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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. 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.
  2. Azar, Ofer H., 2008. "Evolution of social norms with heterogeneous preferences: A general model and an application to the academic review process," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 420-435, March.
  3. Edward Cartwright & Amrish Patel, 2008. "Public Goods, Social Norms and Naive Beliefs," Studies in Economics 0807, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  4. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:869-905 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Philippe Jehiel, 2005. "Analogy-Based Expectation Equilibrium," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000106, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Eyster, Erik & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Cursed Equilibrium," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7p2911dn, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  9. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  10. Cartwright, Edward, 2009. "Conformity and out of equilibrium beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 164-185, May.
  11. David Cooper & John Kagel, 2008. "Learning and transfer in signaling games," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 415-439, March.
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