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Objective and subjective compliance: a norm-based explanation of 'moral wiggle room'

Spiekermann, Kai and Weiss, Arne (2016) Objective and subjective compliance: a norm-based explanation of 'moral wiggle room'. Games and Economic Behavior, 96. pp. 170-183. ISSN 0899-8256

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geb.2015.11.007

Abstract

We propose a cognitive-dissonance model of norm compliance to identify conditions for selfishly biased information acquisition. The model distinguishes between: (i) objective norm compliers, for whom the right action is a function of the state of the world; (ii) subjective norm compliers, for whom it is a function of their belief. The former seek as much information as possible; the latter acquire only information that lowers, in expected terms, normative demands. The source of 'moral wiggle room' is not belief manipulation, but the coarseness of normative prescriptions under conditions of uncertainty. In a novel experimental setup, we find evidence for such strategic information uptake. Our results suggest that attempts to change behavior by subjecting individuals to norms can lead to biased information acquisition instead of compliance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/games-and-economi...
Additional Information: © 2015 Elsevier Inc.
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics
JEL classification: C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C9 - Design of Experiments > C91 - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Sets: Departments > Government
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 16:05
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2019 02:10
Funders: University of Erfurt, London School of Economics
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/64643

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