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Turning the Lab into Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon. A Lab Experiment on the Transparency of Punishment

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Engel,  Christoph
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Engel, C. (2010). Turning the Lab into Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon. A Lab Experiment on the Transparency of Punishment.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-6DC4-C
Abstract
The most famous element in Bentham’s theory of punishment, the Panopticon Prison, expresses his view of the two purposes of punishment, deterrence and special prevention. This paper investigates Bentham’s intuition in a public goods lab experiment, by manipulating how much information on punishment experienced by others is available to would-be offenders. Compared with the tone that Jeremy Bentham set, the result is non-expected: If would-be offenders learn about contributions and punishment of others at the individual level, they contribute much less to the public project.