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Norms in Behavioral Interventions: Peer or Anchoring Effects?

18 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2018  

Pieter Verhallen

Maastricht University - Department of Marketing

Elisabeth Brüggen

Maastricht University

Thomas Post

Maastricht University - School of Business and Economics - Department of Finance; Netspar

Gaby Odekerken-Schröder

Maastricht University

Date Written: January 8, 2018

Abstract

Descriptive information of peers’ behavior is often used to nudge individuals to behave according to a norm. We test whether effects found may be driven by anchoring or peer effects, and test boundary conditions in two mTurk-based experimental studies with a retirement saving contribution rate scenario. In study 1, we find a strong similarity between the anchoring and peer effect. In follow-up study 2, no anchoring effect is found when more extreme values (peer norms or anchors more distant from the control group behavior) are used, whereas the peer effect remains present. Furthermore, we find evidence that the informational component – as opposed to the normative component – of peer information plays a stronger role for peer effects. Lastly, we find that, when exposed to peer information, women consistently contribute more than the provided retirement contribution norm, whereas men do not.

Keywords: Social Norms, Peer Effects, Heuristics, Anchoring, Financial Decision-making, Consumer Behavior, Financial Services

JEL Classification: D14, D91

Suggested Citation

Verhallen, Pieter and Brüggen, Elisabeth and Post, Thomas and Odekerken-Schröder, Gaby, Norms in Behavioral Interventions: Peer or Anchoring Effects? (January 8, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3098028

Pieter Verhallen (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Department of Marketing ( email )

Maastricht NL, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Elisabeth Brüggen

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Thomas Post

Maastricht University - School of Business and Economics - Department of Finance ( email )

Tongersestraat 53
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
+31 43 38 83899 (Phone)
+31 43 38 84875 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.thomas-post.com

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.netspar.nl

Gaby Odekerken-Schröder

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

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