Norm conformity across societies

Moti Michaeli, Daniel Spiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies the aggregate distribution of declared opinions and behavior when heterogeneous individuals make the trade-off between being true to their private opinions and conforming to a social norm. The model sheds light on how various sanctioning regimes induce conformity and by whom, and on phenomena such as societal polarization and unimodal concentration. In strict societies, individuals will tend to either fully conform to the social norm or totally ignore it, while individuals in liberal societies will tend to compromise between these two extremes. Furthermore, the degree of strictness determines whether those who nearly agree with the norm or those who strongly disagree with it will conform. The degree of liberalism similarly determines which individuals will compromise the most. A number of empirical predictions, and several methods of how to test them, are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Public Economics
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • Conformity
  • Liberal
  • Social pressure
  • Strict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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