School of Economics

2005 Discussion Papers

School of Economics Discussion Paper 05/01
January 2005

On the Emergence of Social Conformity
Edward Cartwright

School of Economics
University of Kent at Canterbury

Abstract

We consider a dynamic model of conformity that permits both a conformist and non-conformist equilibrium. We provide conditions under which conformity can 'invade' a population. More precisely, starting from a non-conformist equilibrium, we show that the conformity of an arbitrarily small proportion of the population can lead to the spread of conformism and the ultimate emergence of the conformist equilibrium. This occurs independently of whether or not the non-conformist equilibrium Pareto dominates the conformist equilibrium.

JEL Classification: C70, D01, C72

Keywords: Conformity, best reply, coordination, norm.

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