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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