nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒10‒07
four papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Do Injunctive or Descriptive Social Norms Elicited Using Coordination Games Better Explain Social Preferences? By Schmidt, Robert J.
  2. An evolutionary Cournot oligopoly model with imitators and perfect foresight best responders By Lorenzo, Cerboni Baiardi; Ahmad, Naimzada
  3. Law and Norms: Empirical Evidence By Tom Lane; Daniele Nosenzo
  4. Fraud Deterrence Institutions Reduce Intrinsic Honesty By Fabio Galeotti; Valeria Maggian; Marie Claire Villeval

  1. By: Schmidt, Robert J.
    Abstract: We experimentally study the relationship between social norms and social preferences on the individual level. Subjects coordinate on injunctive and descriptive norms, and we test which type of norm is more strongly related to behavior in a series of dictator games. Our experiment yields three insights. First, both injunctive and descriptive norms explain dictator behavior and recipients' guesses, but perceptions about descriptive social norms are behaviorally more relevant. Second, our findings corroborate that coordination games are a valid tool to elicit social norm perception on the subject level, as the individuals´ coordination choices are good predictors for their actual behavior. Third, average descriptive norms on the population level accurately predict behavior on the population level. This suggests that the elicitation of descriptive social norms using coordination games is a potentially powerful tool to predict behavior in settings that are otherwise difficult to explore.
    Keywords: injunctive social norms; descriptive social norms; social preferences; coordination
    Date: 2019–09–27
  2. By: Lorenzo, Cerboni Baiardi; Ahmad, Naimzada
    Abstract: We consider the competition among quantity setting players in a linear evolutionary environment. To set their outputs, players adopt, alternatively, the best response rule having perfect foresight or an imitative rule. Players are allowed to change their behavior through an evolutionary mechanism according to which the rule with better performance will attract more followers. The relevant stationary state of the model describes a scenario where players produce at the Cournot-Nash level. Due to the presence of imitative behavior, we find that the number of players and implementation costs, needed to the best response exploitation, have an ambiguous role in determining the stability properties of the equilibrium and double stability thresholds can be observed. Differently, the role of the intensity of choice, representing the evolutionary propensity to switch to the most profitable rule, has a destabilizing role, in line with the common occurrence in evolutionary models. The global analysis of the model reveals that increasing values of the intensity of choice parameter determine increasing dynamic complexities for the internal attractor representing a population where both decision mechanisms coexist.
    Keywords: Imitation, heterogeneity, evolutionary game, replicator dynamics, dynamic instability, dynamical systems
    Date: 2019–05
  3. By: Tom Lane (University of Nottingham Ningbo China); Daniele Nosenzo (University of Nottingham and Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER))
    Abstract: A large theoretical literature argues laws exert a causal effect on norms. This paper is the first to provide a clean empirical test of the proposition. Using an incentivized vignette experiment, we directly measure social norms relating to actions subject to legal thresholds. Results from three samples with around 800 subjects drawn from universities in the UK and China, and the UK general population, show laws often, but not always, influence norms. The strength of the effect varies across different scenarios, with some evidence that it is more powerful when law-breaking is more likely to be intentional and accurately measurable.
    Keywords: Social Norms; Law; Expressive Function of Law
    Date: 2019–08
  4. By: Fabio Galeotti (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE, UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France); Valeria Maggian (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Marie Claire Villeval (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE, UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France; IZA, Schaumburg-Lippe-Strasse 5-9, 53113 Bonn, Germany)
    Abstract: Deterrence institutions are widely used in modern societies to discourage rule violations but whether they have an impact beyond their immediate scope of application is usually ignored. Using a natural field experiment, we show that they affect intrinsic honesty across contexts. We identified fraudsters and non-fraudsters in public transport who were or not exposed to ticket inspections by the transport company. We then measured the intrinsic honesty of the same persons in a new unrelated context where they could misappropriate money. Instead of having an educative effect, the exposure to deterrence practices increases unethical behavior of fraudsters but also of non-fraudsters.
    Keywords: Deterrence Institutions, Intrinsic Honesty, Spillovers, Field Experiment
    JEL: C93 K42 D02 D91
    Date: 2019

This nep-evo issue is ©2019 by Matthew Baker. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.