The Long-Run Benefits of Punishment

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Science  05 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5907, pp. 1510
DOI: 10.1126/science.1164744

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Experiments have shown that punishment enhances socially beneficial cooperation but that the costs of punishment outweigh the gains from cooperation. This challenges evolutionary models of altruistic cooperation and punishment, which predict that punishment will be beneficial. We compared 10- and 50-period cooperation experiments. With the longer time horizon, punishment is unambiguously beneficial.

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