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Punishment Cannot Sustain Cooperation in a Public Good Game with Free-Rider Anonymity

Author

Listed:
  • Patel, Amrish

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Cartwright, Edward

    () (Department of Economics, Keynes College, University of Kent)

  • Mark, Van Vugt

    () (Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

Individuals often have legitimate but publicly unobservable reasons for not partaking in cooperative social endeavours. This means others who lack legitimate reasons may then have the opportunity to behave uncooperatively, i.e. free-ride, and be indistinguishable from those with legitimate reasons. Free-riders have a degree of anonymity. In the context of a public good game we consider the e¤ect of free-rider anonymity on the ability of voluntary punishment to sustain cooperative social norms. Despite only inducing a weak form of free-rider anonymity, punishment falls and cannot sustain cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Patel, Amrish & Cartwright, Edward & Mark, Van Vugt, 2010. "Punishment Cannot Sustain Cooperation in a Public Good Game with Free-Rider Anonymity," Working Papers in Economics 451, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0451
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/22373
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Attila Ambrus & Ben Greiner, 2012. "Imperfect Public Monitoring with Costly Punishment: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3317-3332, December.
    2. Alessandro Bucciol & Natalia Montinari & Marco Piovesan & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2014. "It Wasn't Me! Visibility and Free Riding in Waste Sorting," Discussion Papers 14-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Erte Xiao & Howard Kunreuther, 2016. "Punishment and Cooperation in Stochastic Social Dilemmas," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 60(4), pages 670-693, June.
    4. Robbett, Andrea, 2016. "Sustaining cooperation in heterogeneous groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 121-138.
    5. Sander Onderstal & Arthur J.C. Schram & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2011. "Bidding to give in the Field: Door-to-Door Fundraisers had it right from the Start," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-070/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 10 Nov 2011.
    6. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2013. "Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 72-85.
    7. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2014. "Reprint of: Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 87-100.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anonymity; free-riding; public goods experiment; punishment;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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