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The Double Nature of Conventions - An Experimental Analysis

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  • Luis M. Miller

Abstract

This paper aims to integrate both economic and sociological notions of conventions in a single analytical framework. To this end, it starts by distinguishing conceptually between behavioral convention, i.e. an arbitrary but stable social regularity, and normative convention, i.e. a principle of action prescribing how to behave in a certain class of situations. A game theoretical framework to represent the interrelation between both concepts is then introduced. Finally, this relation is studied experimentally. The main results of the experiment are: (1) normative conventions have to be commonly known and accepted among subjects in order to work as guides to coordinate on behavioral conventions; (2) once subjects follow a normative convention they are highly consistent with it in a repeated environment; (3) efficiency concerns are focal in the class of games studied in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis M. Miller, 2006. "The Double Nature of Conventions - An Experimental Analysis," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-07
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    Cited by:

    1. Vanberg, Christoph, 2010. "Voting on a sharing norm in a dictator game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 285-292, June.

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    Keywords

    coordination; convention; consistency; efficiency; experiments;

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