Egalitarian Motive and Altruistic Punishment
Nature, Vol. 433, January 2005
3 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2007
Altruistic punishment is a behaviour in which individuals punish others at a cost to themselves in order to provide a public good. Fehr and Gächter1 present experimental evidence suggesting that negative emotions toward non-cooperators motivate punishment which, in turn, facilitates high levels of cooperation in humans. Using Fehr and Gächter's original data, we provide an alternative analysis of the experiment that suggests egalitarian motives are more important than motives to punish non-cooperative behaviour - a finding consistent with evidence that humans may have an evolutionary incentive to punish the highest earners in order to promote equality, not cooperation.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation