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Naïve Beliefs and the Multiplicity of Social Norms

  • Amrish Patel
  • Edward Cartwright

In a signalling model of conformity, we demonstrate that naïve observers, those that take actions at face value, constrain the set of actions that can possibly be social norms. With rational observers many actions can be norms, but with naïve observers only actions close to that preferred by the ideal type can be norms. We suggest, therefore, that the naïvety or inexperience of observers is an important determinant of norms and how they evolve.

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 168 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 280-289

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(201206)168:2_280:nbatmo_2.0.tx_2-o
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  1. David Cooper & John Kagel, 2008. "Learning and transfer in signaling games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 415-439, March.
  2. Azar, Ofer H., 2004. "What sustains social norms and how they evolve?: The case of tipping," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 49-64, May.
  3. Edward Cartwright & Amrish Patel, 2008. "Public Goods, Social Norms and Naive Beliefs," Studies in Economics 0807, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  4. Jehiel, Philippe, 2005. "Analogy-based expectation equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 81-104, August.
  5. Ofer Haim Azar, 2006. "Evolution Of Social Norms With Heterogeneous Preferences: A General Model And An Application To The Academic Review Process," Working Papers 0602, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  6. Eyster, Erik & Rabin, Matt, 2002. "Cursed Equilibrium," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6xf4782t, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  8. Cartwright, Edward, 2009. "Conformity and out of equilibrium beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 164-185, May.
  9. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  10. Christophe Chamley, 1999. "Coordinating Regime Switches," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 869-905, August.
  11. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
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