MAGKS Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics No. 39-2020
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.
Displaced Aggression Punishment Soldiers Dictator Game Experiment