Experimental Economics

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 265–279 | Cite as

Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?

  • Matthias Cinyabuguma
  • Talbot Page
  • Louis Putterman


Recent experiments have shown that voluntary punishment of free riders can increase contributions, mitigating the free-rider problem. But frequently punishers punish high contributors, creating “perverse” incentives which can undermine the benefits of voluntary punishment.

In our experiment, allowing punishment of punishing behaviors reduces punishment of high contributors, but gives rise to efficiency-reducing second-order “perverse” punishment. On balance, efficiency and contributions are slightly but not significantly enhanced.


Public goods Collective action Experiment Punishment 


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Cinyabuguma
    • 1
  • Talbot Page
    • 2
  • Louis Putterman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MarylandBaltimore County
  2. 2.Economics and Environmental StudiesBrown UniversityProvidence
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsBrown UniversityProvidence

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