: Delegated enforcement and peer punishment in public goods provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1036-1046.
    11. Artavia-Mora, Luis & Bedi, Arjun S. & Rieger, Matthias, 2017. "Intuitive help and punishment in the field," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 133-145.
    12. Fehr, Dietmar & Sutter, Matthias, 2016. "Gossip and the Efficiency of Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 9704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Tim Friehe & Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, 2018. "Predicting norm enforcement: the individual and joint predictive power of economic preferences, personality, and self-control," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 127-146, February.
    14. Jillian Jordan & Katherine McAuliffe & David Rand, 2016. "The effects of endowment size and strategy method on third party punishment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 741-763, December.
    15. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Noussair, Charles N. & Wilkening, Tom, 2012. "Normative conflict and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 797-807.
    16. Asiedu, Edward & Ibanez, Marcela, 2014. "The weaker sex? Gender differences in punishment across Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies," Discussion Papers 165743, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    17. Tsusaka, Takuji W. & Kajisa, Kei & Pede, Valerien O. & Aoyagi, Keitaro, 2015. "Neighborhood effects and social behavior: The case of irrigated and rainfed farmers in Bohol, the Philippines," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 227-246.
    18. Mbiti, Isaac M. & Serra, Danila, 2018. "Health Workers' Behavior, Patient Reporting and Reputational Concerns: Lab-in-the-Field Experimental Evidence from Kenya," IZA Discussion Papers 11352, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Artavia-Mora, Luis & Bedi, Arjun S. & Rieger, Matthias, 2018. "Help, Prejudice and Headscarves," IZA Discussion Papers 11460, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Boyu Zhang & Cong Li & Hannelore Silva & Peter Bednarik & Karl Sigmund, 2014. "The evolution of sanctioning institutions: an experimental approach to the social contract," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 285-303, June.
    21. Artavia Mora, L.D., 2016. "Intuitive cooperation in The Hague : A natural field experiment," ISS Working Papers - General Series 614, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    22. Ramalingam, Abhijit & Godoy, Sara & Morales, Antonio J. & Walker, James M., 2016. "An individualistic approach to institution formation in public good games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 18-36.
    23. Zuzana Berná & Jiøí Špalek, 2012. "The decentralization of punishments in experiments with public goods," Working Papers 05, Masaryk University, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Department of Public Economics, revised Mar 2013.
    24. Le Zhang & Andreas Ortmann, 2013. "On the Interpretation of Giving, Taking, and Destruction in Dictator Games and Joy-of-Destruction Games," Discussion Papers 2012-50A, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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