An Evolutionary Perspective on the Long-Term Efficiency of Costly Punishment

Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):811-831 (2012)
Many studies show that punishment, although able to stabilize cooperation at high levels, destroys gains which makes it less efficient than alternatives with no punishment. Standard public goods games (PGGs) in fact show exactly these patterns. However, both evolutionary theory and real world institutions give reason to expect institutions with punishment to be more efficient, particularly in the long run. Long-term cooperative partnerships with punishment threats for non-cooperation should outperform defection prone non-punishing ones. This article demonstrates that fieldwork data from hunter-gatherers, common pool resource management cases and even PGGs support this hypothesis. Although earnings in PGGs with a punishment option may be lower at the beginning, efficiency increases dramatically over time. Most ten-period PGGs cannot capture this change because their time horizon is too short.
Keywords punishment  cooperation  evolution
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9327-1
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
David Wood (2010). Punishment: Consequentialism. Philosophy Compass 5 (6):455-469.
David Wood (2010). Punishment: The Future. Philosophy Compass 5 (6):483-491.
Nathan Hanna (2009). The Passions of Punishment. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):232-250.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

19 ( #147,771 of 1,726,991 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,991 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.