Deviant or Wrong? The Effects of Norm Information on the Efficacy of Punishment
Eugen Dimant () and
Erte Xiao ()
No 16, PPE Working Papers from Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania
A stream of research examining the effect of punishment on conformity indicates that punishment can backfire and lead to suboptimal social outcomes. We examine whether this effect originates from a lack of perceived legitimacy of rule enforcement, enabling agents to justify selfish behavior to themselves. We address the question of punishment legitimacy by shedding light upon the importance of social norms and their interplay with punishment. Often people are presented with incomplete norm information: either about what most others do (empirical) or what most others deem appropriate (normative). We show that neither punishment nor empirical/normative information in isolation result in prosocial behavior. In turn, we find that prosociality is significantly increased when normative information and punishment are combined, but only when compliance is relatively cheap. When compliance is more expensive, we find that the combination of punishment and empirical information about others’ conformity can have detrimental effects on prosocial behavior. We attribute this outcome to the differential ability to distort one’s own beliefs about applicable norms. Our results have important implications for researchers and practitioners alike.
Keywords: Conformity; Experiments; Punishment; Social Norms; Trust Game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D73 H26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 43 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-hpe, nep-law and nep-soc
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe-repec/ppc/wpaper/0016.pdf First version, 2018 (application/pdf)
Journal Article: Deviant or wrong? The effects of norm information on the efficacy of punishment (2021)
Working Paper: Deviant or Wrong? The Effects of Norm Information on the Efficacy of Punishment (2021)
Working Paper: Deviant or Wrong? The Effects of Norm Information on the Efficacy of Punishment (2020)
Working Paper: Deviant or Wrong? The Effects of Norm Information on the Efficacy of Punishment (2019)
Working Paper: Deviant or Wrong? The Effects of Norm Information on the Efficacy of Punishment (2017)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ppc:wpaper:0016
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in PPE Working Papers from Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Alessandro Sontuoso ().