publication . Preprint . 2015

When Do Punishment Institutions Work?

Patrick Aquino; Robert S. Gazzale; Sarah Jacobson;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 Jul 2015
While peer punishment sometimes motivates increased cooperation, it sometimes reduces cooperation. We use a lab experiment to study why punishment sometimes fails. We begin with a gift exchange game with punishment as it has typically been implemented therein since punishment has often backfired in this game. We modify two features of punishment that could increase its efficacy: punishment's strength and its timing (whether the punisher publicly pre-commits to punishment or acts after the punishee). We replicate the result that peer punishment in gift exchange games can reduce cooperation, but show that this bad outcome disappears if punishment is more powerful....
free text keywords: punishment, cooperation, gift exchange, reciprocity, jel:D03, jel:C91, jel:D64, jel:J49, jel:H41
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