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The Grammar of Society
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  • Page extent: 278 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.58 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 306
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: HM676 .B53 2006
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Social norms

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521573726 | ISBN-10: 0521573726)

DOI: 10.2277/0521573726

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:17 GMT, 24 November 2015)


In The Grammar of Society, first published in 2006, Cristina Bicchieri examines social norms, such as fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity, in an effort to understand their nature and dynamics, the expectations that they generate, and how they evolve and change. Drawing on several intellectual traditions and methods, including those of social psychology, experimental economics and evolutionary game theory, Bicchieri provides an integrated account of how social norms emerge, why and when we follow them, and the situations where we are most likely to focus on relevant norms. Examining the existence and survival of inefficient norms, she demonstrates how norms evolve in ways that depend upon the psychological dispositions of the individual and how such dispositions may impair social efficiency. By contrast, she also shows how certain psychological propensities may naturally lead individuals to evolve fairness norms that closely resemble those we follow in most modern societies.

• A theory of social norms • A combination of experimental and modelling theoretical tools • An interdisciplinary study bringing together the best of different methods to study social norms


1. The rule we live by; 2. Habits of the mind; 3. A taste for fairness; 4. Covenants without sword; 5. Informational cascades and unpopular norms; 6. The evolution of a fairness norm.


'In this timely and accessible book, Cristina Bicchieri tries to capture the essential features of social norms. this is a laudable initiative because social scientists in different disciplines of ten apply different definitions.' De Economist

'A stimulating work for scholars in social psychology, experimental economics and evolutionary game theory, this book motivates unexplored streams of research and provides an integrated and testable account of the role of norms in strategic interactions.' Economics and Philosophy

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