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Social Norms, Moral Commitment, and Cooperation


  • Alexander Kritikos

    (Fakultõt f³r Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Europa-Universitõt Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Frankfurt/Oder, Germany)

  • Georg Meran

    (Fachbereich Wirtschaft und Management, Technische Universitõt Berlin, Berlin, Germany)


Normative Game theory does not consider cooperation in a Prisoners' Dilemma (PD) as a serious strategy. Recent research has, therefore, introduced nonmonetary values to explain why individuals may choose to cooperate in PD-Games. It is not explained, however, where the values come from. Under the assumption of endogenous preferences we show that educating individuals towards a moral commitment can change preferences in a way that a deliberate willingness for cooperation is created. For that we provide a utility function where the compliance to social norms generates utility. Accordingly, we regard the decisions of morally committed individuals as rational.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Kritikos & Georg Meran, 1998. "Social Norms, Moral Commitment, and Cooperation," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 15, pages 71-92.
  • Handle: RePEc:hom:homoec:v:15:y:1998:p:71-92

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    Cited by:

    1. Kritikos, Alexander S. & Bolle, Friedel & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2007. "The economics of solidarity: A conceptual framework," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 73-89, February.
    2. Kritikos, Alexander & Bolle, Friedel, 2001. "Distributional concerns: equity- or efficiency-oriented?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 333-338, December.
    3. Friedel Bolle & Alexander Kritikos, 2006. "Reciprocity, Altruism, Solidarity: A Dynamic Model," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 60(4), pages 371-394, June.

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