Fairness and compliance in the extortion game
Title: Fairness and compliance in the extortion game
Series/Number: EUI SPS; 2015/01
In this paper we introduce the “extortion game” and propose a set of experiments aimed at studying both the extorter’s and the victim’s behavior. The primary focus of our experiments is understanding what determines both the extent of the extortive request and the victim’s reaction in terms of compliance. Our results show that the extorter’s requests are proportional to the victim’s earnings, similar across victims and positively correlated with the level of request the extorter perceives as “fair”. Punishment is rare and the extorted sums are rather small. Results also shed light on the motivations that make a victim compliant with extortive requests, confirming that punishment plays a role in promoting compliance, but also showing the importance of other concurrent factors like information about peers’ behavior and the perceived fairness of the request. Overall, our results indicate that fairness concerns matter even in an context of extra-legal taxation, shaping both extorters’ requests and victims’ compliance.
Subject: Extortion; Social norms; Fairness; Compliance; Inequity aversion; Laboratory experiments
Type of Access: openAccess