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Instilling Norms in a Turmoil of Spillovers

Listed author(s):
  • Alexander Funcke


    (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Social norms and conventions have formally been defined as pertaining to static sets of situations. In this paper, we introduce a slight variation of Cristina Bicchieri's definition, where the set of situations is dynamically determined by previous actions. To suggest how the definition may be employed we first introduce a problem that would be hard to formulate within the classical definition: How to fight a destructive norm in a setting with a multitude of institutions. The example assumes that enforcement of conformative behavior in all institutions would be too costly. Further, enforcement of conformative behavior in a single institution would be drowned by defective behavioral spillovers from surrounding situations where the bad behavior is still the norm. The scheme drafted is to take the cost to enforce conformist behavior in a single institution while suspending the rest. The conformist behavior will after a while become the "the right thing to do" behavior in the kept institution.

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Paper provided by Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PPE Working Papers with number 0004.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2015
Handle: RePEc:ppc:wpaper:0004
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  1. Rossella Argenziano & Itzhak Gilboa, 2012. "History as a coordination device," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(4), pages 501-512, October.
  2. Bednar, Jenna & Chen, Yan & Liu, Tracy Xiao & Page, Scott, 2012. "Behavioral spillovers and cognitive load in multiple games: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 12-31.
  3. Cason, Timothy N. & Savikhin, Anya C. & Sheremeta, Roman M., 2012. "Behavioral spillovers in coordination games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 233-245.
  4. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
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