In the long-run we are all dead

on the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments

Dirk Engelmann, Nikos Nikiforakis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We investigate whether peer punishment is an efficient mechanism for enforcing cooperation in an experiment with a long time horizon. Previous evidence suggests that the costs of peer punishment can be outweighed by the benefits of higher cooperation if (i) there is a sufficiently long time horizon and (ii) punishment cannot be avenged. However, in most instances in daily life, when individuals interact for an extended period of time, punishment can be retaliated. We use a design that imposes minimal restrictions on who can punish whom or when, and allows participants to employ a wide range of punishment strategies including retaliation of punishment. Similar to previous research, we find that, when punishment cannot be avenged, peer punishment leads to higher earnings relative to a baseline treatment without any punishment opportunities. However, in the more general setting, we find no evidence of group earnings increasing systematically or significantly over time relative to the baseline treatment. Our results raise questions under what conditions peer punishment can be an efficient mechanism for enforcing cooperation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)561-577
    Number of pages17
    JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
    Volume45
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

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    penalty
    Punishment
    Peers
    retaliation
    evidence
    time
    experiment
    costs

    Keywords

    • C92
    • D70
    • H41

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Economics and Econometrics

    Cite this

    In the long-run we are all dead : on the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments. / Engelmann, Dirk; Nikiforakis, Nikos.

    In: Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 45, No. 3, 01.10.2015, p. 561-577.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Engelmann, Dirk ; Nikiforakis, Nikos. / In the long-run we are all dead : on the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments. In: Social Choice and Welfare. 2015 ; Vol. 45, No. 3. pp. 561-577.
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