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On Social Sanctions and Beliefs: A Pollution Norm Example

  • Garcia, Jorge H.
  • Wei, Jiegen

A prevailing view in the literature is that social sanctions can support, in equilibrium, high levels of obedience to a costly norm. The reason is that social disapproval and stigmatization faced by the disobedient are highest when disobedience is the exception rather than the rule in society. In contrast, the (Bayesian) model introduced here shows that imperfect information causes the expected social sanction to be lowest precisely when obedience is more common. This, amongst other fi?ndings, draws a distinct line between social and moral sanctions, both of which may depend on others' ?behavior but not on action observability.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-13-04-efd.

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Date of creation: 14 Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-13-04-efd
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  1. Kübler, Dorothea, 2000. "On the regulation of social norms," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2000,38, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
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  14. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
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  16. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
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