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Bowles, S., Carpenter, J., Gintis, H., Ha-Hwang, S. (2009). Strong reciprocity and team production: Theory and evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 71 (2), 221-232

Punishment of shirkers is often an effective means of attenuating incentive problems and sustaining coordination in work teams. Explanations of the motivation to punish generally rely either on small group size or on a Folk theorem that requires coordinated punishment and, hence, highly accurate information concerning the behavior of each player. We provide a model of team production in which the punishment of shirkers depends on strong reciprocity: the willingness of some team members to contribute altruistically to a joint project and also to bear costs in order to discipline fellow members who do not contribute. This alternative does not require small group size, complex coordinated punishing activities, or implausible informational assumptions. An experimental public goods game provides evidence for the behavioral relevance of strong reciprocity and how it differs from unconditional altruism.


Bowles, Samuel

Note: all the information contained in this page is taken from Prof. Bowles' personal web site. Please check this link for updates and further details. My research focuses on two areas (much of it conducted jointly with Herbert Gintis and Collaborators). The first concerns the co-evolution...

Carpenter, Jeffrey

Jeffrey Carpenter is associate professor at the Department of Economics of the Middlebury College. Selected journal articles Dopamine Receptor Genes Predict Risk Preferences, Time Preferences, and Related Economic Outcomes, with Justin Garcia and J. Loji Lum, the Journal of Risk and...

Gintis, Herbert

Herbert Gintis (born 1940) is an American behavioral scientist, educator, and author. He is notable for his foundational views on Altruism, Cooperation, Epistemic Game Theory, Gene-culture Coevolution, Efficiency wages, Strong Reciprocity, and Human capital theory. Gintis has also written...

Hwang, Sung-Ha

I have been studying economics and mathematics. I finished a Ph. D in economics May 2009 (Dissertation Title: Three Essays on Conflict and Cooperation) under supervision of Samuel Bowles and Peter Skott and am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Mathematics and Statistics University...

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