Let the Punishment Fit the Criminal: An Experimental Study

42 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

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

Montag, Josef and Tremewan, James, Let the Punishment Fit the Criminal: An Experimental Study (July 23, 2018). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3218262

Josef Montag (Contact Author)

Charles University ( email )

nam. Curieovych 7
Prague 1, 11640
Czech Republic

HOME PAGE: http://josefmontag.github.io

No contact information is available for James Tremewan

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