Turning the Lab into Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon A Lab Experiment on the Transparency of Punishment

31 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2010 Last revised: 19 Jun 2018

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

The most famous element in Bentham’s theory of punishment, the Panopticon Prison, expresses his view of the two purposes of punishment, deterrence and special prevention. This paper inves-tigates Bentham’s intuition in a public goods lab experiment, by manipulating how much infor-mation on punishment experienced by others is available to would-be offenders. Compared with the tone that Jeremy Bentham set, the result is non-expected: If would-be offenders learn about contributions and punishment of others at the individual level, they contribute much less to the public project.

Keywords: Punishment, Deterrence, Special Prevention, Jeremy Bentham, Experiment, Public Good

JEL Classification: C91, H41, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph, Turning the Lab into Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon A Lab Experiment on the Transparency of Punishment (June 2018). MPI Collective Goods Preprint No. 2010/06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1555589 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1555589

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

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