In the economics literature on “social customs” it is usually assumed that the individual can choose only whether or not to obey any given social norm, and that (exogenous) social sanctions influence such decisions. However, it must be recognised that the individual decides also the informal punishment to be inflicted upon those who violate society’s norms. The present paper takes such aspect into account and singles out, by means of a simple model, some behavioural hypotheses able to produce an overall sanctioning level that would maintain respect of norms as an equilibrium state. The analysis concludes with study of one possible dynamic evolution of the model showing the maintenance of several equilibria with social norms.
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