IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v136y2017icp15-28.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Justification and conformity

Author

Listed:
  • Xiao, Erte

Abstract

The need to justify is both a widely observed social phenomenon and an important part of communication. This paper examines experimentally how pure pressure to justify affects conformity behavior in economic environments. The evidence suggests that pressure to justify increases sensitivity to norm deviations. In a one-shot anonymous interaction, compared with the case when the behavior is simply observed by the audience, individuals’ behaviors are more likely to reflect what they believe the audience thinks they should do when they must explain their decisions to the audience. Whether justification pressure can discourage selfish behavior is positively correlated with the proportion of individuals who believe the audience disapproves of such behavior. The implications of these findings can help shape institutions to promote conformity and prosocial behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiao, Erte, 2017. "Justification and conformity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 15-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:15-28
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.01.015
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016726811730015X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
    2. Jian Li & Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser & P. Read Montague, 2009. "Neural Responses to Sanction Threats in Two-Party Economic Exchange," Working Papers 1012, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    3. Kahan, Dan M, 1998. "Social Meaning and the Economic Analysis of Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 609-622, June.
    4. Simonson, Itamar & Nye, Peter, 1992. "The effect of accountability on susceptibility to decision errors," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 416-446, April.
    5. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    6. Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Föllmi-Heusi, 2013. "Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 525-547, June.
    7. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 585-608, June.
    8. Brandts, Jordi & Garofalo, Orsola, 2012. "Gender pairings and accountability effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 31-41.
    9. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    10. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2011. "Punish in public," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 1006-1017, August.
    11. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    12. Kuang, Xi (Jason) & Weber, Roberto A. & Dana, Jason, 2007. "How effective is advice from interested parties?: An experimental test using a pure coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, April.
    13. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    14. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    15. Pahlke, Julius & Strasser, Sebastian & Vieider, Ferdinand M., 2012. "Risk-taking for others under accountability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 102-105.
    16. Andreoni, James & Rao, Justin M., 2011. "The power of asking: How communication affects selfishness, empathy, and altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 513-520.
    17. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    18. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2009. "Dynamic psychological games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 1-35, January.
    19. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2013. "Peer Effects In Pro-Social Behavior: Social Norms Or Social Preferences?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 548-573, June.
    20. 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.
    21. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    22. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
    23. Taylor, Kimberly A., 1995. "Testing Credit and Blame Attributions as Explanation for Choices under Ambiguity," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 128-137, November.
    24. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt3w34j60j, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    25. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2000. "The False Consensus Effect Disappears if Representative Information and Monetary Incentives Are Given," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(3), pages 241-260, December.
    26. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
    27. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
    28. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    29. Joseph Farrell & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 103-118, Summer.
    30. Ferdinand Vieider, 2011. "Separating real incentives and accountability," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 507-518, November.
    31. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    32. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Social norms and human cooperation," Macroeconomics 0409026, EconWPA.
    33. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
    34. Siegel-Jacobs, Karen & Yates, J. Frank, 1996. "Effects of Procedural and Outcome Accountability on Judgment Quality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-17, January.
    35. Xiao, Erte, 2013. "Profit-seeking punishment corrupts norm obedience," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 321-344.
    36. De Cremer, David & Dijk, Eric van, 2009. "Paying for sanctions in social dilemmas: The effects of endowment asymmetry and accountability," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 45-55, May.
    37. Fischbacher, Urs & Utikal, Verena, 2013. "On the acceptance of apologies," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 592-608.
    38. Engelmann, Dirk & Strobel, Martin, 2012. "Deconstruction and reconstruction of an anomaly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 678-689.
    39. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S., 1999. "The sound of silence in prisoner's dilemma and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 43-57, January.
    40. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
    41. Shalvi, Shaul & Dana, Jason & Handgraaf, Michel J.J. & De Dreu, Carsten K.W., 2011. "Justified ethicality: Observing desired counterfactuals modifies ethical perceptions and behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 181-190, July.
    42. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2008. "What's in a name? Anonymity and social distance in dictator and ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-35, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolet:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:73-75 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Justification; Communication; Social norms; Expectations; Experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:15-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.