Conforming to Group Norms: An Experimental Study

28 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2014

See all articles by Gautam Bose

Gautam Bose

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Evgenia Dechter

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Lorraine Ivancic

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Date Written: April 14, 2014

Abstract

There is substantial experimental and empirical evidence to suggest that individual behaviour in bilateral or small-group interactions is affected by social norms. Further, social norms vary according to context. Previous research largely focuses on norms of fairness, not norms per se. We design an experiment to decouple norm-adherence from fairness. We find that (a) a group norm evolves and individuals cluster more tightly around it as they learn the average behaviour of the group, (b) actions further from this norm in a self-serving direction are less acceptable by others, and (c) when an agent is moved to a group with a different norm, s/he conforms quickly to the new norm.

Keywords: group behaviour, norms, conformism, fairness, ultimatum game

JEL Classification: C72, C78, C92, Z13

Suggested Citation

Bose, Gautam and Dechter, Evgenia and Ivancic, Lorraine, Conforming to Group Norms: An Experimental Study (April 14, 2014). UNSW Australian School of Business Research Paper No. 2014-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2427573 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2427573

Gautam Bose (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Evgenia Dechter

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Lorraine Ivancic

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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