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Indirect Social Sanctions from Monetarily Unaffected Strangers in a Public Good Game

Several economists have maintained that social sanctions can enforce cooperation in public good situations. This experimental study investigates whether indirect social sanctions from monetarily unaffected observers can increase contributions to a public good. The experiment has two treatment effects. First, each participant's identity and contribution to the public good is revealed to the monetarily unaffected observers. Second, information affecting participants’ beliefs about the degree to which the observers are contributors is introduced. The data suggests that indirect social sanctions from monetarily unaffected observers can increase voluntary contributions to public goods, provided that the subjects have reason to believe that the observers themselves are strong contributors.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 359.

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Date of creation: Oct 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:359
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  4. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2002. "Discrimination by Gender and Social Distance," Research Papers in Economics 2002:2, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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  12. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
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  17. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
  18. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  19. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2000. "Interactions-Based Models," Working Papers 00-05-028, Santa Fe Institute.
  20. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
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