On the Stability of Norms and Norm-Following Propensity: A Cross-Cultural Panel Study with Adolescents

46 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2022

See all articles by Erik O. Kimbrough

Erik O. Kimbrough

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics; Chapman University - Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy

Erin L. Krupka

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Rajnish Kumar

Queen's University Management School

Jennifer Murray

Queen's University Belfast

Abhijit Ramalingam

Appalachian State University - Department of Economics

Sharon Sánchez-Franco

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Olga Lucía Sarmiento

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Frank Kee

Queen's University Belfast

Ruth Hunter

Queen's University Belfast

Date Written: February 1, 2022

Abstract

Norm-based accounts of social behavior are increasingly common in economics. In such accounts, behavior is seen as reflecting tradeoffs between maximization of own consumption utility and conformity to social norms. Theories of norm-following tend to assume that a) there exists a single, stable, commonly known injunctive social norm for a given choice setting and b) each person has a stable propensity to follow social norms. We collect panel data on 1468 participants aged 11-15 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Bogotá, Colombia in which we measure norms and norm-following propensity twice at 10 weeks apart, and we show how to exploit variation in shared normative perceptions to extend our understanding of the extent to which norms are shared, stable, and can be predicted to change. Average norm ratings are consistent with norms elicited from other adult populations, but there is significant heterogeneity in normative perceptions that is concealed when only looking at aggregated norm measurements. We also show that individuals’ perceptions of norms enjoy some stability over time, and that a major predictor of change in normative perception comes from dissimilarity to others in one’s network. Perhaps most importantly, we demonstrate how researchers might engage with this heterogeneity in normative perceptions by identifying classes of norm perceptions (e.g. a deontological equality norm or a consequentialist generosity norm) and asking how those classes can be used to deepen our understanding of norm emergence and norm change.

Keywords: C93, D01, D91

JEL Classification: norms, experimental economics, heterogeneity

Suggested Citation

Kimbrough, Erik O. and Krupka, Erin L. and Kumar, Rajnish and Murray, Jennifer and Ramalingam, Abhijit and Sánchez-Franco, Sharon and Sarmiento, Olga Lucía and Kee, Frank and Hunter, Ruth, On the Stability of Norms and Norm-Following Propensity: A Cross-Cultural Panel Study with Adolescents (February 1, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4025407 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4025407

Erik O. Kimbrough (Contact Author)

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

One University Dr
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Chapman University - Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Erin L. Krupka

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Rajnish Kumar

Queen's University Management School ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland

Jennifer Murray

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

Abhijit Ramalingam

Appalachian State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/abhijitramalingam/

Sharon Sánchez-Franco

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Olga Lucía Sarmiento

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Frank Kee

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

Ruth Hunter

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

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