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Extortion in the laboratory

Friedel Bolle, Yves Breitmoser () and Steffen Schlächter

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Abstract: In a laboratory experiment, we study a finitely repeated game (T=15) under complete information. In each round, P demands tribute (cash transfer) from A, A complies or refuses, and after refusals P may punish A. In equilibrium (payoff maximization), P does not punish and A refuses any positive demand. In the experiment, P punishes increasingly often and increasingly severely as she gains experience; most As comply with P's demands. The observations are compatible with linear spite. In a finite mixture model, the types of P and A in the subject pool are characterized. An A that is resistant to extortion (declines all demands) is very rare, and hence the threat of punishment in general is effective, but all As either ignore actual punishment or react negatively to it. They accept to pay tribute but they are resistant to piecemeal expropriation.

Keywords: C72; C91; D74; laboratory experiment; mafia; extortion; punishment; finitely repeated game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-05-12
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00989521
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Published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Elsevier, 2011, 78 (3), pp.207. ⟨10.1016/j.jebo.2011.01.005⟩

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00989521

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.01.005

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