Giulia Andrighetto (ISCT, Rome)
19 February 2020 @ 14:00 - 15:30
“Norm Emergence and Change in a Collective-risk Social Dilemma”
Abstract: Social norms are key to solving some of the most pressing contemporary societal challenges. From climate change, ecosystem and habitat destruction, to the spread of infectious diseases due to the lack of herd immunization. While laws, treaties and other formal mechanisms are necessary to address these global issues, they are not always sufficient to reach desirable social outcomes. That is when social norms become essential. If conditions are right, poor and destructive norms may disappear and new norms may emerge, which motivate people to act against their self-interest and cooperate for the good of the collective. Despite their importance, evidence on the causal effect of social norms on behavior and on their role in promoting cooperation is still limited.
We use a 30 day lab-in-the-field experiment to study how social norms emerge and change in a collective-risk social dilemma, in which a group of individuals needs to cooperate to reach a common target, in order to avoid the risk of collective loss arising from, e.g., dangerous climate change or global epidemics spread. Our results provide evidence for the causal effect of social norms in promoting cooperative behavior in collective-risk social dilemmas and for their role in making behavior resilient to change.