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Games 2018, 9(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040102

The Signaling Value of Punishing Norm-Breakers and Rewarding Norm-Followers

1
Department of Economics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
2
School of Economics, University of Nottingham, CEDEX, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
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Abstract

We formally explore the idea that punishment of norm-breakers may be a vehicle for the older generation to teach youngsters about social norms. We show that this signaling role provides sufficient incentives to sustain costly punishing behavior. People punish norm-breakers to pass information about past history to the younger generation. This creates a link between past, present, and future punishment. Information about the past is important for youngsters, because the past shapes the future. Reward-based mechanisms may also work and are welfare superior to punishment-based ones. However, reward-based mechanisms are fragile, since punishment is a more compelling signaling device (in a sense that we make precise). View Full-Text
Keywords: norms; punishment; reaward; signaling norms; punishment; reaward; signaling
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Adriani, F.; Sonderegger, S. The Signaling Value of Punishing Norm-Breakers and Rewarding Norm-Followers. Games 2018, 9, 102.

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