Normative Perception of Power Abuse
Leonard Hoeft (),
Wladislaw Mill () and
Alexander Vostroknutov ()
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Leonard Hoeft: Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Alexander Vostroknutov: Maastricht University
No 2019_06, Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods from Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
We study how the powerful perceive power abuse, and how negative experience related to it influences the appropriateness judgments of the powerless. We create an environment conducive to unfair exploitation in a repeated Public Goods game where one player (punisher) is given a further ability to costlessly subtract money from others (victims). Punishers who abuse their power rationalize their behavior by believing that free-riding, while forcing others to contribute, is not inappropriate. More importantly, victims of such abuse also start to believe that punishers’ free-riding and punishment are justifiable. Our findings demonstrate the capacity of humans to exculpate abusive behavior.
Keywords: power abuse; norms; public goods; punishment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C92 K42 H41 D73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-exp and nep-law
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2019_06
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