Experimental Approaches to the Study of the Emergence of Social Norms

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 27 (Main Building)
RC45 Rational Choice (host committee)

Language: English

Social norms have always been a central concern in sociological scholarship, and many authors since Durkheim and Elias have profoundly enriched our understanding of social norms. In rational choice sociology, social norms are often conceived as solutions to cooperation and coordination problems arising in social dilemmas. While most sociological scholarship has taken social norms for granted, much less attention has been given to the emergence of social norms. There are many ways in which social norms can come to existence.
Social norms emerge through direct communication and bargaining between actors, diffusion processes triggered by so-called norm entrepreneurs, changes in relative prices due to taxes levied by the state or technological innovations, but also as unintended consequences of individuals’ behavior. Once established and consolidated by formal and informal sanctioning systems, social norms guide individuals’ behavior in small groups and society at large. It is therefore of great importance to understand how social norms emerge. 
While traditionally, sociological research has relied more on observational methods, experimental methods are increasingly advocated as a means of establishing more robust causal claims (e.g., Watts, 2014 in American Journal of Sociology 120[2]). Experimental approaches have proven to be particularly useful for examining micro-level assumptions of rational choice models, but also for systematically studying effects of macro-level factors such as social networks, social norms and institutions.
This session aims at bringing together scholars who have applied laboratory experiments, field experiments, online experiments or quasi-experimental approaches to the study of social dilemmas in general and social norm emergence in particular.
Session Organizers:
Rense CORTEN, Utrecht University, Netherlands and Wojtek PRZEPIORKA, University of Utrecht, Netherlands
“Take One for the Team!” Individual Heterogeneity and the Emergence of Latent Norms in a Volunteer's Dilemma
Andreas DIEKMANN, ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Wojtek PRZEPIORKA, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Jaywalking: The Relative Weight of Normative and Punitive Cues
Martina KROHER, Leibniz University Hanover, Germany
Identity Signaling in a Trust Game: Group Membership, Stereotypes, and Charitable Giving
Janine WEETING, University of Groningen/ ICS, Netherlands; Rafael WITTEK, University of Groningen/ICS, Netherlands; Russell SPEARS, University of Groningen, Netherlands; Andreas FLACHE, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands
Compliant and Oppositional Control in Norm Enforcement Institutions
Dieko BAKKER, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands; Jacob DIJKSTRA, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands; Andreas FLACHE, University of Groningen / ICS, Netherlands
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