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The Perils of Peer Punishment: Evidence from a Common Pool Resource Experiment

Gioia de Melo and Matías Piaggio ()

No 2015-12, Working Papers from Banco de México

Abstract: We provide experimental evidence on the effects of social disapproval by peers among communities of Uruguayan small-scale fishers exploiting a common pool resource (CPR). We combined this treatment with an in-group (groups from a single community) / mixed group (groups composed of fishers from different communities) treatment. We find that mixed groups, unlike in-groups, reduce their exploitation of the resource in response to the threat of punishment. Both in in-groups and mixed groups there is substantial antisocial punishment, which leads to increased extraction of the CPR by those who are unfairly punished. These findings indicate that effective peer punishment requires coordination to prevent antisocial targeting and to clarify the social signal conveyed by punishment.

Keywords: Social disapproval; Social preferences; Common pool resource. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 O12 C93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-env, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-net and nep-soc
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