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

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Yuling Liao
Kairong Hong
Liang Zhang
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.


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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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