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Traxler, Christian and Winter, Joachim (2009): Survey Evidence on Conditional Norm Enforcement. Discussion Papers in Economics 2009-1




We discuss survey evidence on individuals' willingness to sanction norm violations - such as evading taxes, drunk driving, fare dodging, or skiving o work - by expressing disapproval or social exclusion. Our data suggest that people condition their sanctioning behavior on their belief about the frequency of norm violations. The more commonly a norm violation is believed to occur, the lower the individuals' inclination to punish it. Based on an instrumental variable approach, we demonstrate that this pattern reflects a causal relationship.