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Home | Events Archive | Rights, Duties, and Taboos: The social Codex of Peer Punishment

Rights, Duties, and Taboos: The social Codex of Peer Punishment

  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Urs Fischbacher (University of Konstanz, Germany)
  • Field
    Behavioral Economics
  • Location
    University of Amsterdam, E0.03
  • Date and time

    March 02, 2023
    16:00 - 17:15

Cooperation is a central part of human life but is difficult to establish and uphold by itself. Peer-punishment can boost cooperation when defectors are punished and cooperators are spared. However, peer punishment can also harm cooperation when punishment is used in a dysfunctional way. In an experiment, we investigate how people assess the appropriateness of different forms of punishment, including second order punishment or revenge. By assessing the appropriateness of punishment as well as of non-punishment, we can distinguish between rights, duties and taboos. We find that the most important determinants of the appropriateness of punishment can be described by three “commandments”: 1. It is a taboo to punish cooperators. 2. It is a taboo for defectors to punish. 3. It is a duty to punish people who violate commandments 1 or 2.

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