How history and convention create norms: An experimental study
According to a tradition that goes back to David Hume, social conventions have a natural tendency to turn into norms. Normativity increases compliance and stabilizes individual behaviour in spite of changes in incentives. In this paper we report experimental data that confirm this insight and encourage mildly optimistic conclusions regarding human sociality: habits provide extra glue that keeps individuals together, and prevents them from succumbing to anti-social temptation even when punishment is unlikely.
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