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Expressive Law: Framing or Equilibrium Selection?

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  • Bohnet, Iris

    (Harvard U)

  • Cooter, Robert

    (U of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Besides deterring people, laws may affect behavior by changing preferences or beliefs. A law may elicit intrinsic motivation by framing an act as wrong. Alternatively, it may coordinate the behavior of different people by changing their beliefs about what others will do. We investigate framing and coordination effects experimentally in prisoner's dilemma, "crowding" and coordination games. We simulate a law by imposing a probabilistic penalty on one of the choices. In the prisoner's dilemma and the crowding game, announcing the penalty had no effect. In the coordination game, announcing the penalty caused behavior to jump to the Pareto-superior equilibrium. Keywords: Equilibrium selection, framing, expressive law, experiments, coordination, prisoner's dilemma

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp03-046.

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Date of creation: Nov 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp03-046

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Cited by:
  1. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Carbonara, Emanuela & Parisi, Francesco & von Wangenheim, Georg, 2012. "Unjust laws and illegal norms," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 285-299.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2005. "Auszeichnungen: ein vernachlässigter Anreiz," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-14, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  4. Christoph Engel & Michael Kurschilgen, 2011. "The Coevolution of Behavior and Normative Expectations. Customary Law in the Lab," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_32, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  5. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Mollerstrom, Johanna & Munkhammar, Sara, 2012. "Social framing effects: Preferences or beliefs?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 117-130.

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