The measurement of social norms plays a pivotal role in many social sciences. While economists predominantly conduct experiments, sociologists rather employ (factorial) surveys. Both methods, however, suffer from distinct weaknesses. Experiments, on the one hand, often fall short in the measurement of more complex elements, such as the conditionality or the level of consensus of social norms. Surveys, on the other, lack the ability to measure actual behavior. This paper argues that the so-called strategy method compensates for these weaknesses by combining the observational characteristic of experiments with the conditionality of factorial surveys. We can demonstrate the applicability of the strategy method for the measure- ment of conditional bargaining norms in the case of ultimatum games. To substantiate our claim, we conduct a methodological experiment in which we compare results for the strategy ultimatum game with those from a conventional ultimatum game. The strategy method yields higher levels of normative compliance in terms of rejecting unfair offers. We conclude that the strategy method rather measures normative expectations whereas the conventional ultimatum game the willingness to sacrifice own profits to adhere to these expectations. Our results are consistent with previous comparative research between factorial surveys and observational data.
Social norms measurement ultimatum game strategy method factorial surveys