Special Issue "Social Norms and Games"

A special issue of Games (ISSN 2073-4336).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Daniele Nosenzo

School of Economics, University of Nottingham, University Park
Website | E-Mail
Interests: behavioral and experimental economics;social norm compliance; truth-telling; positive and negative incentives
Guest Editor
Dr. Silvia Sonderegger

School of Economics, University of Nottingham, University Park
Website | E-Mail
Interests: information economics; applied game theory, norms; theoretical models of parent-child interactions;endogenous preferences; theory of incentives; theory of contracts;industrial economics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One prominent approach to the understanding of social behaviour, that is increasingly attracting economists’ attention, relies on the concept of social norms compliance: human beings have an intrinsic preference to conform to what is collectively perceived as “socially appropriate” behaviour in a given context, and are willing to sacrifice material gain in order to choose actions that are viewed as appropriate and to avoid inappropriate actions. Crucially, what constitutes appropriate behaviour depends on, and can systematically be affected by, social and contextual influences.

Despite a long tradition of research on norms in philosophy, sociology and social psychology, this approach has received relatively little attention in economics. Recently, economists have renewed their interest in norms, attempting to formalise their theoretical underpinnings and measure their predictive power. However, substantial gaps remain in our understanding of norms and their influence on social behaviour, leaving scope for significant advancements of the knowledge frontier in this field.

This Special Issue is intended to encourage these developments. We list below further keywords that may help to identify suitable topics for the Special Issue. Papers may be theoretical or empirical. To support open, reproducible research, empirical papers should include a power analysis and make all data available on publication.

