Antisocial Punishment Across Societies

Item Type Journal paper

We document the widespread existence of antisocial punishment, that is, the sanctioning of people who behave prosocially. Our evidence comes from public goods experiments that we conducted in 16 comparable participant pools around the world. However, there is a huge cross-societal variation. Some participant pools punished the high contributors as much as they punished the low contributors, whereas in others people only punished low contributors. In some participant pools, antisocial punishment was strong enough to remove the cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment. We also show that weak norms of civic cooperation and the weakness of the rule of law in a country are significant predictors of antisocial punishment. Our results show that punishment opportunities are socially beneficial only if complemented by strong social norms of cooperation

Authors Herrmann, Benedikt; Thoeni, Christian & Gächter, Simon
Journal or Publication Title Science
Language English
Keywords cooperation, experiments, fairness, punishment, sociology
Subjects economics
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date 7 March 2008
Publisher AAAS, American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science
Place of Publication Washington, DC
Volume 319
Number 5868
Page Range 1362-1367
Number of Pages 6
ISSN 0036-8075
ISSN-Digital 1095-9203
Publisher DOI 10.1126/science.1153808
Depositing User Christian Thoeni
Date Deposited 13 Mar 2008 16:17
Last Modified 27 Feb 2016 14:57


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Herrmann, Benedikt; Thoeni, Christian & Gächter, Simon (2008) Antisocial Punishment Across Societies. Science, 319 (5868). 1362-1367. ISSN 0036-8075

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