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Norm enforcement in the city: A natural field experiment

  • Loukas Balafoutas

    ()

  • Nikos Nikiforakis

    ()

Extensive evidence from laboratory experiments indicates that many individuals are willing to use costly punishment to enforce social norms, even in one-shot interactions. However, there appears to be little evidence in the literature of such behavior in the field. We study the propensity to punish norm violators in a natural field experiment conducted in the main subway station in Athens, Greece. The large number of passengers ensures that strategic motives for punishing are minimized. We study violations of two distinct efficiency enhancing social norms. In line with laboratory evidence, we find that individuals punish norm violators. Men are more likely than women to punish violators, while the decision to punish is unaffected by the violator’s height and gender. Interestingly, we find that violations of the better known of the two norms are substantially less likely to trigger punishment. We present additional evidence from two surveys providing insights into the determinants of norm enforcement.

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File URL: http://eeecon.uibk.ac.at/wopec2/repec/inn/wpaper/2012-12.pdf
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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck in its series Working Papers with number 2012-12.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2012-12
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  4. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Engelmann, Dirk, 2011. "Altruistic punishment and the threat of feuds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 319-332, May.
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  9. 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.
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  11. Astrid Hopfensitz & Ernesto Reuben, 2005. "The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment," Discussion Papers 06-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Mar 2006.
  12. Noussair, Charles & van Soest, Daan & Stoop, Jan, 2011. "Punishment, reward, and cooperation in a framed field experiment," MPRA Paper 34067, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  14. 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.
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  19. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
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