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Sanctions that Signal: an Experiment



Sanctions are a means to provide incentives towards more pro-social behavior. Yet their implementation can be a signal that past behavior was undesirable. We investigate experimentally the importance of the informational content of the choice to sanction. We place this in a context of a coordination game to focus attention on beliefs and information and less on intrinsic or pro-social motivations. We compare the e ect of sanctions that are introduced exogenously by the experimenter to that of sanctions which have been actively chosen by a subject who takes the role of a fictitious policy maker with superior information about the previous e ort of the other players. We nd that cooperative subjects perceive actively chosen sanctions as a negative signal which eliminates for them the incentive e ect of sanctions.

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  • Roberto Galbiati & Karl Schlag & Joel van der Weele, 2011. "Sanctions that Signal: an Experiment," Vienna Economics Papers 1107, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:1107

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    Cited by:

    1. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Laws and Norms," NBER Working Papers 17579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Karl H. Schlag & Joël J. van der Weele, 2015. "A method to elicit beliefs as most likely intervals," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(5), pages 456-468, September.
    3. Danilov, Anastasia & Sliwka, Dirk, 2013. "Can Contracts Signal Social Norms? Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7477, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2014. "How laws affect behavior: Obligations, incentives and cooperative behavior," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 48-57.
    5. Michał Krawczyk & Joanna Tyrowicz & Anna Kukla-Gryz & Wojciech Hardy, 2015. "Do pirates play fair? Ethical judgment of unauthorized sports broadcasts," Working Papers 2015-15, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    6. Sophie Harnay & Elisabeth Tovar, 2017. "Obeying vs. resisting unfair laws. A structural analysis of the internalization of collective preferences on redistribution using classification trees and random forests," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-34, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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