Balafoutas, Loukas ORCID: 0000-0002-3477-5096, Nikiforakis, Nikos and Rockenbach, Bettina ORCID: 0000-0003-2624-1964 (2016). Altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of norm violations in the field. Nat. Commun., 7. LONDON: NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP. ISSN 2041-1723

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Abstract

The degree of human cooperation among strangers is a major evolutionary puzzle. A prominent explanation is that cooperation is maintained because many individuals have a predisposition to punish those violating group-beneficial norms. A critical condition for cooperation to evolve in evolutionary models is that punishment increases with the severity of the violation. Here we present evidence from a field experiment with real-life interactions that, unlike in lab experiments, altruistic punishment does not increase with the severity of the violation, regardless of whether it is direct (confronting a violator) or indirect (withholding help). We also document growing concerns for counter-punishment as the severity of the violation increases, indicating that the marginal cost of direct punishment increases with the severity of violations. The evidence suggests that altruistic punishment may not provide appropriate incentives to deter large violations. Our findings thus offer a rationale for the emergence of formal institutions for promoting large-scale cooperation among strangers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Balafoutas, LoukasUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0002-3477-5096UNSPECIFIED
Nikiforakis, NikosUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rockenbach, BettinaUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0003-2624-1964UNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-257307
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13327
Journal or Publication Title: Nat. Commun.
Volume: 7
Date: 2016
Publisher: NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Place of Publication: LONDON
ISSN: 2041-1723
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
KeywordsLanguage
ANTISOCIAL PUNISHMENT; COOPERATION; EVOLUTION; ENFORCEMENT; INSTITUTIONS; RECIPROCITY; DEFECTORS; COMMONS; HUMANS; GAMESMultiple languages
Multidisciplinary SciencesMultiple languages
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/25730

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