Compliant and Oppositional Control in Norm Enforcement Institutions

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:27
Location: Hörsaal 27 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Dieko BAKKER, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands
Jacob DIJKSTRA, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands
Andreas FLACHE, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands
Recent research on normative conflict in public good games shows that members of a group often disagree about appropriate levels of contributions and the appropriate methods of contribution enforcement. Not all group members consider maximal contributions to be normatively appropriate, and not all group members  support enforcement of such contribution norms. Other recent studies have observed that, given the opportunity, targets of peer punishment frequently counter-punish. These actions have been explained as emotional acts of revenge, or strategic deterrence of punishment. However, given the frequent disagreements on contribution norms and their enforcement, counter-punishing may also imply disagreement with the enforcement of contribution norms as a matter of principle. If so, a substantial subgroup of people will invest in non-enforcement of contribution norms. In an innovative experiment, we investigate whether these individuals invest to undermine contribution enforcement.  We employ three types of repeated public good games. In one, there is no punishment institution. In this case we expect declining contributions. In the second there is a punishment institution. The effectiveness of the punishment institution depends on the support it receives. Group members can improve the effectiveness of the punishment institution by investing in compliant control. Initially the punishment institution is ineffective, punishing 0% of all below-average contributors. Every point contributed in support raises the effectiveness of the punishment institution, punishing up to 100% of below-average contributors. In this treatment we expect significant investments in support of this institution, leading to increasing contributions. In the third treatment the same punishment institution exists. In this treatment the punishment institution can be undermined by investing in oppositional control. Every point contributed to oppositional control lowers the effectiveness of the punishment institution. In this treatment we expect less effective contribution norm enforcement and lower contributions. We will present the results from these experiments.