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Emotions, Sanctions and Cooperation

  • Mateus Joffily


    (IPUB, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Av. Venceslau Brás, 71, 22290-140, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; CNRS, Centre des Neurosciences Cognitives, Bron, France)

  • David Masclet


    (CNRS, CREM, 7 Place Hoche, 35065 Rennes, France, CIRANO, Montreal)

  • Charles N. Noussair


    (Department of Economics, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands)

  • Marie-Claire Villeval


    (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France)

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    We use skin conductance responses and self-reports of hedonic valence to study the emotional basis of cooperation and punishment in a social dilemma. Emotional reaction to free-riding incites individuals to apply sanctions when they are available. The application of sanctions activates a "virtuous emotional circle" that accompanies cooperation. Emotionally aroused cooperators relieve negative emotions when they punish free riders. In response, the free-riders experience negative emotions when punished, and increase their subsequent level of cooperation. The outcome is an increased level of contribution that becomes the new standard or norm. For a given contribution level, individuals attain higher levels of satisfaction when sanctioning institutions are in place.

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    Paper provided by Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure in its series Working Papers with number 1113.

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    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1113
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