Punishment as a mechanism to maintain bilateral cooperation: A social behavior experiment

Yuling Liao1, Kairong Hong2, Liang Zhang2
1School of Business, and Department of Legal and Public Administration, Central South University and Hunan University of Finance and Economics, People’s Republic of China
2School of Business, Central South University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Liao, Y., Hong, K., & Zhang, L. (2014). Punishment as a mechanism to maintain bilateral cooperation: A social behavior experiment. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 42(9), 1445-1456.

Volume 42 Issue 9 | e4147 | Published: October 2014 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2014.42.9.1445

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We designed 3 social behavior experiments involving compensation for real estate expropriation. We recruited 88 students at a university in China as our participants, and investigated the impact of third-party punishment on bilateral cooperation in a laboratory setting. The results showed the heterogeneity of human behavior in the different experiment types. In addition, results showed that the potential impact of punishment became more powerful by adding a third party. Finally, a third party had low punishment costs and a significantly higher probability of actually imposing punishment than did a second party. Results showed that, compared with second-party punishment, third-party punishment is more conducive to the maintenance of bilateral cooperation.

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