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Social Norms

  • H. Peyton Young

The function of a social norm is to coordinate people`s expectations in interactions that possess multiple equilibria. Norms govern a wide range of phenomena, including property rights, contracts, bargains, forms of communication, and concepts of justice. Norms impose uniformity of behavior within a given social group, but often vary substantially among groups. Over time norm shifts may occur, prompted either by changes in objective circumstances or by subjective changes in perceptions and expectations. The dynamics of this process can be modeled using evolutionary game theory, which predict that some norms are more stable than others in the long run.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 307.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:307
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  1. Young, H Peyton, 1998. "Conventional Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 773-92, October.
  2. Young H. P., 1993. "An Evolutionary Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 145-168, February.
  3. Warneryd, Karl, 1994. "Transaction cost, institutions, and evolution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 219-239, October.
  4. Kandori Michihiro & Rob Rafael, 1995. "Evolution of Equilibria in the Long Run: A General Theory and Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 383-414, April.
  5. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  6. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052, July.
  7. 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, June.
  8. Robson, Arthur J. & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 1996. "Efficient Equilibrium Selection in Evolutionary Games with Random Matching," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 65-92, July.
  9. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  10. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  11. H. Peyton Young & Mary A. Burke, 2001. "Competition and Custom in Economic Contracts: A Case Study of Illinois Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 559-573, June.
  12. Lawrence E. Blume, 1994. "How Noise Matters," Game Theory and Information 9407002, EconWPA, revised 27 Jul 1994.
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