The Limits of Self-Governance in the Presence of Spite: Experimental Evidence from Urban and Rural Russia

33 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2006

See all articles by Simon Gaechter

Simon Gaechter

University of Nottingham; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Benedikt Herrmann

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

We report evidence from public goods experiments with and without punishment which we conducted in Russia with 566 urban and rural participants of young and mature age cohorts. Russia is interesting for studying voluntary cooperation because of its long history of collectivism, and a huge urban-rural gap. In contrast to previous experiments we find no cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment. An important reason is that there is substantial spiteful punishment of high contributors in all four subject pools. Thus, spite undermines the scope for self-governance in the sense of high levels of voluntary cooperation that are sustained by sanctioning free riders only.

Keywords: social norms, free riding, punishment, spite, experiments

JEL Classification: H41, C91, D23, C72

Suggested Citation

Gachter, Simon and Herrmann, Benedikt, The Limits of Self-Governance in the Presence of Spite: Experimental Evidence from Urban and Rural Russia (July 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2236. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=923547

Simon Gachter (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Benedikt Herrmann

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

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