Social Norms, Higher-Order Beliefs and the Emperor's New Clothes
The use of social sanctions against behaviour which contradicts a set of informal rules is often an important element in the functioning of informal institutions in traditional societies. In the social sciences, sanctioning behaviour has often been explained in terms of the internalisation of norms that prescribe the sanctions (e.g. Parsons 1951) or the threat of new sanctions against those who do not follow sanctioning behaviour (e.g. Akerlof 1976). We propose an alternative mechanism for maintaining a credible threat of social sanctions, showing that even in a population where individuals have not internalised a set of social norms, do not believe that others have internalised them, do not believe that others believe that others have internalised these norms, etc., up to a finite nth order, collective participation in social sanctions against behaviour which contradict the norms is an equilibrium if such beliefs exist at higher orders. The equilibrium can persist even if beliefs change over time, as long as the norms are believed to have been internalised at some finite nth order. The framework shows how precisely beliefs must change for the equilibrium to unravel and social norms to evolve.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|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/
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
- Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1989.
"Renegotiation in repeated games,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 327-360, December.
- Joseph Farrell and Eric Maskin., 1987. "Renegotiation in Repeated Games," Economics Working Papers 8759, University of California at Berkeley.
- Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "Renegotiation in Repeated Games," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9wv3h5jb, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
- Robert J. Aumann, 1999. "Interactive epistemology I: Knowledge," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 263-300.
- Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, May.
- George Akerlof, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617.
- Chen, Yi-Chun, 2012. "A structure theorem for rationalizability in the normal form of dynamic games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 587-597.
- Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
- Jonathan Weinstein & Muhamet Yildiz, 2007. "A Structure Theorem for Rationalizability with Application to Robust Predictions of Refinements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 365-400, 03.
- Fafchamps, Marcel, 1992. "Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 147-74, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:1210. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Tracey Girling)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.