Justification and legitimate punishment

Erte Xiao, Fangfang Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Punishment can lose its legitimacy if the enforcer can profit from delivering punishment. We examine how justification can promote the legitimacy of punishment in a one-shot sender-receiver game where an independent third party can punish the sender upon seeing whether the sender lied. Most third parties who can profit from punishment punish the senders regardless of how the senders behave. However, when they have to provide explanations for their punishment decisions, significantly more third parties punish senders if and only if senders lie, and senders are also more likely to perceive punishment as legitimate and behave honestly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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