Third-Party Punishment: Retribution or Deterrence?
44 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2014 Last revised: 22 Sep 2014
Date Written: April 16, 2014
We conduct an experiment to examine the role of retribution and deterrence in motivating third party punishment. In particular, we consider how the role of these two motives may differ according to whether a third party is a group or an individual. In a one-shot prisoner’s dilemma game with third party punishment, we find groups punish more when the penalty embeds deterrence than when it can only be retributive. In contrast, individual third parties’ punishment decisions do not vary on whether the punishment has any deterrent effect. In general, third party groups are less likely to impose punishment than individuals even though the punishment is costless for third parties.
Keywords: third-party punishment, group decision making, retribution, deterrence, social dilemmas, experiment
JEL Classification: C72, C92, D63, D70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation