Identity and the Self-Reinforcing Effects of Norm Compliance

Southern Economic Journal. Forthcoming.

38 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2018 Last revised: 6 Sep 2019

See all articles by Mark Pickup

Mark Pickup

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Erik O. Kimbrough

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Eline A. de Rooij

University of Oxford

Date Written: August 23, 2019

Abstract

When making political and economic decisions (e.g. voting, donating money to a cause), individuals consider the expectations of groups with which they identify. These expectations are injunctive norms, shared beliefs about appropriate behavior for identity group members, and individuals’ choices reflect trade-offs between adherence to these norms and other preferences. We show that when those who identify moderately/strongly with the group pay a cost as a consequence of avoiding a norm violation, they subsequently view the norms as stronger than those that paid no cost. This is evident in their greater willingness to pay an additional cost to punish/reward other group members for violating/complying with the norm. They also view other norms associated with the identity as stronger. In this way, costly norm compliance may be self-reinforcing.

Keywords: norms, identity, punishment, reward

JEL Classification: C91, D72, D91

Suggested Citation

Pickup, Mark and Kimbrough, Erik O. and de Rooij, Eline A., Identity and the Self-Reinforcing Effects of Norm Compliance (August 23, 2019). Southern Economic Journal. Forthcoming., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3183931 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3183931

Mark Pickup

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Erik O. Kimbrough (Contact Author)

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Dr
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Eline A. De Rooij

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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