FATAS, E., HARGREAVES HEAP, S.P. and ROJO ARJONA, D., 2018. Preference conformism: An experiment. European Economic Review, 105, pp.71-82.
This paper reports on an experiment designed to test whether people's preferences change to become more alike. Such preference conformism would be worrying for an economics that takes individual preferences as given (‘de gustibus es non disputandum’). So the test is important. But it is also difficult. People can behave alike for many reasons and the key to the design of our test, therefore, is the control of the other possible reasons for observing apparent peer effects. We find evidence of preference conformism in the aggregate and at the individual level (where there is heterogeneity). It appears also to be more consistent with Festinger's epistemic account of why it might occur than that of Social Identity Theory.
This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Fatas and Hargreaves Heap’s work was supported by the Economic and Social Science Research Council through the Network for Integrated Behavioural Science (Grant reference ES/K002201/1). Funding from the Economic Science Institute and the Department of Political Economy, King’s College London is gratefully acknowledged.