IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Moral Norms in a Partly Compliant Society

  • Sebastian Kranz


This paper analyses competition of moral norms and institutions in a society where a fixed share of people unconditionally complies with norms and the remaining people act selfishly. Whether a person is a norm-complier or selfish is private knowledge. A model of voting-by-feet shows that those norms and institutions arise that maximize expected utility of norm-compliers, taken into account selfish players' behavior. Such complier optimal norms lead to a simple behavioral model that, when combined with preferences for equitable outcomes, is in line with the relevant stylized facts from a wide range of economic experiments, like reciprocal behavior, costly punishment, the role of intentions, giving in dictator games and concerns for social efficiency. The paper contributes to the literature on voting-by-feet, institutional design, ethics and social preferences.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse11_2006.

in new window

Length: 40
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision: Jun 2006
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse11_2006
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
  2. Guth, Werner, 1995. "On ultimatum bargaining experiments -- A personal review," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 329-344, August.
  3. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
  4. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
  5. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  7. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
  8. Segal, Uzi & Sobel, Joel, 2007. "Tit for tat: Foundations of preferences for reciprocity in strategic settings," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 197-216, September.
  9. Bolle, Friedel & Ockenfels, Peter, 1990. "Prisoners' Dilemma as a game with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 69-84, March.
  10. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "The Canonical Type Space for Interdependent Preferences," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000635,
  11. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Krupka, Erin L. & Weber, Roberto A., 2008. "Identifying Social Norms Using Coordination Games: Why Does Dictator Game Sharing Vary?," IZA Discussion Papers 3860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Greenberg, Joseph & Weber, Shlomo, 1986. "Strong tiebout equilibrium under restricted preferences domain," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 101-117, February.
  14. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  15. Cox, J. & Friedman, D. & Gjerstad, S., 2006. "A Trackable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1181, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  16. Harrison, Glenn W & Hirshleifer, Jack, 1989. "An Experimental Evaluation of Weakest Link/Best Shot Models of Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 201-25, February.
  17. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  18. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  19. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  20. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1997. "Competition among Institutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 306-342, February.
  21. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  22. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2005. "Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 2017-2030, November.
  23. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  24. R. M. Isaac & J. M. Walker, 2010. "Group size effects in public goods provision: The voluntary contribution mechanism," Levine's Working Paper Archive 310, David K. Levine.
  25. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "On the Nature of Fair Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 2984, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
  28. López-Pérez, Raúl, 2008. "Aversion to norm-breaking: A model," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 237-267, September.
  29. Conley, John P. & Konishi, Hideo, 2002. "Migration-proof Tiebout equilibrium: existence and asymptotic efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 243-262, November.
  30. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
  31. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  32. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  33. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  34. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  35. Vesna Prasnikar & Alvin E. Roth, 1992. "Considerations of Fairness and Strategy: Experimental Data from Sequential Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 865-888.
  36. Charness, Gary B & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2006. "Promises & Partnership," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0127h86v, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  37. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
  38. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
  39. Altmann, Steffen & Dohmen, Thomas & Wibral, Matthias, 2007. "Do the Reciprocal Trust Less?," IZA Discussion Papers 3010, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  40. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  41. Harsanyi, John C., 1992. "Game and decision theoretic models in ethics," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 669-707 Elsevier.
  42. Clark, Kenneth & Sefton, Martin, 2001. "The Sequential Prisoner's Dilemma: Evidence on Reciprocation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 51-68, January.
  43. Ken Binmore, 1994. "Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 1: Playing Fair," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262023636, December.
  44. Westhoff, Frank, 1977. "Existence of equilibria in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 84-112, February.
  45. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  46. Chwe Michael Suk-Young, 1994. "Farsighted Coalitional Stability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 299-325, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse11_2006. 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: (BGSE Office)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.