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On the regulation of social norms

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  • Kübler, Dorothea

Abstract

A model is developed to understand how norms can be influenced by norm entrepreneurs, e.g. lawmakers, government agencies, unions etc. Two instruments of influencing the dynamics of normfollowing behavior are analyzed, namely transforming the (monetary) incentives and changing the meaning or the reputational value of following a norm. First, incentives can be introduced (e.g. fines or subsidies imposed by government agencies) to violate existing norms or follow a new code of behavior. Second, actors can be convinced by norm entrepreneurs, e.g. using moral suasion, that following the existing norm is inappropriate or that following a certain new norm is appropriate. Both forms of norm regulation are incorporated into Akerlof's model of social custom (1980) in order to derive the comparative static properties of norm destruction and norm creation for different types of norms.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200038
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Basu, Kaushik & Jones, Eric & Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1987. "The growth and decay of custom: The role of the new institutional economics in economic history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-21, January.
    2. Huck, Steffen, 1998. "Trust, Treason, and Trials: An Example of How the Evolution of Preferences Can Be Driven by Legal Institutions," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 44-60, April.
    3. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1998. "On Custom in the Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292241.
    4. H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
    5. de Neubourg, Chris & Vendrik, Maarten, 1994. "An extended rationality model of social norms in labour supply," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 93-126, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "Nudges and norms: On the political economy of soft paternalism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 266-277.
    2. Julia Sophie Woersdorfer, 2008. "From Status-Seeking Consumption to Social Norms. An Application to the Consumption of Cleanliness," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-10, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    4. Danilov, Anastasia & Sliwka, Dirk, 2013. "Can Contracts Signal Social Norms? Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7477, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Gerd Muehlheusser & Andreas Roider, 2004. "Black Sheep and Walls of Silence," Diskussionsschriften dp0410, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    6. Huck, Steffen & Kübler, Dorothea & Weibull, Jörgen, 2012. "Social norms and economic incentives in firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 173-185.
    7. Benjamin Foster, 2011. "Norms and Costs of Government Domestic Violence Policies: A Critical Review," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 140-151, March.
    8. Garcia, Jorge H. & Wei, Jiegen, 2013. "On Social Sanctions and Beliefs: A Pollution Norm Example," Discussion Papers dp-13-04-efd, Resources For the Future.
    9. João Amaro de Matos & Pedro Barros, 2004. "Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections’ Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 239-255, October.

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    Keywords

    social norms; regulation; conformity;

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