The International Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics is very pleased to announce that the International Conference RExCon21 on Social Preferences and Social Norms shall be held on July 22-23, 2021. The conference is international-scale open and will take place Online, in English language. It is hosted by the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation.

The goal of the conference is to bring together scholars from economics and its sister disciplines to present and discuss their latest work on these topics.

Contributed talks in the field of the conference are invited in the broadly defined topics including, but not necessarily limited to

  • Experimental and theoretical analysis of social norms
  • Preferences, beliefs and interactive decision making
  • Cross-country and cross-regional measurements of social preferences
  • Social learning and evolution of preferences and conventions in repeated interactions
  • Economic offline, online and field experiments of social preferences and norms
  • Structural and behavioural modeling of preferences and norms



Registration is open here

Important Dates

1 July

Registration Deadline for Speakers

20 July

Registration without presentation Deadline 

22 July

Conference start


Programme (public version)

Programme with session links (for registered participants)



E-Сertificate of participation is available to all registered speakers and attendees upon request. Please write to tlibenson@hse.ru and in a response letter you will receive a document.


Keynote Speakers

Loukas Balafoutas (University of Innsbruck, Austria)
Conflict in the Pool - Thursday, 22 July, 12:30 CEST (UTC+2)

Abstract: We present evidence from a field experiment in an environment where competing parties can engage in conflict and the efforts they invest create no positive externalities. The experiment takes place in swimming pools. When all lanes are occupied, one of our actors joins the least crowded lane and asks one of the swimmers to move to a different one. The lane represents a contested scarce resource. We vary the actors’ valuation (high and low) for the good through the message they deliver. We take advantage of the natural variation in the number of swimmers and use it as a proxy for the scarcity of the resource. Consistent with theoretical predictions, a swimmer’s propensity to engage in conflict increases in scarcity and decreases in the actor’s stated valuation. We complement the analysis with survey evidence, which helps us understand and interpret the results. (Co-autors Loukas Balafoutas, Marco Faravelli, Roman M. Sheremeta)

Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany)
The Roots of Cooperation - Thursday, 22 July, 16:30 CEST (UTC+2)

Abstract: Understanding the roots of human cooperation among strangers is of great importance for solving pressing social dilemmas and maintening public goods in human societies. We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation – direct and indirect reciprocity as well as third-party punishment – emerges earliest as an effective means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner's dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment exhibits a strikingly positive effect on cooperation rates by doubling them in comparison to a control condition. It promotes cooperative behavior even before punishment of defectors is applied. Children also engage in reciprocating others, showing that reciprocity strategies are already prevalent at a very young age. However, direct and indirect reciprocity treatments do not increase overall cooperation rates, as young children fail to anticipate the benefits of reputation building. We also show that the cognitive skills of children and the socioeconomic background of parents play a vital role in the early development of human cooperation. (Co-autors: Zvonimir Basic, Parampreet C. Bindra, Daniela Glätzle-Rützler, Angelo Romano, Matthias Sutter, Claudia Zoller)

Erin Krupka (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA)
On the Stability of Norms and Interventions to Change Norms - Friday, July 23, 17:30 CEST (UTC+2)

Abstract: Norm-based accounts of social behavior are increasingly common in economics. In such accounts, behavior is seen as reflecting tradeoffs between maximization of own consumption utility and conformity to social norms. Theories of norm-following tend to assume a) that there exists a single, stable, commonly known injunctive social norm for a given choice setting and b) that each person has a stable propensity to follow social norms. In the first part of my talk, I report on work using panel data on 1468 participants aged 11-15 years old in Northern Ireland and Bogotá in which we measure norms and norm-following propensity twice at 10 weeks apart, and we show how to exploit variation in shared normative perceptions to extend our understanding of the extent to which norms are shared, stable, and can be predicted to change. In the second part of my talk, I report on studies that couple panel data with experimental or naturally occuring interventions that affect norms. These results identify interventions that can impact norm change and highlight the limitations of those interventions. I conclude with some thoughts on future research.

Online Access

If you registered for the conference, but did not receive an email with links, please write to tlibenson@hse.ru

All conference sessions will take place online, tentatively in zoom. Unlimited links will be provided to all registered participants. Interested people who want to join the conference as non-presenting participants could get the same access upon registration until July 20 on the conference website.



 Alexis Belianin (HSE), Philipp Chapkovski (HSE), Heike Hennig-Schmidt (BonnEconlab and HSE), Gari Walkowitz (TUM and HSE), Tatiana Libenson  (HSE)


Inquiries can be addressed to Tatiana LibensonAlexis Belianin