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Opportunistic conformism

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  • Charness, Gary
  • Naef, Michael
  • Sontuoso, Alessandro

Abstract

We study strategic interactions that may be affected by belief-dependent, conformist preferences. Specifically, we propose that beliefs about the behavior of individuals in the same role (i.e., beliefs about “peer behavior”) directly affect a player's utility. In examining conformism we propose an experimental design that verifies the presence of the relevant causality direction. Our data reveal “opportunistically conformist” behavior, as subjects are more likely to follow the purported majority if doing so implies an increase in expected material payoff. We provide a general framework that accounts for such a pattern.

Suggested Citation

  • Charness, Gary & Naef, Michael & Sontuoso, Alessandro, 2019. "Opportunistic conformism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 100-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:180:y:2019:i:c:p:100-134
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2018.12.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Bicchieri, Cristina & Dimant, Eugen & Gächter, Simon & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2022. "Social proximity and the erosion of norm compliance," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 59-72.
    2. Vittorio Pelligra & Tommaso Reggiani & Daniel John Zizzo, 2020. "Responding to (un)reasonable requests by an authority," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 89(3), pages 287-311, October.
    3. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo, 2020. "Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," CESifo Working Paper Series 8212, CESifo.
    4. Danilov, Anastasia & Khalmetski, Kiryl & Sliwka, Dirk, 2021. "Descriptive Norms and Guilt Aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 293-311.
    5. Dimant, Eugen, 2019. "Contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among peers and the role of social proximity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 66-88.
    6. Claudia Cerrone & Francesco Feri & Philip R. Neary, 2019. "Ignorance is bliss: a game of regret," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2019_10, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    7. Kichko, Sergey & Picard, Pierre M., 2021. "Effect of conformism on firm selection, product quality and home bias," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 402-418.
    8. Rockenbach, Bettina & Tonke, Sebastian & Weiss, Arne R., 2021. "Self-serving behavior of the rich causes contagion effects among the poor," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 289-300.
    9. Dimant, Eugen, 2015. "On Peer Effects: Behavioral Contagion of (Un)Ethical Behavior and the Role of Social Identity," MPRA Paper 68732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. McBride, Michael & Ridinger, Garret, 2021. "Beliefs also make social-norm preferences social," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 765-784.
    11. Triyana, Margaret & White, Justin S., 2022. "Non-monetary incentives for tobacco prevention among youth in Indonesia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conformist preferences; Psychological games; Peers; Trust;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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