Social norms as choreography
This article shows that social norms are better explained as correlating devices for a correlated equilibrium of the underlying stage game, rather than Nash equilibria. Whereas the epistemological requirements for rational agents playing Nash equilibria are very stringent and usually implausible, the requirements for a correlated equilibrium amount to the existence of common priors, which we interpret as induced by the cultural system of the society in question. When the correlating device has perfect information, we need in addition only to posit that individuals obey the social norm when it is costless to do so. When the correlating device has incomplete information, the operation of the social norm requires that individuals have a predisposition to follow the norm even when this is costly. The latter case explains why social norms are associated with other-regarding preferences and provides a basis for analyzing honesty and corruption.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:9:y:2010:i:3:p:251-264. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publishing)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.