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On the Emergence of Social Conformity

  • Edward Cartwright

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We consider a dynamic model of conformity that permits both a conformist and a non-conformist equilibrium. We provide conditions under which conformity can 'invade' a population. More precisely, starting from a non-conformist equilibrium, we show that the conformity of an arbitrarily small proportion of the popultion can lead to the spread of conformism and the ultimate emergence of the conformist equilibrium. This occurs independently of whether or not the non-conformist equilibrium Pareto dominates the conformist equilibrium.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.ukc.ac.uk/pub/ejr/RePEc/ukc/ukcedp/0501.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 0501.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0501
Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
Phone: +44 (0)1227 827497
Web page: http://www.kent.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Shiller, Robert J, 1995. "Conversation, Information, and Herd Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 181-85, May.
  2. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  3. George A. Akerlof, 1978. "A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence," Special Studies Papers 118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  5. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  6. Lindbeck, A, 1996. "Incentives and Social Norms in Household Behavior," Papers 622, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  7. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  8. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  9. Juang, Wei-Torng, 2001. "Learning from Popularity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 735-47, May.
  10. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  11. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
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