Following Fehr and Gäechter (Am Econ Rev 90(4):980-994, 2000), a large and growing number of experiments show that public goods can be provided at high levels when mutual monitoring and costly punishment are allowed. Nearly all experiments, however, study monitoring and punishment in a complete network where all subjects can monitor and punish each other. The architecture of social networks becomes important when subjects can only monitor and punish the other subjects to whom they are connected by the network. We study several incomplete networks and find that they give rise to their own distinctive patterns of behavior. Nevertheless, a number of simple, yet fundamental, properties in graph theory allow us to interpret the variation in the patterns of behavior that arise in the laboratory and to explain the impact of network architecture on the efficiency and dynamics of the experimental outcomes.
- Costly punishment
- Public goods
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)