Advertisement

Economic Theory

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 145–167 | Cite as

Punishment, counterpunishment and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment

  • Laurent Denant-Boemont
  • David Masclet
  • Charles N. Noussair
Open Access
Symposium

Abstract

We present the results of an experiment that explores the sanctioning behavior of individuals who experience a social dilemma. In the game we study, players choose contribution levels to a public good and subsequently have multiple opportunities to reduce the earnings of the other members of the group. The treatments vary in terms of individuals’ opportunities to (a) avenge sanctions that have been directed toward themselves, and (b) punish others’ sanctioning behavior with respect to third parties. We find that individuals do avenge sanctions they have received, and this serves to decrease contribution levels. They also punish those who fail to sanction third parties, but the resulting increase in contributions is smaller than the decrease the avenging of sanctions induces. When there are five rounds of unrestricted sanctioning, contributions and welfare are significantly lower than when only one round of sanctioning opportunities exists, and welfare is lower than at a benchmark of zero cooperation.

Keywords

Public goods Sanction enforcement Counter punishment Information 

JEL Classification Numbers

C92 D70 H41 

References

  1. Anderson, C., Putterman, L.: Do non-strategic sanctions obey the law of demand? the demand for punishment in the voluntary contributions mechanism. Games Econ Behav (forthcoming) (2005)Google Scholar
  2. Andreoni J. (1988) Why free ride: strategies and learning in public goods experiments. J Public Econ 35(1): 57–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bochet, O., Page, T., Putterman, L.: Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments. J Econ Behav Organ (forthcoming) (2005b)Google Scholar
  4. Bolton G., Ockenfels A. (2000) ERC: A theory of equity, reciprocity, and cooperation. Am Econ Rev 90, 163–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carpenter, J.: Punishing free riders: how group size affects mutual monitoring and the provision of public goods. Games Econ. Behav. (forthcoming) (2005a)Google Scholar
  6. Carpenter, J.: The demand for punishment. J Econ Behav Organ (forthcoming) (2005b)Google Scholar
  7. Casari M. (2005) On the design of peer punishment experiments. Exp Econ 8(2): 107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cinyabuguma M., Page T., Putterman L. (2004) On perverse and second-order punishment in public goods experiments with decentralized sanctioning. working paper. Providence, Brown UniversityGoogle Scholar
  9. Cinyabuguma M., Page T., Putterman L. (2005) Can second order punishment deter perverse punishment. working paper. Providence, Brown UniversityGoogle Scholar
  10. Coleman, J.: Foundations of Social Theory. Belknap Press of Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  11. Dufwenberg M., Kirchsteiger G. (2004) A theory of sequential reciprocity. Games Econ Behav 47, 268–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Falk, A., Fehr, E., Fischbacher, U.: Driving forces of informal sanctions Econometrica (forthcoming) (2005)Google Scholar
  13. Fehr E., Gaechter S. (2004) Cooperation and punishment in public goods experiments. Am Econ Rev 90(4): 980–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fischbacher, U.: z-Tree: A toolbox for readymade economic experiments. working paper. Zurich: University of Zurich, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (1999)Google Scholar
  15. Gaechter S., Fehr E. (1999) Collective action as a social exchange. J Econ Behav Organ 39(2): 341–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gaechter, S., Herrmann, B.: Norms of Cooperation Among Urban and Rural Dwellers: Experimental Evidence from Russia, mimeo. Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, Nottingham (2005)Google Scholar
  17. Isaac R.M., McCue K., Plott C. (1985) Public goods provision in an experimental environment. J Public Econ 26(1): 51–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Isaac R.M., Walker J. (1988a) Group size effects in public goods provision: the voluntary contributions mechanism. Q J Econ 103(1): 179–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Isaac R.M., Walker J. (1988b) Communication and free-riding behavior: the voluntary contributions mechanism. Econ Inquiry 26(4): 585–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ledyard, J.: Public goods: a survey of experimental research. In Kagel, J. and Roth, A. (eds.) Handbook of Experimental Economics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 111–194Google Scholar
  21. Masclet D., Noussair C., Tucker S., Villeval M. (2003) Monetary and non-monetary punishment in the voluntary contributions mechanism. Am Econ Rev 93(1): 366–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nikiforakis N.S. (2004) Punishment and Counter-punishment in Public Goods Games: Can We Still Govern Ourselves? working paper. Royal Holloway, University of LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. Noussair C., Tucker S. (2005) Combining monetary and social sanctions to promote cooperation. Econ Inquiry 43(3): 649–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ostrom E., Walker J., Gardner R. (1992) Covenants with and without a sword: self-governance is possible. Am Polit Sci Rev 86(2): 404–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yamagishi T. (1986) The provision of a sanctioning system as a public good. J Personality Soc Psychol. 51(1): 110–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Denant-Boemont
    • 2
  • David Masclet
    • 2
    • 3
  • Charles N. Noussair
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversité Rennes 1RennesFrance
  3. 3.CIRANOMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations