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Pointless vendettas

  • Klaus Abbink

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Benedikt Herrmann

    (University of Nottingham)

We introduce the experimental vendetta game. Two groups of four players each interact over ten identical rounds. In each round each player decides whether or not to reduce the payoff of each member of the other group, at an own cost. Reducing payoffs entails no material benefit for either the player or his group and is motivated by nastiness. Over the rounds, however, players can use reductions to avenge earlier transgressions. Fear of retaliation keeps destruction rates low (13%). The introduction of a symbolic reward, however, trebles the frequency of hostile acts (40%).

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 09-10.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:09-10
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  6. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
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