Psykologisk Institut

Laila Elina Nockur

Different punishment systems in a public goods game with asymmetric endowments

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Punishment has been shown to increase cooperation in public goods dilemmas when resources to contribute are distributed symmetrically. The present investigation examines which punishment system (peer punishment, democratic punishment, and central punishment) in comparison to a system without punishment fosters cooperation in a social dilemma when resources to contribute are distributed asymmetrically among the actors involved. Participants (N = 212) took part in a public goods game under each of four punishment conditions: peer punishment, democratic punishment, central punishment, and no punishment. Whereas in symmetric groups all group members received the same endowment that they could contribute to the public good, in asymmetric groups two advantaged group members received larger endowments compared to two disadvantaged group members. The availability of punishment increased substantially the average relative contribution, as well as satisfaction and fairness ratings across punishment systems, in both asymmetric and symmetric groups. There was only limited evidence that the punishment systems had differential effects in asymmetric versus symmetric groups or depending on the status of advantaged versus disadvantaged. Implications for the use of punishment to foster cooperation in social dilemmas when resources to contribute are distributed asymmetrically are discussed.
TidsskriftJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2021

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