An Experimental Study of Conventions and Norms
AbstractAlthough it is now recognized that norms play an important role in many economic decisions, compliance with conventions is generally considered to be driven by rational self-interest only. We report instead experimental data showing that (1) ‘external’ norms of fairness sustain social conventions that have emerged from repeated play of simple coordination games; and (2) with repetition such conventions acquire an ‘intrinsic’ normative power of their own. This creates pressure towards conformity, and patterns of regular behaviour that are far stronger and more stable than those that would be generated by mere self-interest and rationality.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia in its series CEEL Working Papers with number 0810.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-12-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2008-12-07 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2008-12-07 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2008-12-07 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2008-12-07 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2008-12-07 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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- Guala, Francesco & Mittone, Luigi, 2010. "How history and convention create norms: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 749-756, August.
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