IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Mixing the Carrots with the Sticks: Are Punishment and Reward Substitutes

Listed author(s):
  • Helen Mitchell
  • Nikos Nikiforakis

This paper presents evidence that the demand for costly norm enforcement can be affected by the availability of the means for enforcing the norm. Participants in a laboratory experiment can reward or punish to enforce a distribution norm. Controlling for the extent of norm violation, we find that demand for costly punishment is lower when participants also have the opportunity to reward norm adherence. Similarly, demand for costly reward is lower when participants can punish norm violations, controlling for the extent of norm adherence. The reason is that participants use reward and punishment to signal their approval and disapproval. The availability of reward opportunities allows them to signal their disapproval by withholding reward. Similarly, the availability of punishment opportunities allows them to signal their approval by withholding punishment. This suggests that individuals consider reward and punishment to be substitutes. The resultant reduction in costly enforcement does not affect adherence to the norm, but has a significant impact on earnings in the experiment.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1119.

in new window

Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1119
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 8560
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1119. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Muntasha Meemnun Khan)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.