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When to leave carrots for sticks: on the evolution of sanctioning institutions in open communities

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When asked, people dislike punishment institutions, although punishment is more effective than rewards to maintain cooperation in social dilemmas. Which institution do they choose in the long run? We study migration patterns in a laboratory experiment that allows participants to migrate continuously between punishment and reward communities. The majority of participants initially chooses the reward institution, but a substantial number of subjects joins the less profitable punishment community subsequently. In this case, the mere threat of punishment establishes high contributions. Income differences and missing compensations for cooperators in the reward community are the key factors for the decision to migrate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109155
Number of pages4
JournalEconomics Letters
Early online date18 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • LUHAN_2020_cright_When to Leave Carrots for Sticks

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 1.18 MB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 18/10/21

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

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ID: 20642333