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Social norms or social preferences?

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  • Ken Binmore

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Abstract

Some behavioral economists argue that the honoring of social norms can be adequately modeled as the optimization of social utility functions in which the welfare of others appears as an explicit argument. This paper suggests that the large experimental claims made for social utility functions are premature at best, and that social norms are better studied as equilibrium selection devices that evolved for use in games that are seldom studied in economics laboratories. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2010

Suggested Citation

  • Ken Binmore, 2010. "Social norms or social preferences?," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 9(2), pages 139-157, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:139-157
    DOI: 10.1007/s11299-010-0073-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-1289, November.
    2. Eckel, Catherine & Gintis, Herbert, 2010. "Blaming the messenger: Notes on the current state of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 109-119, January.
    3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
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    5. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052.
    6. Ken Binmore, 2007. "Does Game Theory Work? The Bargaining Challenge," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262026074, January.
    7. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
    8. Binmore, Ken, 2005. "Natural Justice," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195178111.
    9. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    10. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
    11. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    12. David Cooper & E. Dutcher, 2011. "The dynamics of responder behavior in ultimatum games: a meta-study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 519-546, November.
    13. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tammi, Timo, 2013. "Dictator game giving and norms of redistribution: Does giving in the dictator game parallel with the supporting of income redistribution in the field?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 44-48.
    2. Jahnke, Björn & Fochmann, Martin & Wagener, Andreas, 2016. "Does the reliability of institutions affect public good contributions? Evidence from a laboratory experiment," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145646, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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