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

  • Klick, Jonathan
  • Parisi, Francesco

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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 1319-1327

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:4:p:1319-1327
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