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How peer-punishment affects cooperativeness in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups: A public goods experiment with social identity

  • Bicskei, Marianna
  • Lankau, Matthias
  • Bizer, Kilian
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    This article analyzes how the anticipation of peer-punishment affects cooperativeness in the provision of public goods under social identity. For this purpose we conduct one-shot public good games with induced social identity and implement in-group, out-group and random matching protocols. Our measure of cooperativeness is subjects' conditional contribution elicited via the strategy method, which allows for observing behavior contingent on every possible level of group members' cooperation. We demonstrate, firstly, that the social environment is a determinant of how the threat of peer-punishment influences cooperation. The strongest increase is clearly evident when subjects interact with members of different identities, which is especially the case for individuals who were initially categorized as freeriders. Secondly, anticipation of peer-punishment clearly eliminates the typically existing ingroup bias without punishment and renders out-group members to be as cooperative as ingroups members. Lastly, the results indicate that the institutions of peer-punishment and social identity may be complemented in order to raise subjects' cooperativeness.

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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/95936/1/782162681.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Goettingen, Department of Economics in its series Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers with number 200.

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    Date of creation: 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:200
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Platz der Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen
    Web page: http://www.cege.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/

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    1. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2005. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1032-1053, October.
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    7. Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
    8. Lankau, Matthias & Bicskei, Marianna & Bizer, Kilian, 2012. "Cooperation preferences in the provision of public goods: An experimental study on the effects of social identity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 148, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    9. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 2491, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. B. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran & Robert J. Oxoby, 2011. "Us and `Them': the origin of identity, and its economic implications," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(3), pages 719-748, August.
    11. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The impact of group membership on cooperation and norm enforcement: evidence using random assignment to real social groups," Working Papers 06-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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    14. Surajeet Chakravarty & Miguel A. Fonseca, 2013. "Discrimination via Exclusion: An Experiment on Group Identity and Club Goods," Discussion Papers 1302, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
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    16. Weng, Qian & Carlsson, Fredrik, 2013. "Cooperation in teams: the role of identity, punishment and endowment distribution," Working Papers in Economics 551, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    17. Anderson, Christopher M. & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? The demand for punishment in the voluntary contribution mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-24, January.
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    20. Lankau, Matthias & Bicskei, Marianna & Bizer, Kilian, 2012. "Cooperation preferences in the provision of public goods: An experimental study on the effects of social identity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 148, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    21. Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann, 2012. "When to Favour Your Own group? The Threats of Costly Punishments and In-group Favouritism," Economics Series Working Papers 628, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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