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Indiana University Bloomington


The Kelley Advantage

The department is home to the authors of Managerial Economics and Business Strategy and Games and Information: An Introduction to Game Theory, two of the nation’s leading textbooks in the field.

Research and Publications

Journal Articles

Creating and Enforcing Norms, with Special Reference to Sanctions

1999, International Review of Law and Economics

Richard Posner, Eric Bennett Rasmusen


Two central puzzles about social norms are now they are enforced and how they are created or modified. The sanctions for the violation of a norm can be categorized as automatic, guilt, shame, informational, bilateral-costly, and multilateral-costly. Problems in creating and modifying norms are related to which sanctions are employed. We use our analysis of enforcement and creation of norms to analyze the scope of feasible government action either to promote desirable norms or to repress undesirable ones.


Rasmusen, Eric Bennett and Richard Posner (1999), "Creating and Enforcing Norms, with Special Reference to Sanctions," International Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 19, No. 3, September, 369-382.


See also Chapter 9,"Social Norms, with a Note on Religion," in Frontiers of Legal Theory, edited by Richard Posner, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (2001).