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The Hired Gun Mechanism

Author

Listed:
  • James Andreoni
  • Laura K. Gee

Abstract

We present and experimentally test a mechanism that provides a simple, natural, low cost, and realistic solution to the problem of compliance with socially determined efficient actions, such as contributing to a public good. We note that small self-governing organizations often place enforcement in the hands of an appointed leader-the department chair, the building superintendent, the team captain. This hired gun, we show, need only punish the least compliant group member, and then only punish this person enough so that the person would have rather been the second least compliant. We show experimentally this mechanism, despite having very small penalties out of equilibrium, reaches the full compliance equilibrium almost instantly.

Suggested Citation

  • James Andreoni & Laura K. Gee, 2011. "The Hired Gun Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 17032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17032
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17032.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fudenberg, Drew & Pathak, Parag A., 2010. "Unobserved punishment supports cooperation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 78-86, February.
    2. Jakub Steiner, 2007. "A trace of anger is enough: on the enforcement of social norms," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(1), pages 1-4.
    3. Ho, Teck-Hua & Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1998. "Iterated Dominance and Iterated Best Response in Experimental "p-Beauty Contests."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 947-969, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
    6. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    7. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kamijo, Y. & Nihonsugi, T. & Takeuchi, A. & Funaki, Y., 2014. "Sustaining cooperation in social dilemmas: Comparison of centralized punishment institutions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 180-195.
    2. Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Promoting Cooperation: the Distribution of Reward and Punishment Power," Discussion Papers 2012-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    3. Chen, Josie I, 2014. "Obedience to Rules with Mild Sanctions: The Roles of Peer Punishment and Voting," MPRA Paper 55364, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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