Norms in Behavioral Interventions: Peer or Anchoring Effects?
21 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2018 Last revised: 13 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 11, 2019
Descriptive information of peers’ behavior is used to nudge individuals to behave according to a norm. Yet, since such descriptive information is often a quantitative metric, it is possible that the behavioral change is due to anchoring. We disentangle peer and anchoring effects, and test boundary conditions in two experimental studies with a retirement saving contribution rate scenario. In study 1, we find a strong similarity between a peer and anchoring 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.
Keywords: Social Norms, Peer Effects, Heuristics, Anchoring, Financial Decision-making, Consumer Behavior, Financial Services
JEL Classification: D14, D91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation