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What Determines the Enforcement of Newly Introduced Social Norms: Personality Traits or Economic Preferences? Evidence from the COVID-19 Crisis

Daniel Schunk and Valentin Wagner

No 2024, Working Papers from Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Abstract: Social norms govern human behavior and usually change slowly over time. While individuals’ willingness to sanction others is decisive for the enforcement of social norms and thus social stability, little is known about individual sanctioning behavior related to newly introduced social norms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have used various tools to rapidly and actively introduce the new norm of wearing a face mask; this offers a unique setting to study the determinants of individuals’ willingness to enforce a cooperation norm. In a nationwide online survey in Germany, we find that higher levels of conscientiousness and neuroticism, but none of the economic preferences (time and risk), are significantly and robustly associated with higher norm enforcement behavior. Furthermore, there is a strong relationship behavior between supervisors’ and their subordinates’ norm enforcement, and we observe that females sanction less harshly than men. Our results shed light on the origins of individual compliance with and enforcement of newly introduced public policy measures that are meant to increase solidarity via the explicit shaping of new cooperation norms.

Keywords: Social norm enforcement; personality traits; risk and time preferences; COVID-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D81 D90 H12 H40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2020-11-16
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-neu and nep-soc
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc

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