Dr. Daniele Nosenzo
Dr. Silvia Sonderegger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Games is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • social norms
  • norm formation
  • norm compliance
  • norm transmission
  • morality
  • game theory
  • experimental economics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Call to Action: Intrinsic Motives and Material Interests
Games 2018, 9(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040092 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
We provide a game-theoretic account of endogenous intrinsic motivation within a principal–agent framework. We explore the incentives of an altruistic principal who, by exerting costly effort, can intrinsically motivate a present-biased agent to exhibit a direct preference for more far-sighted behaviour. We characterize
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We provide a game-theoretic account of endogenous intrinsic motivation within a principal–agent framework. We explore the incentives of an altruistic principal who, by exerting costly effort, can intrinsically motivate a present-biased agent to exhibit a direct preference for more far-sighted behaviour. We characterize the conditions under which this happens. We show that allowing for endogenous intrinsic motivation generates interesting interplays between exogenous economic incentives and endogenous motivation, including the possibility of crowding out. Our model can be applied in a wide variety of contexts, including public policy, self-control, and cultural transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
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Open AccessArticle From Social Information to Social Norms: Evidence from Two Experiments on Donation Behaviour
Games 2018, 9(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040091
Received: 22 August 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 4 November 2018
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Abstract
While preferences for conformity are commonly seen as an important driver of pro-social behaviour, only a small set of previous studies has explicitly tested the behavioural mechanisms underlying this proposition. In this paper, we report on two interconnected experimental studies that jointly provide
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While preferences for conformity are commonly seen as an important driver of pro-social behaviour, only a small set of previous studies has explicitly tested the behavioural mechanisms underlying this proposition. In this paper, we report on two interconnected experimental studies that jointly provide a more thorough and robust understanding of a causal mechanism that links social information (i.e., information about the generosity of others) to donations via changing the perception of a descriptive social norm. In a modified dictator game, Experiment 1 re-investigates this mechanism adding further robustness to prior results by eliciting choices from a non-student sample and by implementing an additional treatment that controls for potential anchoring effects implied by the methods used in previous investigations. Experiment 2 adds further robustness by investigating the link between social information, (descriptive) norm perception and giving at the individual, rather than the group average, level. We find that an exogenous variation of social information influences beliefs about others’ contributions (descriptive social norm) and, through this channel, actual giving. An exploratory analysis indicates that this causal relationship is differently pronounced among the two sexes. We rule out anchoring effects as a plausible confound in previous investigations. The key findings carry over to the individual level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
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Open AccessArticle Do Economists Punish Less?
Games 2018, 9(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040075
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 28 September 2018 / Published: 30 September 2018
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Abstract
A number of studies discuss whether and how economists differ from other disciplines in the amount that they contribute to public goods. We view this debate as incomplete because it neglects the willingness to sanction non-cooperative behavior, which is crucial for maintaining social
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A number of studies discuss whether and how economists differ from other disciplines in the amount that they contribute to public goods. We view this debate as incomplete because it neglects the willingness to sanction non-cooperative behavior, which is crucial for maintaining social order and for sustaining the provision of public goods. We study the decision whether to engage in costly punishment of a free rider in a survey-based experiment with 1423 students from seven study areas in the social sciences, as well as medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark. Using a dictator game and a social dilemma game, that captures essential features of the public goods game, we replicate previous findings that economics students give significantly less than students from other disciplines. However, when subjects decide whether or not to punish a free rider, we find that economics students are just as likely to punish as students from other disciplines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
Open AccessArticle Unequal Incentives and Perceived Fairness in Groups
Games 2018, 9(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9030071
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 12 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
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Abstract
Incentives shape how much people contribute to the welfare of a group. These incentives do not restrict the opportunities but they change the costs of contributions. This paper studies how the random assignment of such incentives affects perceived distributive justice among group members.
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Incentives shape how much people contribute to the welfare of a group. These incentives do not restrict the opportunities but they change the costs of contributions. This paper studies how the random assignment of such incentives affects perceived distributive justice among group members. Do people consider differences in incentives similar to unequal opportunities, that is, situations in which some people have a lower chance to make a high contribution? The results from a real effort experiment show that the economic framing of incentives matters in this context. If some people do not work for the common good because of rather large private costs, they appreciate these ‘negative incentives’ similarly to unequal opportunities. They do not do so, and become less egalitarian, if lower effort for the group increases the chance for private gains (‘positive incentives’). Interestingly, participants reward group members who do not limit their expected contributions to the group despite adverse incentives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
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Open AccessArticle Favoritism and Fairness in Teams
Games 2018, 9(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9030065
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 1 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
We experimentally study how people resolve a tension between favoritism and fairness when allocating a profit in a team production setting. Past research shows that people tend to favor their ingroup at the cost of an outgroup when allocating a given amount of
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We experimentally study how people resolve a tension between favoritism and fairness when allocating a profit in a team production setting. Past research shows that people tend to favor their ingroup at the cost of an outgroup when allocating a given amount of money. However, when the money to be allocated depends on joint production, we find that most players allocate proportionally according to others’ relative contributions, irrespective of their social identity affiliations. We discuss the implications of our findings on how distributive norms could shape team cooperation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
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Open AccessArticle On the Spatial Diffusion of Cooperation with Endogenous Matching Institutions
Games 2018, 9(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9030058
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
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Abstract
This paper studies the spatial joint evolution of cooperative behavior and a partially assortative matching institution that protects cooperators. We consider cooperation as characterized by a cultural trait transmitted via an endogenous socialization mechanism and we assume that such trait can diffuse randomly
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This paper studies the spatial joint evolution of cooperative behavior and a partially assortative matching institution that protects cooperators. We consider cooperation as characterized by a cultural trait transmitted via an endogenous socialization mechanism and we assume that such trait can diffuse randomly in space due to some spatial noise in the socialization mechanism. Using mathematical techniques from reaction-diffusion equations theory, we show that, under some conditions, an initially localized domain of preferences for cooperation can invade the whole population and characterize the asymptotic speed of diffusion. We consider first the case with exogenous assortativeness, and then endogeneize the degree of social segmentation in matching, assuming that it is collectively set at each point of time and space by the local community. We show how relatively low cost segmenting institutions can appear in new places thanks to the spatial random diffusion of cooperation, helping a localized cultural cluster of cooperation to invade the whole population. The endogenous assortative matching institution follows a life cycle process: appearing, growing and then disappearing once a culture of cooperation is sufficiently established in the local population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Norms and Games)
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