Antisocial punishment in two social dilemmas

Enrique Fatas, Guillermo Mateu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


The effect of sanctions on cooperation depends on social and cultural norms. While free riding is kept at bay by altruistic punishment in certain cultures, antisocial punishment carried out by free riders pushes back cooperation in others. In this paper we analyze sanctions in both a standard public goods game with a linear production function and an otherwise identical social dilemma in which the minimum contribution determines the group outcome. Experiments were run in a culture with traditionally high antisocial punishment (Southern Europe). We replicate the detrimental effect of antisocial sanctions on cooperation in the linear case. However, we find that punishment is still widely effective when actions are complementary: the provision of the public good significantly and substantially increases with sanctions, participants punish significantly less and sanctions radically transform conditional cooperation patterns to generate significant welfare gains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2015


  • Anti social behavior
  • Coordination
  • Experiments JEL classification numbers: C92
  • Public goods
  • Punishment

Cite this