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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.


'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.'

Source: 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.'

Source: Economics and Philosophy

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