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When do Formal Rules and Informal Norms Converge?

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We propose evolutionary dynamics to show how rules converge into norms. Individuals play a game of upholding or rejecting a rule, and the more they uphold the rule, the more it becomes established as a norm. We find that when individuals are rational, the initial state determines whether the rule converges into a norm; when individuals are boundedly rational, convergence occurs only if upholding rules is a risk-dominant strategy. This suggests why big-bang reforms that affect only the initial state can fail, while gradualist approaches that can sustain the risk dominance of upholding rules may be more effective.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2011

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  • Founded as Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft in 1844.

    As one of the oldest journals in the field of political economy, the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) deals traditionally with the problems of economics, social policy, and their legal framework. JITE is listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, the Social Science Citation Index, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, and COREJ.

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    From 2013 on all accepted articles are published in an Online First version (in their final layout) to make them searchable and citable by their DOI immediately after peer review and acceptance. Once the article is published in an issue of the journal, the Online First version will be removed.

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