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Social hierarchies: a laboratory study on punishment patterns across networks

journal contribution
posted on 22.03.2019 by Enrique Fatas, Miguel A. Melendez-Jimenez, Hector Solaz
We experimentally study punishment patterns across network structures, and their effect on cooperation. In a repeated public goods setting, subjects can only observe and punish their neighbors. Centralized structures (like the star network) outperform other incomplete networks and reach contribution levels like the ones observed in a complete network. Our results suggest that hierarchical network structures with a commonly observed player benefit more from sanctions not because central players punish more, but because they follow, and promote, different punishment patterns. While quasi-central players in other incomplete architectures (like the line network) retaliate, and get trapped in the vicious circle of antisocial punishment, central players in the star network do not punish back, increase their contributions when sanctioned by peripheral players, and sanction other participants in a prosocial manner. Our results illustrate recent field studies on the evolutionary prevalence of hierarchical networks. We document a network-based rationale for this positive effect in an identity-free, fully anonymous environment.

Funding

Enrique Fatas acknowledges support from the ESRC Network for an Integrated Behavioral Science (NIBS). Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through Project ECO2014-52345-P and from the Regional Government of Andalusia through Project SEJ2011-8065.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Economics

Published in

Economic Inquiry

Volume

58

Issue

1

Pages

104-119

Citation

FATAS, E., MELENDEZ-JIMENEZ, M.A. and SOLAZ, H., 2019. Social hierarchies: a laboratory study on punishment patterns across networks. Economic Inquiry, 58(1), pp. 104-119.

Publisher

Wiley © Western Economic Association International

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: FATAS, E., MELENDEZ-JIMENEZ, M.A. and SOLAZ, H., 2019. Social hierarchies: a laboratory study on punishment patterns across networks. Economic Inquiry, 58(1), pp. 104-119, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12766. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions

Acceptance date

18/12/2018

Publication date

2019-02-28

ISSN

0095-2583

eISSN

1465-7295

Language

en

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