About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Mere Threat of Punishment Can Banish Freeloaders

by Hannah Punitha on December 7, 2008 at 3:40 PM
Font : A-A+

 Mere Threat of Punishment Can Banish Freeloaders

A new study has found that a mere threat of punishment can banish freeloaders and encourage them to cooperate with others, thus transforming them into responsible members of society.

Freeloader is a person who refuses to do work without valid excuses/reasons for being non-contributing to the work being done.

Advertisement

Previous studies have claimed that while punishing freeloaders can increase their cooperation with others, the punishment itself was too costly and in the end, punishment wouldn't be worth it.

However, the new research has shown that the fear of punishment can keep freeloaders in check and increase pro-social behaviour, such as helping others or sharing with them.
Advertisement

Over the long term, punishment gets ingrained in people's psyches in a way that causes them to fear getting into trouble.

"I believe the experimental work is extremely important and timely, as many researchers had voiced concern whether punishment is not too costly a tool to promote cooperation," Live Science quoted said Karl Sigmund of the University of Vienna, who was not involved in the current study.

During the study, lead researcher Simon Gachter, a professor of the psychology of economic decision making at the University of Nottingham in England had 69 groups of three individuals playing money games.

Each participant received 20 tokens and had to decide how many tokens to keep and how many to contribute to a group project. Keeping a token meant a person gained the token's total worth. For each token contributed, every participant would earn 0.5 money units, regardless of his or her own contribution.

If all tokens are kept by members, each group member will earn 20 money units; if all tokens are put into the community pot, each member will earn 30 money units.

The participants were further split into groups, with each group playing either 10 or 50 rounds of the game and either having the ability to punish other group members or having no punishment abilities.

As for the punishment, a player could deduct tokens from others after finding out the players' contributions.

The study showed that the threat of punishment actually works.

There were far fewer freeloaders, or players who kept all the tokens for themselves, in the games that allowed punishment compared with the no-punishment games.

"The reason why this works is that there are actually people out there who are willing to sacrifice to punish the freeloaders," Gachter said.

"The freeloaders now stop freeloading, they start cooperating more, but it also takes a lot of punishment to get them there," he added.

The earnings were high in the long-term punishment game because people not only cooperated more, contributing more tokens to the shared pot, there was also less punishment needed, so fewer tokens got deducted from players.

"In the long run, [punishment] is not detrimental, because the freeloaders now know there are punishers out there," Gachter said.

"So punishment just works as a threat. Everybody behaves nicely because they fear punishment. Therefore, punishment is very rarely needed," he added.

Source: ANI
SPH
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Doctors Face Punishment for Inability to Tackle Deadly Virus in China
Ten doctors and officials in China have been punished for mishandling a virus that has killed 26 ......
Sure-fire Way to Discipline a Naughty Child is to Ignore the Little Prankster
Eight out of ten parents think that the best disciplinary technique for badly behaved toddlers is .....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use