The Decay of Norms and the Production of Social Order: Conceptual and Empirical Models

Franklin G. Mixon Jr., University of Southern Mississippi
Jared S. Loftus, University of Southern Mississippi
Windy S. Keene, University of North Carolina


This note explores the decay of social norms using a model of the production of social order in the context of 'rules' employed by cities/municipalities to 'govern' activities during Halloween. The empirical results suggest that population homogeneity, the upper class' scope for 'purchasing' norm conformity from middle and lower classes, the abundance of social capital and the cohesiveness of family units are all important determinants of the likelihood that a city or locale will employ formal order-producing mechanisms during the Halloween period. The results are supportive of the seminal work on norms by Becker (1996) and others.