Replication data: Individual heterogeneity and costly punishment: a volunteer’s dilemma

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

    Social control and the enforcement of social norms glue a society together. It has been shown theoretically and empirically that informal punishment of wrongdoers fosters cooperation in human groups. Most of this research has focused on voluntary and uncoordinated punishment carried out by individual group members. However, as punishment is costly, it is an open question as to why humans engage in the punishment of wrongdoers even in one-time-only encounters. While evolved punitive preferences have been advocated as proximate explanations for such behaviour, the strategic nature of the punishment situation has remained underexplored. It has been suggested to conceive of the punishment situation as a volunteer's dilemma (VOD), where only one individual's action is necessary and sufficient to punish the wrongdoer. Here, we show experimentally that implementing the punishment situation as a VOD sustains cooperation in an environment where punishers and non-punishers coexist. Moreover, we show that punishment-cost heterogeneity allows individuals to tacitly agree on only the strongest group member carrying out the punishment, thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of social norm enforcement. Our results corroborate that costly peer punishment can be explained without assuming punitive preferences and show that centralized sanctioning institutions can emerge from arbitrary individual differences.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2012-05-25 / 2012-06-01
Geographic Coverage
  • Switzerland / CH
Sampled Universe
In total, 120 subjects participated in our computerized laboratory experiment. Subjects were students from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, 52.5% were female and they were 23.1 years old on average (sd = 3.13).
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: przepiorka_diekmann_2013_prsb_data.csv
      File Format: application/octet-stream
      File Size: 263634
      Data Fingerprint: 2d2b9b4ebac924ac0722ed69feced83f
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name: przepiorka_diekmann_2013_prsb_variable_labels.txt
      File Format: text/plain
      File Size: 1558
      Data Fingerprint: 2abf51aad30b3c95e53abd561e61cda3
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: text/x-stata-syntax
      File Size: 13658
      Data Fingerprint: b1d3f34d23d90bf9a1fcb5fa934bebc8
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
Source: z-Tree, version 3.3.12
Free Access (without Registration)
  • Przepiorka, Wojtek and Andreas Diekmann. 2013. "Individual Heterogeneity and Costly Punishment: A Volunteer’s Dilemma." Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280(1759):20130247.;10.1098/rspb.2013.0247

Update Metadata: 2019-09-30 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2019-08-15