Incentives and Social Norms in Household Behavior
AbstractIn a broad psychological perspective, both economic incentives and social norms may be be regarded as giving rise to purposesful, or ârationalâ behavior. By this I simply mean that individuals act in accordance with expected reward or punishment, even though the form these take differs substantially in the two cases. Whereas economic incentives imply âmaterial rewardsâ, or favors that can be traded for such rewards including leisure, social norms imply âsocial rewardsâ. The latter basically take the form of approval or disapproval from others, and related feelings of pride or shame. Moreover, once a social norm has been internalized in an individualâs own value system, behavior in accordance with, or against, the norm will also result in feelings of self-respect or guilt. All this suggests that not only economic incentives but also social norms may be analyzed by means of utility theory, as will be illustrated below. Many social norms may not have much to do with economic incentives (Elster,1989). In some cases, it is, however, useful to study the interaction between them. Indeed, this is the basic message of the paper. My discussion will be limited to three norms of apparent importance for household behavior: (i) work norms; (ii) norms against wage underbidding; and (iii) saving and consumption norms. Thus, the paper deals with norms concerning willingness to work, ability to get a job and the use of income.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 87 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Other versions of this item:
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
- Pollak, Robert A, 1976. "Interdependent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 309-20, June.
- Lindbeck, Assar, 1995.
" Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms,"
Scandinavian Journal of Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 477-94, December.
- Lindbeck, A., 1994. "Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Papers 589, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- Kapteyn, Arie & Wansbeek, Tom, 1982.
"Empirical evidence on preference formation,"
Journal of Economic Psychology,
Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 137-154, June.
- Akerlof, George A, 1980.
"A Theory of Social Custom, of Which Unemployment May be One Consequence,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-75, June.
- George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Lindbeck, Assar, 1995. "Welfare State Disincentives with Endogenous Habits and Norms," Working Paper Series 441, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
- Alessie, Rob & Kapteyn, Arie, 1991. "Habit Formation, Interdependent References and Demographic Effects in the Almost Ideal Demand System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 404-19, May.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.