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Thanks for these comments. In fact we did collect data on country of origin, as well as a suite of other variables (age, gender, income etc). None of these terms significantly affected the results. This info is available in the supplementary online info.
The p value was obtained by performing a chi- squared test which compares observed with expected values across all treatments.
In respect of the last sentence:
"as it should be".
Does that make me a Turker, for wanting to see banksters in court, preferably handcuffed, ordered to spent some time in jail and pay back the trillions of dollars/euros they took from all of us?
"In light of this, the fate awaiting those astronomically paid bankers could be a particularly nasty one."
We can only hope so. Unfortunately those parasites are likely to get away with it while the rest of us are left paying for their greed and lack of ethics.
Interesting study, and the authors deserve substantial credit for going to MT instead of undergraduates, and for making the results freely available under a creative commons license. Unfortunately, the methodology remains sadly flawed, which makes it difficult to trust the results, and impossible to generalize them in the way the authors claim.
The main problems are these:
1. It seems the researchers did not collect information on the physical location and cultural background of particpants (if they did, they did not reveal this in the publication). Culture can make a huge difference in psychology studies. The time of day and language in which the study was conducted could have a dramatic impact on the location of participants. Mechanical Turk workers are mostly located in the US: http://techlist.com/mturk/global-mturk-worker-map.php
2. The study was not preregistered, making publication bias a problem and introducing troublesome post-study design flexibilty.
3. I am not a statistician, but the p value (0.007) used in the study does not seem right; it seems to be saying that the punishment in the third case by itself is not up to chance, but what is actually required is to compare the third case to the other two cases.
Those who want to read the paper itself can look here: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/07/06/rsbl.201...
Didn't they already get away with it? The financial crisis hit four years ago - I haven't heard of too many banking CEO's who have lost out in any way....if someone is planning on taking revenge, what are they waiting for?!
Interesting study, but I always wonder about these approaches. The amount of money exchanged is trivial, so it's more like a token. Do the players really feel they are taking/losing money, or do they think they are playing a game where they have to beat their opponent.
Maybe they should ask for more funding then do the same experiment at the $100 scale.
Yeah, let a particularly nasty fate befall upon the bankers.
Don't believe that it will happen, though :(
'...In light of this, the fate awaiting those astronomically paid bankers could be a particularly nasty one.'
...and pigs might fly.
It seems a bit of a stretch to say that since the test subjects were willing to punish because of the small sum of money involved, the "astronomically paid bankers" would face a particularly nasty fate. Perhaps because the sum of money involved is small, the subjects did not mind losing a little to exercise the right to punish. However, when the sum of money is bigger, their personal loss would be bigger and outweigh the utility of exacting punishment.
Exactly when is something perceived as “not fair”? “Each man, in giving himself to all, gives himself to nobody”. That having it taken in a way that makes the taker better off than the victim “gets people’s goat” is a parable of the bank robber and the tax man. The inclination on this occasion to injustice may be subject to error. The frequency of punishments is always a sign of weakness or remissness on the part of a legislative. As at the fair “What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts”.
"...the fate awaiting those astronomically paid bankers could be a particularly nasty one.", and if we follow the conclusions of the study, blind revenge may also be at the cost of those exacting it: potentially stifling the economy further by over-restricting banks, displacing activity to less regulated countries, etc... Be careful what you wish for.
Slave used to what they get, that's why slavery, dynasty system can last more than five thousand years. People resist changes, few dares to try.
Interesting bit of behavioural economics-ish... though this is only presented from the standpoint of the "99%"; similarly it seems it should be indicative that the "1%-ers" should be ok with letting go some of their money - e.g. via progressive tax system - so long as they remain "ahead".... which.... is not really what we see... at least in the US.... so hmmmm... unless that is also related to habits with the current system at the fact that we are more loss-averse, i.e. we perceive a loss as greater than an un-earned reward of the same absolute value.
Nothing will happen to them ... Judge Roy bean has left the building
Well, I would hope that the current financial crisis in Europe will soon find the most agreeable solution. If not, reading your article, it could be thought that, given the huge amount of losses foreseen in the case of a Euro melt down, some actors of this crisis might come to feel like having reasons to retaliate. Maybe, right now, we should worry more about a Euro melt down than about the global warming.
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