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Consensus vs. Conformity in Mixed-Motive Games

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  • Michael Naef
  • Alessandro Sontuoso

    () (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Naef & Alessandro Sontuoso, 2014. "Consensus vs. Conformity in Mixed-Motive Games," PPE Working Papers 0002, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:ppc:wpaper:0002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pelligra, Vittorio & Reggiani, Tommaso G. & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2016. "Responding to (Un)Reasonable Requests," IZA Discussion Papers 10189, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conformist preferences; consensus effects; guilt aversion; social norms; trust; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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