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Black Sheep and Walls of Silence

  • Mühlheusser, Gerd
  • Roider, Andreas

In this paper we analyze the frequently observed phenomenon that (i) some members of a team (“black sheepâ€) exhibit behavior disliked by other (honest) team members, who (ii) nevertheless refrain from reporting such misbehavior to the authorities (they set up a “wall of silenceâ€). Much cited examples include hospitals and police departments. In this paper, these features arise in equilibrium. An important ingredient of our model are benefits that agents receive when cooperating with each other in a team. Our results suggest that teams in which the importance of these benefits varies across team members are especially prone to the above mentioned phenomenon.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 56.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:56
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  1. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
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  5. Kubler, Dorothea, 2001. "On the Regulation of Social Norms," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 449-76, October.
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  16. Juan Dubra, 2004. "Why do Good Cops Defend Bad Cops?," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 342, Econometric Society.
  17. Jeong-Yoo Kim & Keunkwan Ryu, 2003. "Yes-Men and No-Men: Does Defiance Signal Talent?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(3), pages 468-, September.
  18. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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