Compliance by Believing: An Experimental Exploration on Social Norms and Impartial Agreements
AbstractThe main contribution of this paper is twofold. First of all, it focuses on the decisional process that leads to the creation of a social norm. Secondly, it analyses the mechanisms through which subjects conform their behaviour to the norm. In particular, our aim is to study the role and the nature of Normative and Empirical Expectations and their influence on people's decisions. The tool is the Exclusion Game, a sort of 'triple mini-dictator game'. It represents a situation where 3 subjects - players A - have to decide how to allocate a sum S among themselves and a fourth subject - player B - who has no decisional power. The experiment consists of three treatments. In the Baseline Treatment participants are randomly distributed in groups of four players and play the Exclusion Game. In the Agreement Treatment in each group participants are invited to vote for a specific non-binding allocation rule before playing the Exclusion Game. In the Outsider Treatment, after the voting procedure and before playing the Exclusion Game, a player A for each group (the outsider) is reassigned to a different group and instructed about the rule chosen by the new group. In all the treatments, at the end of the game and before players are informed about the decisions taken during the Exclusion Game by the other co-players, first order and second order expectations (both normative and empirical) are elicited through a brief questionnaire. The first result we obtained is that subjects' choices are in line with their empirical (not normative) expectations. The second result is that even a non-binding agreement induces convergence of empirical expectations - and, consequently, of choices. The third results is that expectation of conformity is higher in the partner protocol. This implies that a single outsider breaks the 'trust and cooperation' equilibrium.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Econometica in its series Econometica Working Papers with number wp02.
Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
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fairness; social norms; beliefs; psychological games; experimental games;
Other versions of this item:
- Marco Faillo & Stefania Ottone & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2008. "Compliance by believing: an experimental exploration on social norms and impartial agreements," Department of Economics Working Papers 0810, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-10-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2008-10-21 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2008-10-21 (Game Theory)
- NEP-SOC-2008-10-21 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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