- Posted by Beatrice
- On 06/10/2018
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via delle Pandette 9
Tuesday, 28 January 2019
Cédric Paternotte (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
The rise and fall of unpopular norms
Abstract: Unpopular norms, often discussed under the label of ‘pluralistic ignorance’, are intuitively puzzling: they are established in a community although no one wants to follow them. Classical examples include foot binding, binge drinking, norms of vendetta, etc. How do we explain their appearance and stability? While a number of works on this topic exist, all fail to simultaneously explain two key features of pluralistic ignorance : it arises gradually but often disappears suddenly. I argue that the main difficulty in modelling unpopular norms precisely consists in reconciling those seemingly opposite demands – because slow appearance presupposes a kind of stability that fast disappearance seems to exclude. I investigate the rise and fall of unpopular norms through a multi-agent simulation, in which agents gradually learn about their environment and have not one but two kinds of partly linked but distinct expectations : empirical expectations (about how one thinks others behave) and normative expectations (about how one thinks others want one to behave). In such a model, the gradual appearance of an unpopular norm becomes compatible with its sudden disappearance.