Thought for tomorrow

When status is sufficiently important relative to intrinsic utility, many individuals conform to a single, homogeneous standard of behavior, despite heterogeneous underlying preferences. They are willing to conform because they recognize that even small departures from the social norm will seriously impair their status. The fact that society harshly censures all nonconformists is not simply assumed (indeed, status varies smoothly with perceived type); rather, it is produced endogenously.

————– Bernheim, B. Douglas. Journal of Political Economy, 1994, vol. 102, no. 5

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