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Compliance by Believing: An Experimental Exploration on Social Norms and Impartial Agreements

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  • Marco Faillo

    ()
    (University of Trento - Faculty of Economics)

  • Stefania Ottone

    ()
    (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)

  • Lorenzo Sacconi

    ()
    (University of Trento - Faculty of Economics)

Abstract

The 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 Info

Paper provided by Econometica in its series Econometica Working Papers with number wp02.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:ent:wpaper:wp02

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Web page: http://www.econometica.it
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Keywords: fairness; social norms; beliefs; psychological games; experimental games;

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References

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  1. Lorenzo Sacconi & Marco Faillo, 2005. "Conformity and reciprocity in the "exclusion game": an experimental investigation," Department of Economics Working Papers 0512, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Marco Faillo & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2007. "Norm compliance: the contribution of behavioral economics models," Department of Economics Working Papers 0704, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  4. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Krupka, Erin & Weber, Roberto A., 2009. "The focusing and informational effects of norms on pro-social behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 307-320, June.
  7. Gianluca Grimalda & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2004. "The Constitution of the Not-For-Profit Organisation: Reciprocal Conformity to Morality," Department of Economics Working Papers 0413, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Cinzia Di Novi, 2007. "An Economic Evaluation of Life-Style and Air-pollution-related Damages: Results from the BRFSS," JEPS Working Papers 07-001, JEPS.
  10. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  12. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Lorenzo Sacconi, 2010. "A Rawlsian View of CSR and the Game Theory of its Implementation (III): Conformism, Equilibrium Refinement and Selection," Econometica Working Papers wp24, Econometica.
  2. Pedro FrancŽs-G—mez & Lorenzo Sacconi & Marco Faillo, 2012. "Behavioral Business Ethics as a Method for Normative Business Ethics," Econometica Working Papers wp42, Econometica.
  3. Annamaria Nese & Patrizia Sbriglia, 2009. "Individuals' Voting Choice and Cooperation in Repeated Social Dilemma Games," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 025, University of Siena.
  4. Nese, Annamaria & Sbriglia, Patrizia, 2009. "Social norms in repeated public good games," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 266-281, December.

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