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Games 2018, 9(4), 102;

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

Department of Economics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
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)
PDF [737 KB, uploaded 18 December 2018]


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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