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Learning to Be Thoughtless: Social Norms and Individual Computation

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  • Epstein, Joshua M

Abstract

This paper extends the literature on the evolution of norms with an agent-based model capturing a phenomenon that has been essentially ignored, namely that individual thought--or computing--is often inversely related to the strength of a social norm. Once a norm is entrenched, we conform thoughtlessly. In this model, agents learn how to behave (what norm to adopt), but--under a strategy I term Best Reply to Adaptive Sample Evidence--they also learn how much to think about how to behave. How much they are thinking affects how they behave, which--given how others behave--affects how much they think. In short, there is feedback between the social (inter-agent) and internal (intra-agent) dynamics. In addition, we generate the stylized facts regarding the spatio-temporal evolution of norms: local conformity, global diversity, and punctuated equilibria. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Epstein, Joshua M, 2001. "Learning to Be Thoughtless: Social Norms and Individual Computation," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 9-24, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:compec:v:18:y:2001:i:1:p:9-24
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    Cited by:

    1. Leigh Tesfatsion, 2002. "Agent-Based Computational Economics," Computational Economics 0203001, EconWPA, revised 15 Aug 2002.
    2. Mary Burke & Gary Fournier, 2005. "The Emergence of Local Norms in Networks," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 299, Society for Computational Economics.
    3. Yves Saillard, 2004. "L'analyse économique des normes : représentation et traitement des interactions dans les modèles de simulation," Post-Print halshs-00104866, HAL.
    4. repec:eee:ecomod:v:229:y:2012:i:c:p:16-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Истратов В.А., 2016. "Моделирование Формирования Социальных Норм В Общественных Науках," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 52(4), pages 47-73, октябрь.
    6. Efe Postalci, 2010. "Learning by observing," Working Papers 1007, Izmir University of Economics.
    7. Anderson, Kyle & Lee, SangHyun, 2016. "An empirically grounded model for simulating normative energy use feedback interventions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 272-282.
    8. Amy Peng & Francis McKenna, 2009. "Evolution of the Week," Working Papers 012, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
    9. Francesco C. Billari & Alexia Prskawetz & Johannes Fürnkranz, 2002. "The cultural evolution of age-at-marriage norms," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-018, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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