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Asymmetric obligations

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  • Riedel, Nadine
  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah

Abstract

We use a laboratory experiment to investigate the behavioral effects of obligations that are not backed by binding deterrent incentives. To implement such expressive law' we introduce different levels of very weakly incentivized, symmetric and asymmetric minimum contribution levels (obligations) in a repeated public goods experiment. The results provide evidence for a weak expressive function of law: while the initial impact of high obligations on behavior is strong, it decreases over time. Asymmetric obligations are as effective as symmetric ones. Our results are compatible with the argument that expressive law affects behavior by attaching an emotional cost of disobeying the own obligation.

Suggested Citation

  • Riedel, Nadine & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2011. "Asymmetric obligations," FZID Discussion Papers 28-2011, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fziddp:282011
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    Cited by:

    1. Keser, Claudia & Markstädter, Andreas & Schmidt, Martin, 2014. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogenous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 224, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    2. Fluet, Claude & Galbiati, Rpbertp, 2016. "Lois et normes : les enseignements de l'économie comportementale," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 92(1-2), pages 191-215, Mars-Juin.
    3. Kube, Sebastian & Schaube, Sebastian & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Khachatryan, Elina, 2015. "Institution formation and cooperation with heterogeneous agents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 248-268.
    4. Bruno Deffains & Claude Fluet & Romain Espinosa, 2017. "Laws and Norms: Experimental Evidence with Liability Rules," CIRANO Working Papers 2017s-13, CIRANO.
    5. Martinsson, Peter & Persson, Emil, 2016. "Public Goods and Minimum Provision Levels: Does the institutional formation affect cooperation?," Working Papers in Economics 655, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Keser, Claudia & Markstädter, Andreas & Schmidt, Martin, 2017. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogeneous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 291-310.
    7. Claudia Keser & Andreas Markstädter & Martin Schmidt, 2014. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogeneous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-47, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Non-binding Obligations; Expressive law; Public goods; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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