The Coevolution of Behavior and Normative Expectations. Customary Law in the Lab
AbstractCustomary law has been criticized from very different angles. Rational choice theorists claim that what looks like custom is nothing but self-interest. Positivists doubt that anything beyond consent assumes the force of law. In this paper, we adopt an experimental approach to test these claims. We show that the willingness to overcome a dilemma transcends self-interest. Cooperation is significantly higher in the presence of a meta-rule for the formation of customary law. Yet only if it is backed up by sanctions, law is significantly more effective than mere comity. Customary law guides behaviour into the normatively desired direction as normative expectations and behavioural patterns coevolve.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2011_32.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
experiment; Public Good; Customary Law; Normativity; Crowding Outs;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
- C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-04-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2012-04-03 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2012-04-03 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2012-04-03 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2012-04-03 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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