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Social Reciprocity

  • Jeffrey Carpenter

    ()

  • Peter Matthews

    ()

We conduct a survey and find that 47% of respondents state they would sanction free riders in a team production scenario even though the respondent was not personally affected and no direct benefits could be expected to follow an intervention. To understand this phenomenon, we define social reciprocity as the act of demonstrating ones disapproval, at some personal cost, for the violation of a widely-held norm (for example, don’t free ride). Social reciprocity differs from reciprocity because social reciprocators punish all norm violators, regardless of group affiliation or whether or not the punisher bears the costs. Social reciprocity also differs from altruism because, while the latter is an outcome-oriented act benefiting someone else, the former is a triggered response not conditioned on future outcomes. To test the robustness of our survey results, we run a public goods experiment that allows players to punish each other. The experiment confirms the existence of social reciprocity and additionally demonstrates that more socially efficient outcomes arise when reciprocity can be expressed socially. Further we find that most subjects who punish do so to discipline transgressors and helping others is largely a positive externality. Finally, to provide some theoretical foundations for social reciprocity, we show that generalized punishment norms survive in one of the two stable equilibria of an evolutionary public goods game with selection drift.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0229.pdf
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Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0229.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0229
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  1. Nachbar, J H, 1990. ""Evolutionary" Selection Dynamics in Games: Convergence and Limit Properties," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 59-89.
  2. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
  3. Ken Binmore & Larry Samuelson, 1999. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 363-393.
  4. Guth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1993. "Competition or Co-Operation," Papers 9339, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  5. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  6. Jeffery Carpenter & Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2006. "Mutual Monitoring in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence on the Importance of Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0608, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  7. Rajiv Sethi & E.Somanathan, 2002. "Understanding reciprocity," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 02-05, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  8. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1998. "Mutual Monitoring in Teams: The Effects of Residual Claimancy and Reciprocity," Research in Economics 98-08-074e, Santa Fe Institute.
  9. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
  10. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1998. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," Research in Economics 98-08-073e, Santa Fe Institute.
  11. Martin Sefton & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 200504, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
  12. Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "Evolutionary stability and social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 113-140, January.
  13. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  14. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1997. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Working papers 9729r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2003. "No Switchbacks: Rethinking Aspiration-Based Dynamics in the Ultimatum Game," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0218r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  18. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
  19. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  20. Ghemawat, Pankaj, 1995. "Competitive Advantage and Internal Organization: Nucor Revisited," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 685-717, Winter.
  21. repec:att:wimass:9325 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. repec:att:wimass:9323 is not listed on IDEAS
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