Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/33963
Authors: 
Masclet, David
Villeval, Marie-Claire
Year of Publication: 
2006
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers 2119
Abstract: 
Cooperation among people who are not related to each other is sustained by the availability of punishment devices which help enforce social norms (Fehr and G~chter, 2002). However, the rationale for costly punishment remains unclear. This paper reports the results of an experiment investigating inequality aversion and negative emotions as possible determinants of punishment. We compare two treatments of a public good game, one in which costly punishment reduces the immediate payoff inequality between the punisher and the target, and one in which it does not affect inequality. We show that while inequality-aversion prevents some subjects from punishing in the equal cost treatment, negative emotions are the primary motive for punishment. Results also indicate that the intensity of punishment increases with the level of inequality, and reduces earnings inequality over time.
Subjects: 
inequality aversion
negative emotions
free-riding
cooperation
experiment
JEL: 
A13
C92
D63
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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