Let the Punishment Fit the Criminal: An Experimental Study
42 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 23, 2018
We use a laboratory experiment to study the extent to which people tailor levels of punishment to the subjective experience of the person to receive that punishment, for both monetary and non-monetary sanctions. We find that subjects tend to apply higher fines to wealthier individuals. Additionally, subjects assign more repetitions of a tedious task to those with a lower willingness to pay to avoid it. We find no evidence that the distributions of monetary and non-monetary punishments are different when considered as proportions of the maximum possible punishment, but that this does not hold when non-monetary punishments are converted into monetary equivalents. This suggests that subjects do not have in mind a particular level of disutility from the punishment, but rather are guided by the sentencing possibilities.
Keywords: Monetary Punishment, Non-Monetary Punishment, Subjective Experience, Laboratory Experiment
JEL Classification: C91, D03, K14, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation