Altruistic Compensation Vs. Altruistic Punishment: How People Restore Justice
29 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008
Date Written: November 9, 2008
In general, our justice system provides two types of reactions when justice is not served: punishing the perpetrator or compensating the victim. The present study focuses on outsiders observing a situation of injustice. We directly compare punishment and compensation behavior by introducing a newly developed altruistic compensation game, and comparing this to behavior in the altruistic punishment game (Fehr & Fischbacher, 2004). We show that outsiders were willing to altruistically (i.e. costly) compensate the victim (Experiment 1), even when they could also punish the perpetrator (Experiment 2). Moreover, this was moderated by emphatic concern (Experiment 3). Participants who scored high on empathic concern decided to compensate, whereas participants who scored low on empathic concern decided to punish. The implications for justice literature and avenues for future research are discussed.
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