Conformity, reciprocity and the sense of justice. How social contract-based preferences and beliefs explain norm compliance: the experimental evidence
Lorenzo Sacconi () and
Marco Faillo ()
No 814, Department of Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia
Compliance with a social norm is a matter of self-enforceability and endogenous motivation to conform, which is relevant not just to social norm,s but also to a wide array of institutions. Here we consider endogenous mechanisms that become effective once the game description has been enriched with pre-play communication allowing impartial agreements on a norm (even if they remain not binding in any sense). Behavioral models understand conformity as the maximization of some ï¿½enlargedï¿½ utility function properly defined to make room for the individualï¿½s ï¿½desireï¿½ to comply with a norm reciprocally adhered to by other participants ï¿½ whose conformity in turn depends on the expectation that the norm will be in fact reciprocally adhered to. In particular this paper presents an experimental study on the ï¿½conformity-with-the-ideal preference theoryï¿½ (Grimalda and Sacconi 2005), based of a simple experimental three person game called the ï¿½exclusion gameï¿½. If the players participate in a ï¿½constitutional stageï¿½ (under a veil of ignorance) in which they decide the rule of division unanimously, the experimental data show a dramatic change in the participantsï¿½ behavior pattern. Most of them conform to the fair rule of division to which they have agreed in a pre-play communication stage, whereas in the absence of this agreement they behave egoistically. The paper also argues that this behavior is largely consistent with what John Rawls (1971) called the ï¿½sense of justiceï¿½, a theory of norm compliance unfortunately overlooked by economists and which should be reconsidered after the behaviorist turn in economics.
Keywords: conformist preferences; reciprocity; veil of ignorance; psychological games; fairness; experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C7 C9 D63 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-hpe, nep-soc and nep-upt
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Our link check indicates that this URL is bad, the error code is: 404 Not Found (http://www.unitn.it/files/14_08_sacconi.pdf [301 Moved Permanently]--> https://www.unitn.it/files/14_08_sacconi.pdf)
Journal Article: Conformity, reciprocity and the sense of justice. How social contract-based preferences and beliefs explain norm compliance: the experimental evidence (2010)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:trn:utwpde:0814
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Department of Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Luciano Andreozzi ().