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Class systems and the enforcement of social norms

  • Harold L. Cole
  • George J. Mailath
  • Andrew Postlewaite

We analyze a model in which there is socially inefficient competition among people. In this model, self-enforcing social norms can potentially control the inefficient competition. However, the inefficient behavior often cannot be suppressed in equilibrium among those with the lowest income due to the ineffectiveness of sanctions against those in the society with the least to lose. We demonstrate that in such cases, it may be possible for society to be divided into distinct classes, with inefficient behavior suppressed in the upper classes but not in the lower.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 213.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:213
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  1. Friedman, James W., 1985. "Cooperative equilibria in finite horizon noncooperative supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 390-398, August.
  2. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Incorporating concern for relative wealth into economic models," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 12-21.
  3. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1986. "Limit Games and Limit Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 220, David K. Levine.
  4. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  5. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-22, July.
  6. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1995. "Aristocratic Equilibria: Response," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 439-43, April.
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