Altruistic punishment and the threat of feuds

Nikos Nikiforakis, Dirk Engelmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Altruistic punishment may promote cooperation, but can also lead to costly feuds. We examine how the threat of feuds affects individuals' willingness to engage in altruistic punishment in a public good experiment in which the number of stages is determined by participants' actions. The design imposes minimal restrictions on who can punish whom and when, and therefore allows participants to use a range of punishment strategies. We find that participants recognize the threat of feuds and respond to it by employing strategies that prevent their breakout. When feuds can span several periods, the extent of altruistic punishment is greatly reduced. This leads to progressively lower levels of cooperation and earnings relative to a baseline treatment where punishment cannot be avenged.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)319-332
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
    Volume78
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2011

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    Threat
    Punishment
    Willingness

    Keywords

    • Altruistic punishment
    • Counter-punishment
    • Feuds
    • Public good game
    • Revenge

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

    Cite this

    Altruistic punishment and the threat of feuds. / Nikiforakis, Nikos; Engelmann, Dirk.

    In: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 78, No. 3, 01.05.2011, p. 319-332.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Nikiforakis, Nikos ; Engelmann, Dirk. / Altruistic punishment and the threat of feuds. In: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. 2011 ; Vol. 78, No. 3. pp. 319-332.
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