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The emergence of norms from conflicts over just distributions

Author

Listed:
  • Luis Miller

    (CESS, Nuffield College, Oxford, Great Britain)

  • Heiko Rauhut

    (ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

  • Fabian Winter

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany)

Abstract

Why is it that well-intentioned actions can create persistent conflicts? While norms are widely regarded as a source for cooperation, this article proposes a novel theory in which the emergence of norms can be understood as a bargaining process in which normative conflicts explain the finally emerging norm. The theory is tested with a dynamical experiment on conflicts over the consideration of equality, effort or efficiency for the distribution of joint earnings. Normative conflict is measured by the number of rejected offers in a recursive bargaining game. The emerging normative system is analyzed by feedback cycles between micro- and macro-level. It is demonstrated that more normative cues cause more normative conflict. Further, under the structural conditions of either simple or complex situations, the convergence towards a simple and widely shared norm is likely. In contrast, in moderately complex situations, convergence is unlikely and several equally reasonable norms co-exist. The findings are discussed with respect to the integration of sociological conflict theory with the bargaining concept in economic theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Miller & Heiko Rauhut & Fabian Winter, 2011. "The emergence of norms from conflicts over just distributions," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-018, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2011-018
    as

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    File URL: http://www2.wiwi.uni-jena.de/Papers/jerp2011/wp_2011_018.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The emergence of norms from conflicts over just distributions
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-04-11 20:16:07

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2016. "Equity and bargaining power in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 144-165.
    2. Fabian Winter, 2013. "Fairness norms can explain the emergence of specific cooperation norms in the Battle of the Prisoners Dilemma," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Maxwell N Burton-Chellew & Stuart A West, 2012. "Correlates of Cooperation in a One-Shot High-Stakes Televised Prisoners' Dilemma," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 7(4), pages 1-10, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social norms; normative conflict; bargaining; cooperation; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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