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Conforming to Group Norms: An Experimental Study

  • Gautam Bose

    ()

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)

  • Lorraine Ivancic

    ()

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)

  • Evgenia Dechter

    ()

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)

There is substantial experimental and empirical evidence to suggest that individual behaviour in bilateral or small-group interactions is affected by social norms. Further, social norms vary according to context. Previous research largely focuses on norms of fairness, not norms per se. We design an experiment to decouple norm-adherence from fairness. We find that (a) a group norm evolves and individuals cluster more tightly around it as they learn the average behaviour of the group, (b) actions further from this norm in a self-serving direction are less acceptable by others, and (c) when an agent is moved to a group with a different norm, s/he conforms quickly to the new norm.

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File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2014-21.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, The University of New South Wales in its series Discussion Papers with number 2014-21.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2014-21
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