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Sanction Enforcement among Third Parties:New Experimental Evidence from Two Societies

Kenju Kamei, Smriti Sharma and Matthew Walker
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Smriti Sharma: Business School, Newcastle University

No 2023-010, Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series from Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University

Abstract: Sanction enforcement offers the potential to mitigate free riding on punishment among multiple third parties. This paper experimentally studies third-party enforcement of social norms in a prisoner fs dilemma game with and without opportunities for higher-order punishment. Based on insights from the literature on cooperation, kinship and moral systems, we compare people fs sanction enforcement across student subjects in two societies: India and the United Kingdom. The experiment results show that, in both societies, third parties f first-order punishment is most severe for defectors and that a third party fs failure to punish a defector invites higher-order punishment from their fellow third parties. These findings are consistent with a model of social preferences and literature from anthropology and theoretical biology. Further, third-party punishment is stronger in the UK than in India, consistent with the conjecture that people in a society with relatively looser ancestral kinship ties are more willing to engage in pro-social punishment. However, in contrast to the theory or conjecture, there is clear difference in the group size effects between the two research sites: whereas third parties free ride on others f punitive acts in the UK, they punish more when in the presence of other third parties in India.

Keywords: Experiment; Third-party punishment; Higher-order; Cross-societal variation; Public Goods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D01 D91 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 90 pages
Date: 2023-04-26
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-des, nep-exp and nep-law
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