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Driving Forces of Informal Sanctions

Author

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  • Armin Falk
  • Ernst Fehr
  • Urs Fischbacher

Abstract

Informal sanctions are a major determinant of a society's social capital because they are key to the enforcement of implicit agreements and social norms. Yet, little is known about the driving forces behind informal sanctions. We systematically examine the determinants of informal sanctions by a large number of experiments. Our findings show that the violation of fairness principles is the most important driving force of sanctions but, in addition, a non-negligible part of the sanctions is driven by spitefulness. We find surprisingly little evidence for strategic sanctions that are imposed to create future material benefits. While non-strategic sanctions are of major importance in our experiments, strategic sanctions seem to play a negligible role. Within the class of fairness-driven sanctions the motive to harm those who committed unfair actions seems most important.

Suggested Citation

  • Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Driving Forces of Informal Sanctions," IEW - Working Papers 059, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:059
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp059.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Stoff, 2004. "Establishing Cooperation between Groups: Ingroup versus Outgroup Punishment," SOI - Working Papers 0416, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Feb 2006.
    2. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
    3. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2003. "Money and the Gains from Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 263-297, February.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich, "undated". "Markets Is Strong Reciprocity a Maladaptation? On the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Altruism," IEW - Working Papers 140, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich, 2003. "Is Strong Reciprocity a Maladaptation? On the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Altruism," CESifo Working Paper Series 859, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. 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.
    7. David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2006. "Punishment, Inequality and Emotions," Working Papers 0604, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    8. Kohnz, Simone, 2006. "Self-Serving Biases in Bargaining," Discussion Papers in Economics 899, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    9. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
    10. Nicholas Shunda, 2005. "A Model of Rights," Working papers 2005-53, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2004. "Money and Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 915-944.
    13. Berentsen, Aleksander & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2002. "On the efficiency of monetary exchange: how divisibility of money matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1621-1649, November.
    14. Reto Foellmi & Urs Meister, 2005. "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntary Non-discriminatory Pricing," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 115-135, June.
    15. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
    16. Marco Casari & Luigi Luini, 2005. "Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 002, University of Siena.
    17. Visser, Martine & Burns, Justine, 2006. "Bridging the Great Divide in South Africa: Inequality and Punishment in the Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers in Economics 219, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    informal sanction; social norm; social capital; strategic sanction; fairness; reciprocity; spitefulness;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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