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Rarer Actions: Giving and Taking in Third-Party Punishment Games

  • Simon Halliday


    (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

In attempting to understand cooperation, economists have used the methods of experimental economics to focus on spheres of human behavior in which humans display altruism, reciprocity, or other social preferences through giving and through punishment. Recent work has begun to examine whether allowing allocations in the negative domain, that is, allowing subjects to take (or steal) other subjects' endowments, might affect participants' behavior. If participants' behavior is a affected, then our understanding of experimental results generally, and social preferences specifically, should be affected too (List 2007, Bardsley 2008). In this paper we propose an experimental variation on the Dictator Game with third-party punishment (Fehr & Fischbacher 2004b). We examine, first, a basic Dictator Game with third-party punishment, after which we introduce a treatment allowing the dictator to take from the receiver, in the knowledge that the third party could punish them. The results conict. Many dictators choose the most self-interested option, while, when taking is introduced as an option for the dictator, third parties punish the most self-interested option more than in the baseline.

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Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 62.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:62
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  1. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1997. "The Moonlighting Game - An Experimental Study on Reciprocity and Retribution," Discussion Paper Serie B 415, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
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  8. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2003. "Behavioral Game Theory. Experiments in Strategic Interaction: Colin F. Camerer, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2003, p. 550, Price $65.00/[UK pound]42.95, ISBN 0-691-09039-4," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 717-720, December.
  9. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
  10. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
  11. Ronald Bosman & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frans Winden, 2006. "Exploring group decision making in a power-to-take experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 35-51, April.
  12. Oliver Bochet & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2002. "Communication and Punishment in Voluntary Contribution Experiments," Working Papers 2002-29, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  13. Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2009. "Cooperation under alternative punishment institutions: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 273-282, August.
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  15. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2010. "On inequity aversion: A reply to Binmore and Shaked," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 101-108, January.
  16. Bosman, Ronald & Sutter, Matthias & van Winden, Frans, 2005. "The impact of real effort and emotions in the power-to-take game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 407-429, June.
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  18. Friedman, Daniel, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264, March.
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  20. Ronald Bosman & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frans vanWinden, 2002. "Exploring Group Behavior in a Power-to-Take Video Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse7_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2002.
  21. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:715-753 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Klaus Abbink & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2008. "The Pleasure of Being Nasty," FEMM Working Papers 08037, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  23. Bohnet, Iris & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "Trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 443-445, December.
  24. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  25. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  26. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
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