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Pointless Vendettas

12 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2009  

Klaus Abbink

University of East Anglia

Benedikt Herrmann

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

We introduce the experimental vendetta game. Two groups of four players each interact over ten identical rounds. In each round each player decides whether or not to reduce the payoff of each member of the other group, at an own cost. Reducing payoffs entails no material benefit for either the player or his group and is motivated by nastiness. Over the rounds, however, players can use reductions to avenge earlier transgressions. Fear of retaliation keeps destruction rates low (13%). The introduction of a symbolic reward, however, trebles the frequency of hostile acts (40%).

Keywords: Conflict, group behaviour, spite, laboratory experiments

JEL Classification: C90, D74, Z13

Suggested Citation

Abbink, Klaus and Herrmann, Benedikt, Pointless Vendettas (June 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1468452 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1468452

Klaus Abbink (Contact Author)

University of East Anglia ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
+441603593275 (Phone)
+441603456259 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uea.ac.uk

Benedikt Herrmann

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

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