Does the peer matter? If so, then when? Peer effects on sharing norms and behavior

Berk, Galip Cem
We conduct two separate lab experiments to examine the effect of peers on both sharing norms and behavior. To measure social norms in sharing behavior, we used a monetary incentivized method that uses simple coordination games in which second-order beliefs are elicited. To compare actual behavior with elicited norms, we conduct an experiment in which a set of dictator games is used. Different from previous studies, we examine the effect of peers in multiple cases where the decision-maker has an opportunity to provide fair allocation between herself and the one in need. Results from the norm elicitation experiment show that scale manipulation matters in terms of perception of the norms across fair distribution opportunities. Although we do not find any linear relationship between peer transfers and transfers made by the decision-maker in terms of normative views, it is found that peer transfers increase the appropriateness of an action that enables decision-maker to provide fair allocation for all parties, including the peer. These normative suggestions are only partially observed in actual behavior. The individual-level heterogeneity explains this discrepancy. With the use of a novel model to explain actual behavior observed in our study, it is found that the source of heterogeneous preferences for norm-driven behavior is the differences in selfish preferences of subjects across the games.


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Citation Formats
G. C. Berk, “Does the peer matter? If so, then when? Peer effects on sharing norms and behavior,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.