Public Implementation Eliminates Detrimental Effects of Punishment on Human Cooperation
Development of human societies requires cooperation among unrelated individuals and obedience to social norms. Although punishment is widely agreed to be potentially useful in fostering cooperation, many recent results in psychology and economics highlight punishments' failures in this regard. These studies ignore punishments' social effects, and particularly its role in promoting social norms. We show here, using experiments with human subjects, that public implementation of punishment can eliminate its detrimental effects on cooperation. In a public goods game designed to create tension between group and individual interests, we find that privately implemented punishment reduces cooperation relative to a baseline treatment without punishment. However, when that same incentive is implemented publicly, but anonymously, cooperation is sustained at significantly higher rates than in both baseline and private punishment treatments. These data support our hypothesis that public implementation of punishment enhances the salience of the violated social norm to both the punished and those who observed the punishment, and that this increased salience positively affects group members' norm obedience. Our findings point to the importance of accounting for social consequences of punishment when designing procedures to deter misconduct in social environments including schools, companies, markets and courts.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2006|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000.
"A Fine is a Price,"
The Journal of Legal Studies,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
- Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
- Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
- Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, "undated". "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," IEW - Working Papers 095, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr, 2003. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," Microeconomics 0305010, EconWPA.
- Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 714, CESifo Group Munich.
- Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Rachel Croson & James Sundali, 2005. "The Gambler’s Fallacy and the Hot Hand: Empirical Data from Casinos," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 195-209, May.
- Bruno S. Frey & Reto Jegen, 2000. "Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey of Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 245, CESifo Group Munich.
- 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.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, "undated". "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
- Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Social norms and human cooperation," Macroeconomics 0409026, EconWPA.
- Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
- Camerer, Colin F, 1989. "Does the Basketball Market Believe in the 'Hot Hand'?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1257-1261, December.
- Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, "undated". "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
- Elster, Jon, 1996. "Rationality and the Emotions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1386-1397, September.
- Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, EconWPA, revised 18 May 2005. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1977. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.