Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 537–559 | Cite as

Punishment, reward, and cooperation in a framed field experiment

  • Charles N. NoussairEmail author
  • Daan van Soest
  • Jan Stoop


We report the results of a framed field experiment, in which we study the effectiveness of punishment and reward in sustaining cooperation in a social dilemma. Punishments tend to be directed at non-cooperators and rewards are assigned by those who are relatively cooperative. In contrast to the results typically found in laboratory experiments, however, we find that punishments and rewards fail to increase the average level of cooperation.


Effort Level Negative Externality Social Dilemma Baseline Treatment Cooperation Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NWO, for financial support as part of the Program on Evolution and Behavior. We would like to thank Ben and Shirley Willems for use of their fishing facility, and Paul Ludena Delgado, Joris Hoendervangers, Stef van Kessel, and Menusch Khadjavi for excellent research assistance. We thank two anonymous referees, as well as seminar participants at Iowa State and Nottingham Universities for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles N. Noussair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daan van Soest
    • 2
  • Jan Stoop
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Economics and CentERTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Tilburg Sustainability CenterTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Applied EconomicsErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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