Social Norms and Preferences

48 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2010

See all articles by Andrew Postlewaite

Andrew Postlewaite

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 4, 2010


Social norms are often posited as an explanation of differences in economic behavior and performance of societies that are difficult to explain by differences in endowments and technology. Economists are often reluctant to incorporate social aspects into their analyses when doing so leads to models that depart from the “standard” model. I discuss ways that agents’ social environment can be accommodated in standard models and the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

Keywords: Social norms, social preferences, interdependent preferences, social behavior

JEL Classification: D01, D03

Suggested Citation

Postlewaite, Andrew, Social Norms and Preferences (May 4, 2010). PIER Working Paper No. 10-031, Available at SSRN: or

Andrew Postlewaite (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7350 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)


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