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Consensus vs. Conformity in Mixed-Motive Games

Listed author(s):
  • Michael Naef
  • Alessandro Sontuoso

    ()

    (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

A correlation between second-order beliefs and strategies – in social dilemmas – has been interpreted as evidence of guilt aversion (Charness and Dufwenberg [2006]). Ellingsen et al. [2010] hypothesize that such correlation might rather be due to consensus effects. Here we propose an additional explanation, conformity, which involves a similar belief-behavior correlation and we set out to tell these motivations apart by proposing a design such that: (i) we reduce the scope for guilt aversion by eliciting and transmitting beliefs about the behavior of other participants in the same role; (ii) we disentangle consensus from conformity by providing an exogenous variation in collective beliefs. The data show that consensus is present (and predominant) but is not the only force driving the belief-behavior correlation. In fact, we also observe “self-servingly conformist” behavior in that subjects choose to match their strategy to the transmitted information when it is in their interest to do so.

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File URL: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ppe-repec/ppc/wpaper/0002.pdf
File Function: First version, 2014
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Paper provided by Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PPE Working Papers with number 0002.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2014
Handle: RePEc:ppc:wpaper:0002
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  1. Rabin, Matthew, 1994. "Cognitive dissonance and social change," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-194, March.
  2. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Tjøtta, Sigve & Torsvik, Gaute, 2010. "Testing guilt aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-107, January.
  3. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1607-1636, September.
  5. Cristina Bicchieri & Alessandro Sontuoso, 2014. "I Cannot Cheat on You after We Talk," PPE Working Papers 0001, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Christoph Vanberg, 2008. "Why Do People Keep Their Promises? An Experimental Test of Two Explanations -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1467-1480, November.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  9. Sontuoso, Alessandro, 2013. "A Dynamic Model of Belief-Dependent Conformity to Social Norms," MPRA Paper 53234, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
  11. Guerra, Gerardo & John Zizzo, Daniel, 2004. "Trust responsiveness and beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 25-30, September.
  12. Michael Bacharach & Gerardo Guerra & Daniel Zizzo, 2007. "The Self-Fulfilling Property of Trust: An Experimental Study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(4), pages 349-388, December.
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