With the return of CESS’s in-person activities, we are additionally enthused for the return of CESS’s visiting scholars. In the past, CESS has done its best to enrich Oxford life by inviting prominent and rising experimental researchers to share their current research and develop new projects with Oxford members. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce our upcoming visiting scholar: Eugen Dimant.
Eugen is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Behavioral and Decision Science at the Identity and Conflict Lab, and the Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania.
Eugen will join us to present his work and colloborate with Oxford members from August 1-20 (see below to learn more about the work he plans to present during his visit).
“Strategic Behavior with Tight, Loose, and Polarized Norms”
A large body of literature has shown that social norms can be a powerful driver of human actions, and norm interventions often focus on shifting beliefs about average or majoritarian behavior. This work addresses a less studied aspect of norms, namely the role that their strength, tightness, and degree of polarization play. In the context of strategic decisionmaking, we investigate both theoretically and empirically how behavior responds to different distributions of one’s peers’ behavior. We focus on the difference between tight (i.e., characterized by low behavioral variance), loose (i.e., characterized by high behavioral variance), and polarized (i.e., characterized by U-shaped behavior) norm environments. Our results show that in addition to the mean, the variance, and shape of the observed behavior matter. In particular, we find that variance in observed behavior begets variance in one’s own behavior. Tight, loose, and polarized norms are thus self-sustaining. In addition, we find that personal values matter more for behavior in loose and polarized norm environments.
If you would like to meet Eugen during his visit or would like to attend his talk, please contact Noah.Bacine@nuffield.ox.ac.uk.