The punishment that sustains cooperation is often coordinated and costly

Samuel Bowles, Robert Boyd, Sarah Mathew, Peter J. Richerson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Experiments are not models of cooperation; instead, they demonstrate the presence of the ethical and other-regarding predispositions that often motivate cooperation and the punishment of free-riders. Experimental behavior predicts subjects' cooperation in the field. Ethnographic studies in small-scale societies without formal coercive institutions demonstrate that disciplining defectors is both essential to cooperation and often costly to the punisher.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-21
Number of pages2
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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