Danila Serra on Experiments on Rule Breaking

Speaker:  Danila Serra - Florida State University
  Monday, June 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM Aula C, Palazzo di Economia

Most individuals obey social norms out of fear of social disapproval and/or desire for social approval. Others obey social norms because the prescribed behavioral rules have been internalized and, hence, their violation generates intrinsic costs independent of the scrutiny of others. We experimentally investigate individuals’ propensities to break rules in order to enrich themselves at the expense of others. We consider three rule-breaking scenarios – theft, bribery and embezzlement – in the absence of any formal enforcement mechanism. By manipulating the extent to which rule breaking is observable to others, and to which “members of the community” can express informal approval and disapproval, we isolate the potential role that  social shaming and/or rewarding  might play in preventing rule-breaking  vis a vis internalized costs.


Programme Director
Luca Zarri

Publication date
February 1, 2012

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