The importance of emotions for the effectiveness of social punishment

Astrid Hopfensitz, Ernesto Reuben

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article experimentally explores how the enforcement of cooperative behaviour in a social dilemma is facilitated through institutional as well as emotional mechanisms. Recent studies emphasise the importance of anger and its role in motivating individuals to punish free riders. However, we find that anger also triggers retaliatory behaviour by the punished individuals. This makes the enforcement of a cooperative norm more costly. We show that in addition to anger, 'social'emotions like guilt need to be present for punishment to be an effective deterrent of uncooperative actions. They play a key role by subduing the desire of punished individuals to retaliate and by motivating them to behave more cooperatively in the future.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1534-1559
    Number of pages26
    JournalEconomic Journal
    Volume119
    Issue number540
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 17 2009

    Fingerprint

    Anger
    Emotion
    Punishment
    Enforcement
    Social dilemma
    Cooperative behavior
    Free riders
    Trigger
    Guilt

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics

    Cite this

    The importance of emotions for the effectiveness of social punishment. / Hopfensitz, Astrid; Reuben, Ernesto.

    In: Economic Journal, Vol. 119, No. 540, 17.09.2009, p. 1534-1559.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Hopfensitz, Astrid ; Reuben, Ernesto. / The importance of emotions for the effectiveness of social punishment. In: Economic Journal. 2009 ; Vol. 119, No. 540. pp. 1534-1559.
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