Signaling About Norms: Socialization Under Strategic Uncertainty

32 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018

See all articles by Silvia Sonderegger

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

We consider a signaling model in which adults possess information about the dominant social norm. Children want to conform to whatever norm is dominant but, lacking accurate information, take the observed behavior of their parents as representative. We show that this causes a signaling distortion in adult behavior, even in the absence of conflicts of interest. Parents adopt attitudes that encourage their children to behave in a socially safe way (i.e., the way that would be optimal under maximum uncertainty about the prevailing social norm). We discuss applications to sexual attitudes, collective reputation, and trust.

Keywords: Complementarities, conformity, cultural transmission, signaling, social norms

Suggested Citation

Sonderegger, Silvia, Signaling About Norms: Socialization Under Strategic Uncertainty (July 2018). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 120, Issue 3, pp. 685-716, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3210986 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12240

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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