|Published in||Journal of Applied Social Psychology|
Department of Psychology
|Keywords||social dilemmas, sanctioning systems, monetary costs|
Previous social dilemma research has shown that imposing sanctions on defection may increase cooperation, a principle often behind many attempts to solve real-world social dilemmas. Yet such sanctioning systems are often difficult to implement because they are unpopular and because there are often large costs associated with surveillance and enforcement of defection. A new sanctioning system, which intentionally punishes defection intermittently for some but not all group members in a social dilemma, is shown to increase cooperation among those not punished. This finding is referred to as the spill-over effect. The present study suggests that the spill-over effect cannot simply be attributed to cooperative tendencies as factors affecting cooperation are shown to not affect the size of the spill-over effect. The benefits of such a sanctioning system, which preserves the characteristics of a social dilemma, could include minimization of surveillance and enforcement costs as well as greater public acceptability.