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Letting off Steam! Experimental Evidence on Inappropriate Punishment

Elina Khachatryan () and Christoph Buehren ()
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Elina Khachatryan: University of Kassel
Christoph Buehren: Clausthal University of Technology

MAGKS Papers on Economics from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung)

Abstract: Aggression is displaced when provocations cannot be directly retaliated against and when it is redirected towards a target innocent of any wrongdoing. While this phenomenon is widespread, it has not been widely explored in experimental economics. We fill this gap and find that a sizeable proportion of subjects (37%), when treated unfairly, punish co-players who are not at all responsible for the unfairness. When in a disadvantaged position, inequity-aversion seems to be the driving force of punishment, yet when treated fairly, some subjects (17%) exhibit status-seeking behavior. Moreover, students affiliated with an armed forces university are much more likely than regular students to engage in displaced aggression.

Keywords: Displaced Aggression; Punishment; Soldiers; Dictator Game, Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26 pages
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe and nep-exp
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mar:magkse:202039

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