Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/130511
Authors: 
Smerdon, David
Offerman, Theo
Gneezy, Uri
Year of Publication: 
2016
Series/Report no.: 
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 16-023/I
Abstract: 
Social norms permeate society across a wide range of issues and are important to understanding how societies function. In this paper we concentrate on 'bad' social norms - those that are inefficient or even damaging to a group. This paper explains how bad social norms evolve and persist; our theory proposes a testable model of bad norms based on anecdotal evidence from real-world examples. We then experimentally test the model and find empirical support to its main predictions. Central to the model is the role of a person's social identity in encouraging compliance to a norm. The strength of this identity is found to have a positive effect on bad norm persistence. Additionally, while the size of the social group does not have a long run effect, smaller groups are more likely to break a bad norm in the short term. Furthermore, the results suggest that both anonymous communication and increasing information about others' payoffs are promising intervention policies to counter bad norms.
Subjects: 
Social norms
Experiment
Identity
Behavioral Economics
JEL: 
D03
Z13
C92
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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