Altruistic Punishment and the Threat of Feuds

27 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008 Last revised: 16 Nov 2010

See all articles by Nikos Nikiforakis

Nikos Nikiforakis

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Dirk Engelmann

University of London - Royal Holloway - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 19, 2010

Abstract

Altruistic punishment may promote cooperation, but can also lead to costly feuds. We examine how the threat of feuds a¤ects individuals' willingness to engage in altruistic punishment in a public good experiment in which the number of stages is determined by participants' actions. The design allows participants to use a range of punishment strategies. We …nd that participants employ strategies that prevent the breakout of feuds. When feuds can span several periods, the extent of altruistic punishment is greatly reduced. This leads to progressively lower levels of cooperation and earnings relative to a baseline treatment where punishment cannot be avenged.

Keywords: feuds, altruistic punishment, counter-punishment, public good game, revenge

JEL Classification: C92, D70, H41

Suggested Citation

Nikiforakis, Nikos and Engelmann, Dirk, Altruistic Punishment and the Threat of Feuds (October 19, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1313368 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1313368

Nikos Nikiforakis (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/nnikiforakis/home

Dirk Engelmann

University of London - Royal Holloway - Department of Economics ( email )

Egham, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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