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A Comparative Statics Analysis of Punishment in Public-Good Experiments

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This paper provides a comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments. We vary systematically the effectiveness of punishment, that is, the factor by which punishment reduces the punished player’s income, and we find that contributions to the public good increase monotonically in effectiveness. High effectiveness leads to near complete contribution rates and welfare improvements. Below a certain threshold, however, punishment cannot prevent the decay of cooperation found in the public-good game without punishment. In these cases, the possibility to punish may even worsen welfare. Finally, we show that punishment is a normal and inferior good.

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  • Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2005. "A Comparative Statics Analysis of Punishment in Public-Good Experiments," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 05/07, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Jun 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0507
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    1. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann & Brian Wallace, 2010. "Asymmetric Enforcement of Cooperation in a Social Dilemma," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 638-659, January.
    2. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Ostrom, Elinor & Walker, James & Gardner, Roy, 1992. "Covenants with and without a Sword: Self-Governance Is Possible," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 404-417, June.
    5. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
    6. Marco Casari, 2005. "On the Design of Peer Punishment Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(2), pages 107-115, June.
    7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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