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When do Formal Rules and Informal Norms Converge?

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  • Desiree A. Desierto
  • John V. C. Nye

Abstract

We propose evolutionary dynamics to show how rules converge into norms. Individuals play a game of upholding or rejecting a rule, and the more they uphold the rule, the more it becomes established as a norm. We find that when individuals are rational, the initial state determines whether the rule converges into a norm; when individuals are boundedly rational, convergence occurs only if upholding rules is a risk-dominant strategy. This suggests why big-bang reforms that affect only the initial state can fail, while gradualist approaches that can sustain the risk dominance of upholding rules may be more effective.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 167 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 613-629

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(201112)167:4_613:wdfrai_2.0.tx_2-i

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