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Injunctive vs. descriptive social norms and reference group dependence

Franziska Heinicke, Christian König-Kersting and Robert Schmidt

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2022, vol. 195, issue C, 199-218

Abstract: We experimentally study role and reference group dependence in the elicitation of injunctive and descriptive social norms. Using mini-dictator games that are designed to reveal distributive motives, we vary whether dictators and recipients either separately or jointly coordinate on social norms. While elicited norms are stable in most constellations, we identify dictators to shift injunctive norms in a direction consistent with self-serving allocation outcomes when coordinating only among themselves. Eliciting beliefs about coordination outcomes shows that participants overestimate the divergences, as they expect them to be prevalent in all treatments and for both roles. Finally, we find descriptive social norms to correlate more strongly with dictator's allocation choices than injunctive norms.

Keywords: Injunctive social norms; Descriptive social norms; Distributive motives; Context dependence; Dictator games; Coordination (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D63 D90 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:195:y:2022:i:c:p:199-218

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.01.008

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