Conforming to Group Norms: An Experimental Study
28 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 14, 2014
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: Suggested Citation