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The Demand for Punishment

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  • Jeffrey Carpenter

Abstract

While many experiments demonstrate that the actual behavior is different than predicted behavior, they have not shown that economic reasoning is necessarily incorrect. Instead, these experiments illustrate that the problem with homo economicus is that his preferences have been mis-specified. Modeled with social preferences, agents who forgo material gains can often be called rational. The current experiment illustrates this point with an example. Assuming self-interested agents, punishment is not credible in social dilemmas, yet people are often willing to incur costs to punish free riders. Despite this seeming irrationality, we show that these same people react to changes in the price of punishing and income as if punishment was an ordinary and normal good.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Carpenter, 2002. "The Demand for Punishment," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0243, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0243
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public good; social dilemma; experiment; punishment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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