Replication data: Punitive preferences, monetary incentives and tacit coordination in the punishment of defectors promote cooperation in humans

Resource Type
  • Przepiorka, Wojtek (Utrecht University)
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Political Institutions
    • Group
    • Person, Personality, Role
  • Abstract

    Peer-punishment is effective in promoting cooperation, but the costs associated with punishing defectors often exceed the benefits for the group. It has been argued that centralized punishment institutions can overcome the detrimental effects of peer-punishment. However, this argument presupposes the existence of a legitimate authority and leaves an unresolved gap in the transition from peer-punishment to centralized punishment. Here we show that the origins of centralized punishment could lie in individuals’ distinct ability to punish defectors. In our laboratory experiment, we vary the structure of the punishment situation to disentangle the effects of punitive preferences, monetary incentives, and individual punishment costs on the punishment of defectors. We find that actors tacitly coordinate on the strongest group member to punish defectors, even if the strongest individual incurs a net loss from punishment. Such coordination leads to a more effective and more efficient provision of a cooperative environment than we observe in groups of all equals. Our results show that even an arbitrary assignment of an individual to a focal position in the social hierarchy can trigger the endogenous emergence of more centralized forms of punishment.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2014-03-13 / 2014-03-20
Geographic Coverage
  • Switzerland / CH
Sampled Universe
In total, 216 subjects participated in our computerized laboratory experiment. Subjects were students from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, 57.9% were female and they were 23.1 years old on average (sd = 5.57).
All participants in our experiment were recruited from the subject pool maintained by the University Registration Center for Study Participants (UAST) of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. A random sample of participants was drawn from this subject pool and people included in this sample were invited via e-mail to participate in the experiment.
Collection Mode
    • Laboratory experiment
Data and File Information
    • File Name: diekmann_przepiorka_2015_sr_data.csv
      File Format: application/octet-stream
      File Size: 475225
      Data Fingerprint: cd4aeebdf554513a28ca73ff11e0f11a
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name: przepiorka_diekmann_2015_sr_variable_labels.txt
      File Format: text/plain
      File Size: 1666
      Data Fingerprint: fdb791bf132fd8659b067090c246b980
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: text/x-stata-syntax
      File Size: 26295
      Data Fingerprint: c27fe1b369a8c2c83d0508ffc4178b6e
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
Source: z-Tree, version 3.3.12
Free Access (without Registration)
  • Diekmann, Andreas and Wojtek Przepiorka. 2015. "Punitive Preferences, Monetary Incentives and Tacit Coordination in the Punishment of Defectors Promote Cooperation in Humans." Scientific Reports 5:10321.;10.1038/srep10321

Update Metadata: 2019-09-30 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2019-07-02