The Norm of Wage Negotiations in the United States

Melisa Demirović, Blaine G. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The moral economy is a set of institutionalized rules, norms, and values that guide action in market economies. Historically, the norm of wage negotiations has been a central pillar of the U.S. moral economy, but research suggests that this may be changing. In the present study, the authors seek to evaluate whether the norm of wage negotiations is decoupled from the U.S. moral economy. Results of a factorial survey experiment administered to a quota sample of U.S. adults (N = 707) indicate that the norm of wage negotiations is weak: it is largely bipolar, conditional, and of a low to moderate intensity, with disagreement over the norm as well as the circumstances demarcating the norm. These social cleavages, however, do not fall along demographic lines: the character of the norm is comparable across groups. These findings reveal that there has been an erosion of the distributional norms underlying the U.S. moral economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2022


  • factorial survey experiment
  • moral economy
  • social norms
  • wage negotiations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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