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Feuds in the Laboratory? A Social Dilemma Experiment

  • Nikos Nikiforakis
  • Dirk Engelmann

Punishing free riders might promote cooperation, but it can also lead to feuds. We use a public good game with punishment opportunities to investigate whether the threat of feuds is e¢ ciency enhancing. Treatments di¤er with respect to whether a punish- ment can trigger a feud. In the main treatment (Feud) the number of punishment stages is endogenously determined and avoiding revenge is impossible. Participants are generally found to employ strategies that avoid the break out of feuds. While the possibility of a feud a¤ects punishment and contribution patterns, total earnings are not signi?cantly di¤erent from that in treatments where punishment opportunities do not exist or where punishment opportunities exist, but there is no possibility of escalation.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1058.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1058
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
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  1. Louis Putterman & Christopher M. Anderson, 2003. "Do Non-strategic Sanctions Obey the Law of Demand? The Demand for Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Working Papers 2003-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Knez Marc J. & Camerer Colin F., 1995. "Outside Options and Social Comparison in Three-Player Ultimatum Game Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 65-94, July.
  3. 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.
  4. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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  9. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
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  11. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Denant-Boemont, L. & Masclet, D. & Noussair, C.N., 2007. "Punishment, counterpunishment, and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment," Other publications TiSEM bf51dcf1-7064-41d1-8560-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. 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.
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  15. 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.
  16. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
  17. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2004. "Social learning and voluntary cooperation among like-minded people," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004 2004-12, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  18. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  19. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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