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Gun For Hire: Does Delegated Enforcement Crowd out Peer Punishment in Giving to Public Goods?

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  • James Andreoni
  • Laura K. Gee

Abstract

This paper compares two methods to encourage socially optimal provision of a public good. We compare the efficacy of vigilante justice, as represented by peer-to-peer punishment, to delegated policing, as represented by the "hired gun" mechanism, to deter free riding and improve group welfare. The "hired gun" mechanism (Andreoni and Gee, 2011) is an example of a low cost device that promotes complete compliances and minimal enforcement as the unique Nash equilibrium. We find that subjects are willing to pay to hire a delegated policing mechanism over 70% of the time, and that this mechanism increases welfare between 15% to 40%. Moreover, the lion's share of the welfare gain comes because the hired gun crowds out vigilante peer-to-peer punishments.

Suggested Citation

  • James Andreoni & Laura K. Gee, 2011. "Gun For Hire: Does Delegated Enforcement Crowd out Peer Punishment in Giving to Public Goods?," NBER Working Papers 17033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17033 Note: PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anya Savikhin & Roman Sheremeta, 2010. "Visibility of Contributions and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Working Papers 10-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
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    3. Michael Kosfeld & Akira Okada & Arno Riedl, 2009. "Institution Formation in Public Goods Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1335-1355, September.
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    5. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
    6. Jakub Steiner, 2007. "A trace of anger is enough: on the enforcement of social norms," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(1), pages 1-4.
    7. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
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    13. Ertan, Arhan & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Who to punish? Individual decisions and majority rule in mitigating the free rider problem," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 495-511, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    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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