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Social networks, self-denial, and median preferences: Conformity as an evolutionary strategy

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  • Klick, Jonathan
  • Parisi, Francesco

Abstract

Attitudes of conformity can be understood as a product of adaptation. Existing models of conformity invoke preference falsification with individuals hiding their true preferences. We posit an adaptive mechanism for conformity. Because non-conformity leads to costs as a dissenting individual is shut out of social networks and majority coalitions, individuals have an incentive to sublimate their original preferences to a meta-preference for conformity. However, this adaptation is not costless. Resisting original preferences imposes self-denial costs that may exceed the benefits of conforming. Further, a conforming individual foregoes the small probability that his first-best original preferences will be realized.

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  • Klick, Jonathan & Parisi, Francesco, 2008. "Social networks, self-denial, and median preferences: Conformity as an evolutionary strategy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1319-1327, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:4:p:1319-1327
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    2. Landi, M. & Sodini, M., 2012. "An evolutionary analysis of turnout with conformist citizens," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1431-1447.
    3. Beraldo, Sergio & Filoso, Valerio & Marco, Stimolo, 2013. "Endogenous Preferences and Conformity: Evidence From a Pilot Experiment," MPRA Paper 48539, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Grajzl, Peter & Baniak, Andrzej, 2012. "Mandating behavioral conformity in social groups with conformist members," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 479-493.
    5. Proeger, Till & Meub, Lukas, 2014. "Overconfidence as a social bias: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 203-207.
    6. Pierdzioch, Christian & Reid, Monique B. & Gupta, Rangan, 2016. "Inflation forecasts and forecaster herding: Evidence from South African survey data," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 42-50.
    7. Thomas Bassetti & Filippo Pavesi, 2017. "Electoral Contributions And The Cost Of Unpopularity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1771-1791, October.
    8. Angela Ambrosino, 2017. "The Role of Agents’ Propensity toward Conformity and Independence in the Process of Institutional Change," STOREPapers 1_2017, Associazione Italiana per la Storia dell'Economia Politica - StorEP.
    9. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "An experimental study on social anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 196, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    10. Rustam Romaniuc, 2012. "Judicial Dissent under Externalities and Incomplete Information," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 209-224, October.

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