Justification and Legitimate Punishment
23 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 17, 2014
Punishment can lose its legitimacy if the enforcer can profit from delivering punishment. We examine how justification can promote the legitimacy of punishment in a one-shot sender-receiver game where an independent third party can punish the sender upon seeing whether the sender lied. Most third parties who can profit from punishment punish the senders regardless of how the senders behave. However, when they have to provide explanations for their punishment decisions, significantly more third parties punish senders if and only if senders lie, and senders are also more likely to perceive punishment as legitimate and behave honestly.
JEL Classification: C72, C92, D63, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation