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Comment on “The spreading of disorder”

By Benno Torgler


Keizer, Lindenberg and Steg (2008) conduct six interesting field experiments and report that their results provide evidence of the broken windows theory. Such an analysis is highly relevant as the (broken windows) theory is both controversial and lacking empirical support. Keizer et al.’s key aim was to conceptualize a disorderly setting in such a way that it is linked to a process of spreading norm violation. The strength of the study is the exploration of cross-norm inhibition effects in a controlled field experimental environment. Their results show that if norm violating behavior becomes more common, it negatively affects compliance in other areas. Nevertheless, this comment paper discusses several shortcomings or limitations and provides new empirical evidence that deals with these problems

Topics: 140206 Experimental Economics, 140299 Applied Economics not elsewhere classified, 149902 Ecological Economics, Field experiment, Environment, Litter, Disorder, Broken window theory
Publisher: Economics Bulletin
Year: 2010
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