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Vengeance

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  • Naci H. Mocan

Abstract

This paper investigates the extent of vengeful feelings and their determinants using data on more than 89,000 individuals from 53 countries. Country characteristics (such as per-capita income, average education of the country, presence of an armed conflict, the extent of the rule-of-law, uninterrupted democracy, individualism) as well as personal attributes of the individuals influence vengeful feelings. The magnitude of vengeful feelings is greater for people in low-income countries, in countries with low levels of education, low levels of the rule-of-law, in collectivist countries and in countries that experienced an armed conflict in recent history. Females, older people, working people, people who live in high-crime areas of their country and people who are at the bottom 50% of their country's income distribution are more vengeful. The intensity of vengeful feelings dies off gradually over time. The findings suggest that vengeful feelings of people are subdued as a country develops economically and becomes more stable politically and socially and that both country characteristics and personal attributes are important determinants of vengeance. Poor people who live in higher-income societies that are ethno-linguistically homogeneous are as vengeful as rich people who live in low-income societies that are ethno-linguistically fragmented. These results reinforce the idea that some puzzles about individual choice can best be explained by considering the interplay of personal and cultural factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Naci H. Mocan, 2008. "Vengeance," NBER Working Papers 14131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14131
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Mitsopoulos, 2009. "Envy, Institutions And Growth," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 201-222, July.
    2. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte, 2010. "Inequality-seeking punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 20-23, October.
    3. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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