Joel van der Weele
Sanctions are a means to provide incentives towards more pro-social behavior. Yet their implementation can be a signal that past behavior was undesirable. We investigate experimentally the importance of the informational content of the choice to sanction. We place this in a context of a coordination game to focus attention on beliefs and information and less on intrinsic or pro-social motivations. We compare the eect of sanctions that are introduced exogenously by the experimenter to that of sanctions which have been actively chosen by a subject who takes the role of a fictitious policy maker with superior information about the previous eort of the other players. We nd that cooperative subjects perceive actively chosen sanctions as a negative signal which eliminates for them the incentive eect of sanctions.