Social Norms, Efficiency and Equity

Project: Research

Project Details


Social norms, including moral norms (norms whose abidance is achieved through internal reward and sanction mechanisms), are an essential component of a society's specific culture. A difficult question is the extent to which one can explain varying growth performances in terms of the countries' normative endowments. Social norms can either promote or hinder growth and progress, and they can either promote or undermine social justice and fairness. Since they tend to be less liable to change rapidly than economic and social policies, and are not easy to manipulated by central authorities, the question of the determinants of their evolution is a critical one. The research project addresses these issues by considering the role of social norms, their impact on efficiency and equity, and the determinants of their transformation in a number of specific contexts:

- Norms regarding honest behaviour as a condition for the effective enforcement of contracts and property rights;
- Sharing norms that involve suspicions about unchecked individual capital accumulation;
- Gender-based norms prescribing particular ways of allocating resources within the household;
- Identity-promoting norms that emphasize particularistic affiliations, whether ethnic or religious.
Effective start/end date1/09/05 → …


  • Efficiency and Equity
  • Social Norms


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