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social norms

H. Peyton Young
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
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Abstract

The function of a social norm is to coordinate people's expectations in interactions that possess multiple equilibria. Norms govern a wide range of phenomena, including property rights, contracts, bargains, forms of communication, and concepts of justice. Norms impose uniformity of behaviour within a given social group, but often vary substantially among groups. Over time norm shifts may occur, prompted either by changes in objective circumstances or by subjective changes in perceptions and expectations. The dynamics of this process can be modelled using evolutionary game theory, which predicts that some norms are more stable than others in the long run.
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How to cite this article

Young, H. Peyton. "social norms." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 22 August 2014 <http://www.dictionaryofeconomics.com/article?id=pde2008_S000466> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.1563

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