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Naïve Beliefs and the Multiplicity of Social Norms

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Abstract

In a signalling model of conformity, we demonstrate that naïve observers, those that take actions at face value, constrain the set of actions that can possibly be social norms. With rational observers many actions can be norms, but with naïve observers only actions close to that preferred by the ideal type can be norms. We suggest, therefore, that the naïvety or inexperience of observers is an important determinant of norms and how they evolve.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-289
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics JITE
Volume168
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Peer-reviewedYes

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