The Emergence of Norms from Conflicts over Just Distributions

Jena Economic Research Papers 2011/4/4

29 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013

See all articles by Fabian Winter

Fabian Winter

Max-Planck-Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Heiko Rauhut

University of Zurich

Luis M. Miller

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics

Date Written: April 4, 2011

Abstract

Why is it that well-intentioned actions can create persistent conflicts? While norms are widely regarded as a source for cooperation, this article proposes a novel theory in which the emergence of norms can be understood as a bargaining process in which normative conflicts explain the nally emerging norm. The theory is tested with a dynamical experiment on conflicts over the consideration of equality,eff ort or efficiency for the distribution of joint earnings. Normative conflict is measured by the number of rejected o ffers in a recursive bargaining game. The emerging normative system is analyzed by feedback cycles between micro- and macro-level. It is demonstrated that more normative cues cause more normative conflict. Further, under the structural conditions of either simple or complex situations, the convergence towards a simple and widely shared norm is likely. In contrast, in moderately complex situations, convergence is unlikely and several equally reasonable norms co-exist. The findings are discussed with respect to the integration of sociological conflict theory with the bargaining concept in economic theory.

Keywords: social norms, normative conflict, bargaining, cooperation, experiment

JEL Classification: Z113, C91, D63

Suggested Citation

Winter, Fabian and Rauhut, Heiko and Miller, Luis M., The Emergence of Norms from Conflicts over Just Distributions (April 4, 2011). Jena Economic Research Papers 2011/4/4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2248663 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2248663

Fabian Winter (Contact Author)

Max-Planck-Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt Schumacher Str 10
Bonn, 53113
Germany

Heiko Rauhut

University of Zurich ( email )

Andreasstrasse 15
8050 Zurich, CH-8050
Switzerland
+41 44 635 23 54 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.suz.uzh.ch/rauhut.html

Luis M. Miller

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Economics ( email )

Kahlaische Strasse 10
D-07745 Jena, 07745
Germany

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