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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," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 196, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
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    12. 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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