The emergence of norms from conflicts over just distributions
AbstractWhy is it that well-intentioned actions can create persistent conflicts? While norms are widely regarded as a source for cooperation, this article proposes a novel theory in which the emergence of norms can be understood as a bargaining process in which normative conflicts explain the finally emerging norm. The theory is tested with a dynamical experiment on conflicts over the consideration of equality, effort or efficiency for the distribution of joint earnings. Normative conflict is measured by the number of rejected offers in a recursive bargaining game. The emerging normative system is analyzed by feedback cycles between micro- and macro-level. It is demonstrated that more normative cues cause more normative conflict. Further, under the structural conditions of either simple or complex situations, the convergence towards a simple and widely shared norm is likely. In contrast, in moderately complex situations, convergence is unlikely and several equally reasonable norms co-exist. The findings are discussed with respect to the integration of sociological conflict theory with the bargaining concept in economic theory.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2011-018.
Date of creation: 04 Apr 2011
Date of revision:
social norms; normative conflict; bargaining; cooperation; experiment;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-04-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2011-04-09 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2011-04-09 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2011-04-09 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2011-04-09 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-SOC-2011-04-09 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- The emergence of norms from conflicts over just distributions
by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-04-11 15:16:07
- Fabian Winter, 2013. "Fairness norms can explain the emergence of specific cooperation norms in the Battle of the Prisoners Dilemma," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
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