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Choosing the carrot or the stick? ? Endogenous institutional choice in social dilemma situations


  • Matthias Sutter


  • Stefan Haigner


  • Martin Kocher



We analyze an experimental public goods game in which group members can endogenously determine whether they want to supplement a standard voluntary contribution mechanism with the possibility of rewarding or punishing other group members. We find a large and positive effect of endogenous institutional choice on the level of cooperation in comparison to exogenously implemented institutions. This suggests that participation rights enhance cooperation in groups. With endogenous choice, groups typically vote for the reward option, even though punishment is actually more effective in sustaining high levels of cooperation. Our results are evaluated against the predictions of social preference models.

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  • Matthias Sutter & Stefan Haigner & Martin Kocher, "undated". "Choosing the carrot or the stick? ? Endogenous institutional choice in social dilemma situations," Working Papers 2008-07, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  • Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2008-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2005. "Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1176, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    3. Stephan Kroll & Todd L. Cherry & Jason F. Shogren, 2007. "Voting, Punishment, And Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 557-570, July.
    4. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2004. "Fairness and Incentives in a Multi-task Principal-Agent Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 453-474, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
    8. Marco Casari, 2005. "On the Design of Peer Punishment Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(2), pages 107-115, June.
    9. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(4), pages 358-369, December.
    10. Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2006. "Peer Punishment in Teams: Emotional or Strategic Choice?," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1188, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    public goods; punishment; reward; endogenous institutional choice; voting; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior


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