Normative conflicts and feuds

The limits of self-enforcement

N. Nikiforakis, C.N. Noussair, T. Wilkening

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

A normative conflict arises when multiple plausible rules exist, specifying how one ought to behave in a given situation. In such cases, enforcing one normative rule can lead to a sequence of mutual retaliatory sanctions, which we refer to as a feud. We investigate the hypothesis that normative conflict enhances the likelihood of a feud in a public-good experiment. Normative conflict in our experiment arises from the fact that individuals derive different benefits from the public good. We find that punishment is much more likely to trigger counter-punishment and start a feud when there is a normative conflict, than it is in a setting in which all individuals derive the same benefit from the public good and no such conflict exists. While the possibility of a feud sustains cooperation, the cost of feuding fully offsets the efficiency gains from increased cooperation. Our results point to an important limitation of self-enforcement mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-807
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume96
Issue number9-10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Self-enforcement
Punishment
Experiment
Efficiency gains
Trigger
Sanctions
Costs

Cite this

Nikiforakis, N. ; Noussair, C.N. ; Wilkening, T. / Normative conflicts and feuds : The limits of self-enforcement. In: Journal of Public Economics. 2012 ; Vol. 96, No. 9-10. pp. 797-807.
@article{d3dae71dddf44f348cd8037fb0165ad6,
title = "Normative conflicts and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement",
abstract = "A normative conflict arises when multiple plausible rules exist, specifying how one ought to behave in a given situation. In such cases, enforcing one normative rule can lead to a sequence of mutual retaliatory sanctions, which we refer to as a feud. We investigate the hypothesis that normative conflict enhances the likelihood of a feud in a public-good experiment. Normative conflict in our experiment arises from the fact that individuals derive different benefits from the public good. We find that punishment is much more likely to trigger counter-punishment and start a feud when there is a normative conflict, than it is in a setting in which all individuals derive the same benefit from the public good and no such conflict exists. While the possibility of a feud sustains cooperation, the cost of feuding fully offsets the efficiency gains from increased cooperation. Our results point to an important limitation of self-enforcement mechanisms.",
author = "N. Nikiforakis and C.N. Noussair and T. Wilkening",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.05.014",
language = "English",
volume = "96",
pages = "797--807",
journal = "Journal of Public Economics",
issn = "0047-2727",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "9-10",

}

Normative conflicts and feuds : The limits of self-enforcement. / Nikiforakis, N.; Noussair, C.N.; Wilkening, T.

In: Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 96, No. 9-10, 2012, p. 797-807.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Normative conflicts and feuds

T2 - The limits of self-enforcement

AU - Nikiforakis, N.

AU - Noussair, C.N.

AU - Wilkening, T.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - A normative conflict arises when multiple plausible rules exist, specifying how one ought to behave in a given situation. In such cases, enforcing one normative rule can lead to a sequence of mutual retaliatory sanctions, which we refer to as a feud. We investigate the hypothesis that normative conflict enhances the likelihood of a feud in a public-good experiment. Normative conflict in our experiment arises from the fact that individuals derive different benefits from the public good. We find that punishment is much more likely to trigger counter-punishment and start a feud when there is a normative conflict, than it is in a setting in which all individuals derive the same benefit from the public good and no such conflict exists. While the possibility of a feud sustains cooperation, the cost of feuding fully offsets the efficiency gains from increased cooperation. Our results point to an important limitation of self-enforcement mechanisms.

AB - A normative conflict arises when multiple plausible rules exist, specifying how one ought to behave in a given situation. In such cases, enforcing one normative rule can lead to a sequence of mutual retaliatory sanctions, which we refer to as a feud. We investigate the hypothesis that normative conflict enhances the likelihood of a feud in a public-good experiment. Normative conflict in our experiment arises from the fact that individuals derive different benefits from the public good. We find that punishment is much more likely to trigger counter-punishment and start a feud when there is a normative conflict, than it is in a setting in which all individuals derive the same benefit from the public good and no such conflict exists. While the possibility of a feud sustains cooperation, the cost of feuding fully offsets the efficiency gains from increased cooperation. Our results point to an important limitation of self-enforcement mechanisms.

U2 - 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.05.014

DO - 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.05.014

M3 - Article

VL - 96

SP - 797

EP - 807

JO - Journal of Public Economics

JF - Journal of Public Economics

SN - 0047-2727

IS - 9-10

ER -