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Learning to Be Thoughtless: Social Norms and Individual Computation

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  • Epstein, Joshua M
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    Abstract

    This paper extends the literature on the evolution of norms with an agent-based model capturing a phenomenon that has been essentially ignored, namely that individual thought--or computing--is often inversely related to the strength of a social norm. Once a norm is entrenched, we conform thoughtlessly. In this model, agents learn how to behave (what norm to adopt), but--under a strategy I term Best Reply to Adaptive Sample Evidence--they also learn how much to think about how to behave. How much they are thinking affects how they behave, which--given how others behave--affects how much they think. In short, there is feedback between the social (inter-agent) and internal (intra-agent) dynamics. In addition, we generate the stylized facts regarding the spatio-temporal evolution of norms: local conformity, global diversity, and punctuated equilibria. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Computational Economics in its journal Computational Economics.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 1 (August)
    Pages: 9-24

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:18:y:2001:i:1:p:9-24

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    Cited by:
    1. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0203001, EconWPA, revised 15 Aug 2002.
    2. Mary A. Burke & Gary M. Fournier & Kislaya Prasad, 2006. "The Emergence of Local Norms in Networks," Working Papers wp2006_02_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    3. Yves Saillard, 2004. "L'analyse économique des normes : représentation et traitement des interactions dans les modèles de simulation," Post-Print halshs-00104866, HAL.
    4. Amy Peng & Francis McKenna, 2009. "Evolution of the Week," Working Papers 012, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
    5. Francesco C. Billari & Alexia Prskawetz & Johannes Fürnkranz, 2002. "The cultural evolution of age-at-marriage norms," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-018, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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