Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Bonn - Economic Science Area; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
University of Zurich - Department of Economics
University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics
IZA Discussion Paper No. 1635
This paper investigates the driving forces behind informal sanctions in cooperation games and the extent to which theories of fairness and reciprocity capture these forces. We find that cooperators' punishment is almost exclusively targeted towards the defectors but the latter also impose a considerable amount of spiteful punishment on the cooperators. However, spiteful punishment vanishes if the punishers can no longer affect the payoff differences between themselves and the punished individual, whereas the cooperators even increase the resources devoted to punishment in this case. Our data also discriminate between different fairness principles. Fairness theories that are based on the assumption that players compare their own payoff to the group's average or the group's total payoff cannot explain the fact that cooperators target their punishment at the defectors. Fairness theories assuming that players aim to minimize payoff inequalities cannot explain the fact that cooperators punish defectors even if payoff inequalities cannot be reduced. Therefore, retaliation, i.e., the desire to harm those who committed unfair acts, seems to be the most important motive behind fairness-driven informal sanctions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: sanctioning, cooperation, social norm, reciprocity, fairness, spitefulness
JEL Classification: A13, D63, D23, C92, K42working papers series
Date posted: July 18, 2005
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.578 seconds