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The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment

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Listed:
  • Astrid Hopfensitz

    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)

  • Ernesto Reuben

    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper experimentally explores how the enforcement of cooperative behavior in a social dilemma is facilitated through institutional as well as emotional mechanisms. Recent studies emphasize the importance of negatively valued emotions, such as anger, which motivate individuals to punish free riders. However, these types of emotions also trigger retaliatory behavior by the punished individuals. This makes the enforcement of a cooperative norm more costly. We show that in addition to anger, ‘social’ emotions like shame and guilt need to be present for punishment to be an effective deterrent of uncooperative actions. They play a key role by subduing the desire of punished individuals to retaliate and by motivating them to behave more cooperatively in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Astrid Hopfensitz & Ernesto Reuben, 2005. "The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-075/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 28 Mar 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20050075
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emotions; Punishment; Retaliation; Counter punishment; Social Norms; Fairness; Cooperation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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