Asymmetric Enforcement of Cooperation in a Social Dilemma

University of Melbourne Economics Working Paper No. 982

36 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2007 Last revised: 1 Dec 2008

See all articles by Nikos Nikiforakis

Nikos Nikiforakis

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Hans-Theo Normann

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Department of Economics; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Brian Wallace

University College London - Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2008

Abstract

We use a public-good experiment to analyze behavior in a decentralized asymmetric punishment institution. The institution is asymmetric in the sense that players differ in the effectiveness of their punishment. At the aggregate level, we observe remarkable similarities between outcomes in asymmetric and symmetric punishment institutions. Controlling for the average punishment effectiveness of the institutions, we find that asymmetric punishment institutions are as effective in fostering cooperation and as efficient as symmetric institutions. At the individual level, we find that players with higher punishment effectiveness contribute similar amounts to the public account, but have higher earnings and punish more than their weak counterparts.

Keywords: Asymmetry, decentralized punishment, public good, punishment effectiveness

JEL Classification: C92, D70, H41

Suggested Citation

Nikiforakis, Nikos and Normann, Hans-Theo and Wallace, Brian, Asymmetric Enforcement of Cooperation in a Social Dilemma (December 1, 2008). University of Melbourne Economics Working Paper No. 982, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=956246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.956246

Nikos Nikiforakis (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/nnikiforakis/home

Hans-Theo Normann

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Department of Economics ( email )

Duesseldorf
Germany

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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

Brian Wallace

University College London - Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE) ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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