Norm Manipulation, Norm Evasion: Experimental Evidence

39 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2012

See all articles by Cristina Bicchieri

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania

Alex K. Chavez

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Psychology

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

Using an economic bargaining game, we tested for the existence of two phenomena related to social norms, namely norm manipulation – the selection of an interpretation of the norm that best suits an individual – and norm evasion – the deliberate, private violation of a social norm. We found that the manipulation of a norm of fairness was characterized by a self-serving bias in beliefs about what constituted normatively acceptable behavior, so that an individual who made an uneven bargaining offer genuinely believed it was fair, even though recipients of the offer considered it to be unfair. In contrast, norm evasion operated as a highly explicit process. When they could do so without the recipient’s knowledge, individuals made uneven offers despite knowing that their behavior was unfair.

Keywords: social norms, normative expectations, ultimatum games, fairness

JEL Classification: A12, A13, B40, C91

Suggested Citation

Bicchieri, Cristina and Chavez, Alex K., Norm Manipulation, Norm Evasion: Experimental Evidence (November 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2165126 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2165126

Cristina Bicchieri (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-5820 (Phone)

Alex K. Chavez

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Psychology ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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