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What Norms Trigger Punishment

  • Jeffrey Carpenter


  • Peter Hans Matthews


Many experiments have demonstrated the power of norm enforcement-peer monitoring and punishment-to maintain, or even increase, contributions in social dilemma settings, but little is known about the underlying norms that monitors use to make punishment decisions. Using a large sample of experimental data, we empirically recover the set of norms used most often by monitors and show ?rst that the decision to punish should be modeled separately from the decision of how much to punish. Second, we show that absolute norms often ?t the data better than the group average norm often assumed in related work. Third, we ?nd that di?erent norms seem to in?uence the decisions about punishing violators inside and outside one’s own group.

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Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0708.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0708
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  1. Arhan Ertan & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2005. "Can Endogenously Chosen Institutions Mitigate the Free-Rider Problem and Reduce Perverse Punishment?," Working Papers 2005-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Seki, Erika, 2005. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence from Fishermen in Toyama Bay," IZA Discussion Papers 1697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2004. "Social Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0229r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  4. Masclet, D. & Noussair, C. & Tucker, S. & Villeval, M.C., 2001. "Monetary and Non-monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1141, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "Punishing free-riders: How group size affects mutual monitoring and the provision of public goods," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 31-51, July.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Jeffrey Carpenter, 2002. "The Demand for Punishment," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0243, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Kosfeld Michael & Okada Akira & Riedl Arno, 2006. "Institution Formation in Public Goods Games," Research Memorandum 029, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  10. Marco Casari, 2005. "On the Design of Peer Punishment Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 107-115, June.
  11. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
  12. Nikos Nikiforakis, 2004. "Punishment and Counter-punishment in Public Goods Games: Can we still govern ourselves?," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 04/05, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Apr 2004.
  13. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "A comparative statics analysis of punishment in public-good experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 358-369, December.
  14. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert & Hwang, Sung-Ha, 2009. "Strong reciprocity and team production: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 221-232, August.
  15. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2005. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation or Reciprocity?," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0503, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  16. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-37, August.
  17. Falkinger, Josef, 1996. "Efficient private provision of public goods by rewarding deviations from average," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 413-422, November.
  18. Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
  19. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2006. "The limits of self-governance in the presence of spite: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers 2006-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  20. Josef Falkinger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "A Simple Mechanism for the Efficient Provision of Public Goods - Experimental Evidence," IEW - Working Papers 003, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  21. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  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).
  23. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  24. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  25. Nijman, Theo & Verbeek, Marno, 1992. "Nonresponse in Panel Data: The Impact on Estimates of a Life Cycle Consumption Function," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(3), pages 243-57, July-Sept.
  26. Poirier, Dale J., 1975. "On the use of bilinear splines in economics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 23-34, February.
  27. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
  28. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Non-response in panel data : The impact on estimates of a life cycle consumption function," Other publications TiSEM 3c661e33-2cd1-47f1-a7d9-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  29. Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2010. "Norm Enforcement: The Role of Third Parties," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 239-258, June.
  30. 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.
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