Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Conformist Preferences in Mixed-Motive Games

Naef, Michael and Sontuoso, Alessandro (2015): Conformist Preferences in Mixed-Motive Games.

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We examine a novel class of conformist preferences which falls within the realm of belief-dependent motivations in that the peers’ expectations about others’ behavior may affect every group-member’s welfare. Similar other-regarding motivations, like guilt-aversion, have been inferred from evidence of a belief-behavior correlation but the issue of causality has been disputed. In examining conformism we propose a design that verifies the presence of the relevant causality direction while ruling out alternative other-regarding motivations. Our data reveal “self-servingly conformist” behavior in that subjects choose to match their strategy to the peers’ expectations when it is in their interest to do so.

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