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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. 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.
  2. Ken Binmore & Larry Samuelson, 1999. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 363-393.
  3. Rajiv Sethi & E.Somanathan, 2002. "Understanding reciprocity," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 02-05, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  4. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2006. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Caepr Working Papers 2006-005, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington, revised Aug 2006.
  5. 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.
  6. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1993. "An Economist's Perspective on the Evolution of Norms," Working papers 9323, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "Evolutionary stability and social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 113-140, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  11. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  12. Ghemawat, Pankaj, 1995. "Competitive Advantage and Internal Organization: Nucor Revisited," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 685-717, Winter.
  13. Güth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1993. "Competition or Co-Operation," Discussion Paper 1993-39, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  14. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews, 2002. "No Switchbacks: Rethinking Aspiration-Based Dynamics in the Ultimatum Game," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0218, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  15. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L. & Gale, J., 1993. "Learning to be Imperfect: The Ultimatum Game," Working papers 9325, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  16. 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.
  17. Nachbar, J H, 1990. ""Evolutionary" Selection Dynamics in Games: Convergence and Limit Properties," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 19(1), pages 59-89.
  18. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  19. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  20. 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.
  21. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1997. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Working papers 9729r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  22. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2006. "Mutual Monitoring in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence on the Importance of Reciprocity," IZA Discussion Papers 2106, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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