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How history and convention create norms: An experimental study

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  • Guala, Francesco
  • Mittone, Luigi

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:4:p:749-756
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2008. "An Experimental Study of Conventions and Norms," CEEL Working Papers 0810, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco GUALA & Frank HINDRIKS, 2013. "A Unified Social Ontology," Departmental Working Papers 2013-20, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.

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