Apffelstaedt, Arno, Freundt, Jana and Oslislo, Christoph (2022). Social norms and elections: How elected rules can make behavior (in)appropriate. J. Econ. Behav. Organ., 196. S. 148 - 178. AMSTERDAM: ELSEVIER. ISSN 1879-1751

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Can elections change people's ideas about what is ethically right and what is wrong? A number of recent observations suggest that social norms can change rapidly as a result of election outcomes. We explore this conjecture using a controlled online experiment. In our experiment, participants rate the social appropriateness of sharing income with poorer individuals. We compare the ratings for situations in which a rule has been elected that asks people to share with ratings when the elected rule asks people not to share. We also compare both situations with ratings in a decision environment in which there is no official rule at all. In the absence of an elected rule, sharing is widely considered socially appropriate, while not sharing is considered socially inappropriate. We show that elections can change this social norm: They shift the modal appropriateness perception of actions and, depending on the elected rule, increase their dispersion, i.e. erode previously existing consensus. As a result, actions previously judged socially inappropriate (not sharing) can become socially appropriate. This power prevails, albeit in a weakened form, even if the election process is flawed (introducing a voting fee or poll tax, bribing voters, disenfranchising poorer voters). An additional treatment suggests that both the social information contained in election results and the social appropriateness of following rules per se play a role in shifting social norms. (c) 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-671182
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.01.031
Journal or Publication Title: J. Econ. Behav. Organ.
Volume: 196
Page Range: S. 148 - 178
Date: 2022
Publisher: ELSEVIER
Place of Publication: AMSTERDAM
ISSN: 1879-1751
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
EXPRESSIVE LAW; WOMENMultiple languages
EconomicsMultiple languages
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/67118


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