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Punishment, Counterpunishment and Sanction Enforcement in a Social Dilemma Experiment

  • David Masclet


    (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - CNRS - Université de Caen Basse-Normandie - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1)

  • Laurent Denant-Boèmont

    (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - CNRS - Université de Caen Basse-Normandie - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1)

  • Charles Noussair

    (EMORY UNIVERSITY - Emory University - Emory University)

We present the results of an experiment that explores the sanctioning behavior of individuals who experience a social dilemma. In the game we study, players choose contribution levels to a public good and subsequently have multiple opportunities to reduce the earnings of the other members of the group. The treatments vary in terms of individuals' opportunities to (a) avenge sanctions that have been directed toward themselves, and (b) punish others' sanctioning behavior with respect to third parties. We find that the individuals avenge sanctions they have received, punish those who fail to sanction third parties, and punish low contributors, even when punishment is costly to the sanctioner. When there are five rounds of unrestricted sanctioning, contributions and welfare are significantly lower than when only one round of sanctioning opportunities exists, and welfare is lower than the zero-cooperation benchmark.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00009664.

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Date of creation: 17 Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00009664
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  1. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and non Monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Post-Print halshs-00175251, HAL.
  2. Anderson, Christopher M. & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? The demand for punishment in the voluntary contribution mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-24, January.
  3. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  4. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2004. "Punishing Free-Riders: How Group Size Affects Mutual Monitoring and the Provision of Public Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 1337, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Olivier Bochet & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2005. "Communication and Punishment in Voluntary Contribution Experiments," Working Papers 2005-09, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
  7. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
  8. Mark Isaac, R. & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., 1985. "Public goods provision in an experimental environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 51-74, February.
  9. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
  10. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2005. "Combining Monetary and Social Sanctions to Promote Cooperation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 649-660, July.
  11. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
  12. Marco Casari, 2005. "On the Design of Peer Punishment Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(2), pages 107-115, June.
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