Erte Xiao () and
Nina Xue ()
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Erte Xiao: Monash University
Nina Xue: Monash University
Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University
The literature on punishment and prosocial behavior has presented conflicting findings. In some settings, punishment crowds out prosocial behavior and backfires, in others, however, it promotes prosociality. We examine whether the punisherâ€™s motives can help reconcile these results through a novel experiment in which the agentâ€™s outcomes are identical in two environments, but in one punishment is self-serving (i.e., potentially benefits the punisher) while in the other it is other-regarding (i.e., potentially benefits a third party). We find that self-regarding punishment reduces the social stigma of selfish behavior, while other-regarding punishment does not. As a result, self-serving punishment is less effective at encouraging compliance and is more likely to backfire compared to other-regarding punishment. Our findings have implications for the design of punishment mechanisms and highlight the importance of the punisherâ€™s motives in the norm-signalling function of punishment.
Keywords: Punishment; norms; stigma; crowd out; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C91 D02 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp and nep-soc
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Working Paper: Norm-signalling punishment (2022)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:aah:aarhec:2022-07
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