Cooperative Behavior in Multicultural Settings: The Contribution of Altruistic Punishment


In this study we want to explore the behavior of altruistic punishment, investigated through the Third Party Punishment game. This game shows the behavior of spending one’s own money, without any personal benefit, to punish unfair behavior of players who violate cooperation norms. This behavior may be differently displayed depending on the in-group versus out-group setting, and typically favors one’s own group (the so called parochial altruism). We compared two different cultural groups: Italian (N=26) versus Chinese people (N=26). In both groups, our results show the presence of altruistic punishment behavior, and this tendency emerges much prominent when facing another group’s player who behaves unfairly with one’s own group members. Furthermore the whole sample shows the propensity to spend little sums of money to punish also fair behaviors: this attitude is known as antisocial punishment. Our data also show that Italians spend significantly higher amounts than Chinese for antisocial punishment.

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