The Scandal Matrix: The Use of Scandals in the Progress of Society

Homo Oeconomicus, Vol. 16, pp. 97–110, 1999

Posted: 2 Nov 1998 Last revised: 4 Apr 2011

See all articles by Manfred J. Holler

Manfred J. Holler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Bengt-Arne Wickström

Research group "Economics and Language" - REAL; Andrássy-Universität Budapest

Date Written: March 1, 1998

Abstract

Social conventions and norms can be modeled as equilibria of coordination games. It is argued that the critical mass necessary for a society to move from one convention, that is from one equilibrium, to another changes with changes in the population structure due to generation shifts. A scandal is defined as a breach of the accepted norm by a prominent person When the critical mass necessary for a change in the accepted convention is sufficiently small, a scandal can trigger such a change since the scandal maker has a certain number of sympathizers, who follow her in breaking the accepted norm. The argument is illustrated with several examples from the history of mankind.

JEL Classification: C72, D74, J19, Z10

Suggested Citation

Holler, Manfred J. and Wickström, Bengt-Arne, The Scandal Matrix: The Use of Scandals in the Progress of Society (March 1, 1998). Homo Oeconomicus, Vol. 16, pp. 97–110, 1999, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=111389

Manfred J. Holler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Bengt-Arne Wickström (Contact Author)

Research group "Economics and Language" - REAL ( email )

Research Group "Economics and Language"
Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, 10099
Germany

Andrássy-Universität Budapest ( email )

Pollack Mihály tér 3
Budapest, 1088
Hungary

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