Social Status and Peer-Punishment: Findings from Two Road Traffic Field Experiments

Jann, Ben; Coutts, Elisabeth (27 March 2017). Social Status and Peer-Punishment: Findings from Two Road Traffic Field Experiments (University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 27). Bern: University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences

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In a seminal experiment, Doob and Gross (1968) examined the influence of social status on peer-punishment of norm violations in traffic. They observed an inverse relationship between the economic status indicated by a car that was blocking an intersection and the punishment meted out to the driver of that car, with “punishment” taking the form of a honk of the car horn. In a more recent experiment, Diekmann et al. (1996) noted the status and reactions of the cars blocked by a single mid-status car. Blocked drivers at the wheel of a higher-status car were found to punish more aggressively than drivers of a lower-status car. Our study employs a combined design to separate the effects of driver and blocker status. In two field experiments, we varied the status of the norm-violating car and recorded the status of the blocked driver’s (i.e. the experimental subject’s) car. Our results provide evidence that social distance facilitates peer-punishment. Punishment was expressed less readily when the blocked and blocking cars indicated a similar social status.

Item Type:

Working Paper

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Jann, Ben

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

Series:

University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers

Publisher:

University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ben Jann

Date Deposited:

15 May 2018 11:15

Last Modified:

25 Oct 2019 18:37

JEL Classification:

C93

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.113480

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/113480

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