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Social Identity and Punishment

Third party punishment is crucial for sustaining cooperative behavior. Still, little is known about its determinants. In this paper we use laboratory experiments to investigate a long-conjectured interaction between group identi cation and bystanders' punishment preferences using a novel measure of these preferences. We induce minimal groups and give a bystander the opportunity to punish the perpetrator of an unfair act against a defenseless victim. We elicit the bystander's valuation for punishment in four cases: when the perpetrator, the victim, both or neither are members of the bystander's group. We generate testable predictions about the rank order of punishment valuations from a simple framework incorporating group-contingent preferences for justice which are largely con rmed. Finally, we conduct control sessions where groups are not induced. Comparing punishment across treatment and control suggests that third-party punishers tend to treat others as in-group members unless otherwise divided.

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Paper provided by University of Turin in its series Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers with number 201329.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uto:dipeco:201329
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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  3. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," IZA Discussion Papers 2020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2005. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation or Reciprocity?," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0503, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  5. Loukas Balafoutas & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2011. "Norm Enforcement in the city: A natural field experiment," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1133, The University of Melbourne.
  6. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
  7. Lewisch Peter G. & Ottone Stefania & Ponzano Ferruccio, 2011. "Free-Riding on Altruistic Punishment? An Experimental Comparison of Third-Party Punishment in a Stand-Alone and in an In-Group Environment," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 161-190, June.
  8. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
  9. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  10. Marco Casari & Luigi Luini, 2012. "Peer punishment in teams: expressive or instrumental choice?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 241-259, June.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  12. McLeish, Kendra N. & Oxoby, Robert J., 2007. "Identity, Cooperation, and Punishment," IZA Discussion Papers 2572, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2010. "Norm Enforcement: The Role of Third Parties," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 239-258, June.
  14. Guala, Francesco & Mittone, Luigi & Ploner, Matteo, 2013. "Group membership, team preferences, and expectations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 183-190.
  15. Tan, Fangfang & Xiao, Erte, 2011. "Peer punishment with third-party approval in a social dilemma game," MPRA Paper 35473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-57, March.
  17. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2005. "Managing diversity by creating team identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 371-392, November.
  18. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  19. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
  20. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2005. "The Willingness to Pay–Willingness to Accept Gap, the "Endowment Effect," Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 530-545, June.
  21. Roy Chen & Yan Chen, 2011. "The Potential of Social Identity for Equilibrium Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2562-89, October.
  22. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2014. "Beliefs and ingroup favoritism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 453-462.
  23. Hugh Jones, David; Leroch, Martin A, 2011. "Reciprocity towards Groups," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 52, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  24. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2012. "The Impact of Social Ties on Group Interactions: Evidence from Minimal Groups and Randomly Assigned Real Groups," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 101-15, February.
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