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Fairness enforcement across societies

Event details of ACLE Seminar: Benedikt Hermann (University of Nottingham)
Date 2 February 2009
Time 11:45 -13:15

Fairness enforcement across societies


The provision and enforcement of just and fair legislation is not only a major function of a state but also an ingredient for the functioning of an economy. For an efficient functioning or markets the rule of law is essential. Obviously, societies differ with regard to the efficiency of their rule enforcing institutions. It is therefore of importance to understand why certain societies perform better than others in establishing the rule of law.
In our research we focus on norms of cooperation and enforcement of fair behavior across societies. We conducted public goods experiments 16 comparable participant pools around the world. Without the possibility to punish each other, the resulting payoffs are quite similar. However, there is a huge cross-societal variation when punishment is added. Some participant pools punished the high contributors as much as they punished the low contributors, whereas in others people only punished low contributors.
In some participant pools, punishment of cooperators was strong enough to remove the cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment.
We can also show that weak norms of civic cooperation and the weakness of the rule of law in a country are significant predictors of antisocial punishment of cooperators.


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