European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 127–146 | Cite as

Predicting norm enforcement: the individual and joint predictive power of economic preferences, personality, and self-control

  • Tim FrieheEmail author
  • Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch


This paper explores the individual and joint predictive power of concepts from economics, psychology, and criminology for individual norm enforcement behavior. More specifically, we consider economic preferences (patience and attitudes towards risk), personality traits from psychology (Big Five and locus of control), and a self-control scale from criminology. Using survey data, we show that the various concepts complement each other in predicting self-reported norm enforcement behavior. The most significant predictors stem from all three disciplines: stronger risk aversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism as well as higher levels of self-control increase an individual’s willingness to enforce norms. Taking a broader perspective, our results illustrate that integrating concepts from different disciplines may enhance our understanding of heterogeneity in individual behavior.


Norm enforcement Economic preferences Personality traits Self-control 

JEL Classification

K42 D81 D90 C21 Z02 



Financial support from SFB-TR 15 that did not influence study design, data analysis or interpretation. We gratefully acknowledge helpful comments from Fabian Kosse and two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Economics GroupUniversity of MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.CESifoMunichGermany
  3. 3.EconomiXParisFrance
  4. 4.DICEHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  5. 5.IZABonnGermany

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