Social Proximity and the Erosion of Norm Compliance

91 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2021 Last revised: 13 Sep 2021

See all articles by Cristina Bicchieri

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania; CESifo

Simon Gaechter

University of Nottingham; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Daniele Nosenzo

University of Nottingham

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 11, 2021

Abstract

We study how compliance with norms of pro-social behavior is influenced by peers' compliance in a dynamic and non-strategic experimental setting. We show that social proximity among peers is a crucial determinant of the effect. Without social proximity, norm compliance erodes swiftly because participants only conform to observed norm violations while ignoring norm compliance. With social proximity, participants conform to both types of observed behaviors, thus halting the erosion of compliance. Our findings stress the importance of the broader social context for norm compliance and show that, even in the absence of social sanctions, norm compliance can be sustained in repeated interactions, provided there is group identification, as is the case in many natural and online environments.

Keywords: Norm Compliance, Social Norms, Social Proximity

JEL Classification: C92, D64, D9

Suggested Citation

Bicchieri, Cristina and Dimant, Eugen and Gachter, Simon and Nosenzo, Daniele, Social Proximity and the Erosion of Norm Compliance (September 11, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3355028 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3355028

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-5820 (Phone)

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/eugendimant/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich
Germany

Simon Gachter

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Daniele Nosenzo

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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