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A laboratory experiment designed to investigate the role of relative performance-based payoffs on cooperation in the context of punishment. Subjects play a repeated public goods game with high-powered punishment (50:1) and additional payoffs based on relative performance. Contributions to the public good are nearly maximal. Punishment levels are substantial, higher than the same game without relative rank payoffs, and sufficiently high that total payoffs are negative. The group would make much more money in the same setting without punishment. This study contributes to investigation of the role of altruism in human cooperation.


Working Paper 15-30



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