Intentions Matter: Avenging Second and Third-Party Punishment | Marek Mihok

A number of previous experimental studies have shown that punished individuals are willing to counter-punish at a cost, even in one-shot interactions. Counter-punishers target both, second- party punishers (i.e. individuals directly affected by the violation of a social norm) as well as third- party punishers (i.e. individuals not directly affected by the violation of a social norm). Using a modified dictator game I show that the extent of counter-punishment on second parties is significantly greater than on third parties. I explore different possible explanations for the willingness to counter-punish. I find some evidence suggesting that counter-punishment is meted out by the most anti-social of individuals who are also willing to take the most from the second party participants.

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