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Counterpunishment revisited: an evolutionary approach

  • Wolff, Irenaeus

Evolutionary game theory has shown that in environments characterised by a social-dilemma situation punishment may be an adaptive behaviour. Experimental evidence closely corresponds to this finding but yields contradictory results on the cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment if players are allowed to retaliate against their punishers. The present study sets out to examine the question of whether cooperation will still be part of an evolutionary stable strategy if we allow for counterpunishment opportunities in a theoretic model and tries to reconcile the seemingly contradictory findings from the laboratory. We find that the apparent contradictions can be explained by a difference in the number of retaliation stages employed (one vs many) and even small differences in the degree of retaliativeness.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/16923/1/MPRA_paper_16923.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16923.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16923
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  1. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos & Rowthorn, Robert, 2006. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do: the coevolution of altruistic punishment, conformist learning, and cooperation," MPRA Paper 2037, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
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  7. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2004. "Social Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0229r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  8. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  9. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  10. 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.
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Henrich, Joseph, 2003. "Is Strong Reciprocity a Maladaption? On the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Altruism," CEPR Discussion Papers 3860, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
  13. Nikos Nikiforakis & Dirk Engelmann, 2008. "Feuds in the Laboratory? A Social Dilemma Experiment," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1058, The University of Melbourne.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Dreber, Anna & Rand, David G. & Nowak, Martin, 2008. "Winners Don't Punish," Scholarly Articles 2252594, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Torsten Decker & Andreas Stiehler & Martin Strobel, 2003. "A Comparison of Punishment Rules in Repeated Public Good Games," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 47(6), pages 751-772, December.
  16. Sethi, Rajiv, 1996. "Evolutionary stability and social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 113-140, January.
  17. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  18. M.A. Nowak & K. Sigmund, 1998. "Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity by Image Scoring/ The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," Working Papers ir98040, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
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