Normative Perception of Power Abuse

47 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2019

See all articles by Leonard Hoeft

Leonard Hoeft

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

Wladislaw Mill

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Alexander Vostroknutov

Maastricht University

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

We study how the powerful perceive power abuse, and how negative experience related to it influences the appropriateness judgments of the powerless. We create an environment conducive to unfair exploitation in a repeated Public Goods game where one player (punisher) is given a further ability to costlessly subtract money from others (victims). Punishers who abuse their power rationalize their behavior by believing that free-riding, while forcing others to contribute, is not inappropriate. More importantly, victims of such abuse also start to believe that punishers’ free-riding and punishment are justifiable. Our findings demonstrate the capacity of humans to exculpate abusive behavior.

Keywords: power abuse, norms, public goods, punishment

JEL Classification: C91, C92, K42, H41, D73

Suggested Citation

Hoeft, Leonard and Mill, Wladislaw and Vostroknutov, Alexander, Normative Perception of Power Abuse (March 2019). MPI Collective Goods Discussion Paper, No. 2019/6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3350484 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3350484

Leonard Hoeft (Contact Author)

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

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

Wladislaw Mill

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

Alexander Vostroknutov

Maastricht University ( email )

Department of Economics
P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.vostroknutov.com

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