Common good is best achieved through rewards, not punishment

To promote the common good, should helpers be rewarded, or should free riders be punished? Although the bulk of previous research has fingered punishment as the best enforcer, a new study published online today in Science found that rewards are more effective. […]

He and his team used a classic public goods game to study how groups of volunteers encouraged the best outcome for the most people. In a series of monetary interactions, individuals decided how much money to contribute to a common pot, and they could then decide whether to reward good contributors or punish bad—both of which would entail spending money.

Previous public goods studies had focused on one-time interactions and found that people were more likely to swindle or punish others. But in situations where interactions were repeated, people found greater success in reward-based structures—in which those that contributed were rewarded and those who didn’t were ignored—than those in which costly punishment was doled out to those who didn’t contribute.

Scientific American: Common good is best achieved through rewards, not punishment

(via Relevant History)

1 Comment

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