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Expressive Law: Framing or Equilibrium Selection?

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  • Bohnet, Iris

    (Harvard U)

  • Cooter, Robert

    (U of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Besides deterring people, laws may affect behavior by changing preferences or beliefs. A law may elicit intrinsic motivation by framing an act as wrong. Alternatively, it may coordinate the behavior of different people by changing their beliefs about what others will do. We investigate framing and coordination effects experimentally in prisoner's dilemma, "crowding" and coordination games. We simulate a law by imposing a probabilistic penalty on one of the choices. In the prisoner's dilemma and the crowding game, announcing the penalty had no effect. In the coordination game, announcing the penalty caused behavior to jump to the Pareto-superior equilibrium. Keywords: Equilibrium selection, framing, expressive law, experiments, coordination, prisoner's dilemma

Suggested Citation

  • Bohnet, Iris & Cooter, Robert, 2003. "Expressive Law: Framing or Equilibrium Selection?," Working Paper Series rwp03-046, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp03-046
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    Cited by:

    1. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    2. Carbonara, Emanuela & Parisi, Francesco & von Wangenheim, Georg, 2012. "Unjust laws and illegal norms," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 285-299.
    3. Jean-Robert Tyran & Lars P. Feld, 2006. "Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-deterrent," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, pages 135-156.
    4. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Mollerstrom, Johanna & Munkhammar, Sara, 2012. "Social framing effects: Preferences or beliefs?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 117-130.
    5. Christoph Engel & Michael Kurschilgen, 2011. "The Coevolution of Behavior and Normative Expectations. Customary Law in the Lab," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_32, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    6. van der Weele Joël, 2012. "Beyond the State of Nature: Introducing Social Interactions in the Economic Model of Crime," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 401-432, October.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2005. "Auszeichnungen: Ein Vernachl�ssigter Anreiz," IEW - Working Papers 254, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    8. H. Sun & M. Bigoni, 2015. "A Fine Rule From a Brutish World? An Experiment on Endogenous Punishment Institution and Trust," Working Papers wp1031, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    9. Niels Petersen, 2009. "Rational Choice or Deliberation? Customary International Law between Coordination and Constitutionalization," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(1), pages 71-85, March.
    10. Renate Buijze & Christoph Engel & Sigrid Hemels, 2015. "Insuring Your Donation – An Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2015_16, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jul 2016.
    11. Licht Amir N., 2008. "Social Norms and the Law: Why Peoples Obey the Law," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 715-750, December.
    12. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2006. "Auszeichnungen: Ein vernachlässigter Anreiz," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(2), pages 271-284, May.

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    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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