Punishment and Counter-punishment in Public Goods Games: Can we still govern ourselves?


In the public goods literature, there have been recently a number of experiments which demonstrate how the problem of the under-provision of a public good can be solved through mutual monitoring and sanctioning between the members of a group when antisocial behavior is observed. In many circumstances, however, we can not allow for punishment and exclude the possibility of counter-punishment occurring. We design a public goods experiment based on Fehr and Gaechter (2000) where we allow for both punishment and counter-punishment. We find that in both Partner and Stranger treatments average contributions decline steadily over time, at a rate similar to the treatment were no punishment was allowed, and tend towards full free-riding. The reason for this change seems to be that under the threat of counter-punishment people are less willing to punish. An important result is that participants squander their endowment in punishment and counter-punishment actions leading to a relative payoff loss, in comparison to the treatment without punishments.punishment, counter-punishment, public goods games, free- riding,

Similar works

Full text


Research Papers in Economics

Provided a free PDF
Last time updated on 8/31/2012View original full text link

This paper was published in Research Papers in Economics.

Having an issue?

Is data on this page outdated, violates copyrights or anything else? Report the problem now and we will take corresponding actions after reviewing your request.