Chapter

The Influence of the Reference Group on our Norms

Bernard Van Praag

in Happiness Quantified

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226146
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191718595 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226146.003.0008
The Influence of the Reference Group on our Norms

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This chapter examines the premise that in addition to lifetime experiences, an individual's reference group will have an impact on his or her norms and behaviour. Two cases are considered. In the first case, the person's reference group is known, such as people of the same age, education, and job type. In the second case, the person's reference group is not known beforehand, and the reference group is estimated based on the person's norms on income. The reference group is described by a social-filter model, which assigns much weight to persons who are ‘nearby’ and less to those ‘far away’, socially speaking.

Keywords: norms; behaviour; social filter model; lifetime experiences

Chapter.  8686 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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