L-worlds. The curious preference for low quality and its norms

Abstract : We investigate a phenomenon which we have experienced as common when dealing with an assortment of Italian public and private institutions: people promise to exchange high quality goods and services (H), but then something goes wrong and the quality delivered is lower than promised (L). While this is perceived as ‘cheating' by outsiders, insiders seem not only to adapt but to rely on this outcome. They do not resent low quality exchanges, in fact they seem to resent high quality ones, and are inclined to ostracise and avoid dealing with agents who deliver high quality. This equilibrium violates the standard preference ranking associated to the prisoner's dilemma and similar games, whereby self-interested rational agents prefer to dish out low quality in exchange for high quality. While equally ‘lazy', agents in our L-worlds are nonetheless oddly ‘pro-social': to the advantage of maximizing their raw self-interest, they prefer to receive low quality provided that they too can in exchange deliver low quality without embarrassment. They develop a set of oblique social norms to sustain their preferred equilibrium when threatened by intrusions of high quality. We argue that cooperation is not always for the better: high quality collective outcomes are not only endangered by self-interested individual defectors, but by ‘cartels' of mutually satisfied mediocrities.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Oxford Series of Working Papers in Linguistics, 2009, pp.1, 23
Liste complète des métadonnées

Littérature citée [15 références]  Voir  Masquer  Télécharger

https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00436655
Contributeur : Gloria Origgi <>
Soumis le : vendredi 27 novembre 2009 - 13:06:14
Dernière modification le : mardi 24 avril 2018 - 17:20:08
Document(s) archivé(s) le : jeudi 17 juin 2010 - 18:37:04

Identifiants

  • HAL Id : ijn_00436655, version 1

Collections

Citation

Diego Gambetta, Gloria Origgi. L-worlds. The curious preference for low quality and its norms. Oxford Series of Working Papers in Linguistics, 2009, pp.1, 23. 〈ijn_00436655〉

Partager

Métriques

Consultations de la notice

832

Téléchargements de fichiers

3804