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Conforming to Group Norms: An Experimental Study

Gautam Bose, Lorraine Ivancic () and Evgenia Dechter ()
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Lorraine Ivancic: School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales
Evgenia Dechter: School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales

No 2014-21, Discussion Papers from School of Economics, The University of New South Wales

Abstract: There is substantial experimental and empirical evidence to suggest that individual behaviour in bilateral or small-group interactions is affected by social norms. Further, social norms vary according to context. Previous research largely focuses on norms of fairness, not norms per se. We design an experiment to decouple norm-adherence from fairness. We find that (a) a group norm evolves and individuals cluster more tightly around it as they learn the average behaviour of the group, (b) actions further from this norm in a self-serving direction are less acceptable by others, and (c) when an agent is moved to a group with a different norm, s/he conforms quickly to the new norm.

Keywords: group behaviour; norms; conformism; fairness; ultimatum game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C78 C92 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2014-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-gth, nep-hpe and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:swe:wpaper:2014-21

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