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Democracy matters: a psychological perspective on the beneficial impact of democratic punishment systems in social dilemmas

Published on May 7, 2019in Palgrave Communications
· DOI :10.1057/s41599-019-0249-2
Rebekka Kesberg1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
Stefan Pfattheicher12
Estimated H-index: 12
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Abstract
The implementation of punishment has proven a prominent solution to prevent the breakdown of cooperation in social dilemma situations. In fact, numerous studies show that punishment possibilities are effective in maintaining cooperative behavior. However, punishment is often not efficient in terms (a) of monetary benefits and in light of the fact (b) that punishment of cooperators (i.e., antisocial punishment) can occur. Still, recent research revealed that individuals vote for the implementation of such punishment systems. We address this contradiction by proposing that the benefits of democratic punishment systems in particular cannot be solely captured by monetary outcomes. Instead, the implementation of democratic punishment systems may enhance the psychological benefits of justice perceptions, satisfaction, and trust. Using iterated public goods games, the findings of the present study reveal not only higher cooperation levels and total payoffs in two different democratic punishment systems compared to other systems, but also higher justice perception, satisfaction, and trust. Furthermore, participants indicated the highest willingness to continue interactions in democratic punishment systems. Moreover, satisfaction, not monetary outcomes, was the best predictor of participants’ willingness to stay in a system. Therefore, we argue that the efficiency of democratic punishment systems cannot be measured solely in monetary outcomes but that psychological benefits must be considered.
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References77
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Published on Oct 1, 2018in Journal of Behavioral Decision Making1.79
Stefan Pfattheicher12
Estimated H-index: 12
(University of Ulm),
Robert Böhm12
Estimated H-index: 12
(RWTH Aachen University),
Rebekka Kesberg1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Ulm)
Published on Jan 1, 2018in Judgment and Decision Making2.25
Valerio Capraro15
Estimated H-index: 15
,
David G. Rand43
Estimated H-index: 43
Decades of experimental research show that some people forgo personal gains to benefit others in unilateral anonymous interactions. To explain these results, behavioral economists typically assume that people have social preferences for minimizing inequality and/or maximizing efficiency (social welfare). Here we present data that cannot be explained by these standard social preference models. We use a “Trade-Off Game†(TOG), where players unilaterally choose between an equitable option and an...
Published on Oct 1, 2017in Journal of Public Economics1.77
Attila Ambrus15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Duke University),
Ben Greiner12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UNSW: University of New South Wales),
Anne Sastro1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UNSW: University of New South Wales)
In an informational voting environment, we study the impact of an explicit nil vote option on the ballot when some voters are uninformed and face the swing voters curse. We postulate a simple model of strategic voting in which voters entertain heterogeneous thresholds on legitimacy of different voting actions. We predict that introducing a nil vote option reduces the number of uninformed and invalid votes, increasing expected welfare in both voluntary and compulsory voting. We test our model in ...
Published on Mar 1, 2017in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology3.29
Kimmo Eriksson23
Estimated H-index: 23
(MDH: Mälardalen University College),
Pontus Strimling13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Linköping University)
+ 1 AuthorsTorun Lindholm3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Stockholm University)
The ultimatum game is a common economic experiment in which some participants reject another's unfair offer of how to split some money, even though it leaves them both worse off. This costly behavi ...
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Management Science4.22
Alexander Peysakhovich11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Yale University),
David G. Rand43
Estimated H-index: 43
(MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
What explains variability in norms of cooperation across organizations and cultures? One answer comes from the tendency of individuals to internalize typically successful behaviors as norms. Different institutional structures can cause different behavioral norms to be internalized. These norms are then carried over into atypical situations beyond the reach of the institution. Here, we experimentally demonstrate such spillovers. First, we immerse subjects in environments that do or do not support...
Published on Aug 1, 2015in The Journal of Law and Economics
Aurelie Ouss3
Estimated H-index: 3
(U of C: University of Chicago),
Alexander Peysakhovich11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Yale University)
Economic theories of punishment focus on determining the levels that provide maximal social material payoffs. In calculating these levels several parameters are key: total social costs, total social benefits and the probability that offenders are apprehended. However, levels of punishment often are determined by aggregates of individual decisions. Research in behavioral economics, psychology and neuroscience shows that individuals appear to treat punishment as a private good (“cold glow”). Thus ...
Published on Jul 1, 2015in Scientific Reports4.01
Hélène Barcelo4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Mathematical Sciences Research Institute),
Valerio Capraro15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Middlesex University)
Social dilemmas are central to human society. Depletion of natural resources, climate protection, security of energy supply, and workplace collaborations are all examples of social dilemmas. Since cooperative behaviour in a social dilemma is individually costly, Nash equilibrium predicts that humans should not cooperate. Yet experimental studies show that people do cooperate even in anonymous one-shot interactions. In spite of the large number of participants in many modern social dilemmas, litt...
Published on Aug 20, 2014in PLOS ONE2.78
Valerio Capraro15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Southampton),
Conor Smyth1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Southampton)
+ 1 AuthorsGraham A. Niblo15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Southampton)
Cooperation is fundamental to the evolution of human society. We regularly observe cooperative behaviour in everyday life and in controlled experiments with anonymous people, even though standard economic models predict that they should deviate from the collective interest and act so as to maximise their own individual payoff. However, there is typically heterogeneity across subjects: some may cooperate, while others may not. Since individual factors promoting cooperation could be used by instit...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Nature43.07
Oliver P. Hauser8
Estimated H-index: 8
,
David G. Rand43
Estimated H-index: 43
+ 1 AuthorsMichael A. Nowak127
Estimated H-index: 127
An intergenerational cooperation game has been developed to study decision-making regarding resource use: when decisions about resource extraction were made individually the resource was rapidly depleted by a minority of defectors; the resource was sustainably maintained across generations, however, when decisions were made democratically by voting.
Published on May 1, 2014in Nature Communications11.88
David G. Rand43
Estimated H-index: 43
(Yale University),
Alexander Peysakhovich11
Estimated H-index: 11
+ 4 AuthorsJoshua D. Greene30
Estimated H-index: 30
Cooperation is central to human societies. Yet relatively little is known about the cognitive underpinnings of cooperative decision making. Does cooperation require deliberate self-restraint? Or is spontaneous prosociality reined in by calculating self-interest? Here we present a theory of why (and for whom) intuition favors cooperation: cooperation is typically advantageous in everyday life, leading to the formation of generalized cooperative intuitions. Deliberation, by contrast, adjusts behav...
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