MLSE Seminar: Alexander Vostroknutov

Date: Monday, October 28th

Presenter: Alexander Vostroknutov

Authors: Erik Kimbrough (Chapman University) and Alexander Vostroknutov (MPE, UM)

Title: Injunctive Norms and Moral Rules

Abstract: We show how the psychological notion of dissatisfaction can be used to build an axiomatic model of choice-set-dependent injunctive norms. In the accompanying paper (Kimbrough, Vostroknutov, 2019; http://www.vostroknutov.com/pdfs/axinorms12_02.pdf) we demonstrate that a functional representation obtained from these axioms has a large explanatory power in many types of experimental games. Therefore, the axioms provide a realistic description of a class of models of injunctive norms that can be used to predict social behavior. Nevertheless, it follows from the axioms that the relative normative valences of any fixed outcomes can be highly dependent on the other options available in the choice set. This makes such norms hard to compute, and may drive people to using moral rules instead of injunctive norms. A moral rule is a simple but relatively good approximation of normative valences in a specific class of games. With another set of axioms we show how to define choice-set-dependent moral rules like Pareto optimality, payoff efficiency, or different kinds of inequality aversion. By means of simulations, we compute the predictive power of these approximations in various classes of games. This methodology allows one to calculate which moral rule is likely to be used in some specific strategic situation, which is easily testable and can help to significantly improve our understanding of incentivized social behavior.