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Incentives And Social Norms: A Motivation-Based Economic Analysis Of Social Norms


  • Agnès Festré


It is now commonplace to regard social norms as a subject of growing interest in the economic literature (e.g. game theoretical approaches based on 'other-regarding' individual preferences, the analysis of the impact of rewards or punishment on individuals' behaviour through experimental economics as well as field experiments, the revival of the institutionalist tradition spurred on by the influential work of Douglas North and followed by many others and the growing influence of neuroeconomics). In this paper, we focus on the relationship between incentives and social norms and survey the literature that could constitute the foundations of a motivation-based economic analysis of social norms. Our main findings are that (1) the interaction between incentives and social norms is far from obvious since taking social norms into account involves the introduction of supplementary motives, in addition to self-interest, into the economic analytical framework; (2) the analysis of the interaction between incentives and social norms resists an approach exclusively in terms of crowding-in and -out effects because it is sensitive to whether it concerns behaviours driven by honour or by social stigma; (3) as a result, it is difficult to precisely evaluate the policy implication of the interactions between incentives and social norms. Copyright © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Agnès Festré, 2010. "Incentives And Social Norms: A Motivation-Based Economic Analysis Of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 511-538, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:511-538

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    Cited by:

    1. Agnès Festré & Luca Giustiniano, 2011. "Relational capital and appropriate incentives," Post-Print hal-01300674, HAL.
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:314-323 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gmür, Markus & Gmür, Markus, 2012. "Bezahlte Freiwilligenarbeit - ein Widerspruch ?," FSES Working Papers 434, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    4. Leventis, Stergios & Hasan, Iftekhar & Dedoulis, Emmanouil, 2013. "The cost of sin: The effect of social norms on audit pricing," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 152-165.
    5. Andreas Wagener, 2012. "Why Do People (Not) Cough in Concerts? The Economics of Concert Etiquette," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-05-2012, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Dec 2012.
    6. Basov Suren & Bhatti M. Ishaq, 2013. "Optimal Contracting Model in a Social Environment and Trust-Related Psychological Costs," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-14, April.
    7. van der Weele Joël, 2012. "Beyond the State of Nature: Introducing Social Interactions in the Economic Model of Crime," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 401-432, October.
    8. Abdelsalam, Omneya & Dimitropoulos, Panagiotis & Elnahass, Marwa & Leventis, Stergios, 2016. "Earnings management behaviors under different monitoring mechanisms: The case of Islamic and conventional banks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(S), pages 155-173.
    9. Dos Santos Ferreira, Rodolphe & Lloyd-Braga, Teresa & Modesto, Leonor, 2015. "The destabilizing effects of the social norm to work under a social security system," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 64-72.

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