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When making political and economic decisions (e.g., voting, donating money to a cause), individuals consider the expectations of groups with which they identify. These expectations are injunctive norms, shared beliefs about appropriate behavior for identity group members, and individuals' choices reflect trade‐offs between adherence to these norms and other preferences. We show that when those who identify moderately/strongly with the group pay a cost as a consequence of avoiding a norm violation, they subsequently view the norms as stronger than those that paid no cost. This is evident in their greater willingness to pay an additional cost to punish/reward other group members for violating/complying with the norm. They also view other norms associated with the identity as stronger. In this way, costly norm compliance may be self‐reinforcing.


This is the accepted version of the following article:

Pickup, M. A., Kimbrough, E. O., & de Rooij, E. A. (2019). Identity and the self‐reinforcing effects of norm compliance. Southern Economic Journal, 86(3), 1222-1240.

which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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Southern Economic Association

Available for download on Monday, November 15, 2021