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Retributive responses


  • Güth, Werner
  • Kliemt, Hartmut
  • Ockenfels, Axel


Retributive responses do play a role in human behavior. Whether they are primarily triggered by supposed intentions or by observed consequences of actions is an important question. It can be addressed by experimental studies of retributive responses in situations in which the individual actor may inflict harmful consequences without intending and intend harmful consequences without inflicting them. Our experimental results indicate that retributive responses are more strongly influenced by observed consequences than by ascribed intentions. However, individual retributive motivations seem to be overshadowed by concerns that are non-retributive altogether in that they focus on end state distributions independently of who brought them about.

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  • Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut & Ockenfels, Axel, 2001. "Retributive responses," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,11, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
    3. Gary Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 1998. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(3), pages 207-219, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Kagel, John H. & Kim, Chung & Moser, Donald, 1996. "Fairness in Ultimatum Games with Asymmetric Information and Asymmetric Payoffs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 100-110, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut, 2010. "What ethics can learn from experimental economics -- If anything," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 302-310, September.
    2. Werner Güth & Hironori Otsubo, 2011. "Whom to blame? An experiment of collective harming and punishing," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-046, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Gary Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2005. "A stress test of fairness measures in models of social utility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(4), pages 957-982, June.
    4. Bolle, Friedel & Kaehler, Jessica, 2007. "Experimenters' choices of trust experiments and their consequence for meta-studies," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 865-874, December.
    5. Hermann Brandstätter & Werner Güth & Hartmut Kliemt, "undated". "Philosophical, Psychological and Economic Aspects of Choice Making," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-06, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

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