We present a model where a mobility-reducing norm arises in response to adverse economic conditions. Our example is the classical farm problem of low returns. A temporary transition barrier induces cognitive dissonance in farm youths, which they try to reduce by developing a belief that revalues their position. This involves an effort, because existing beliefs are resistant to change. The role of social support in effort cost reduction can be sufficient for the emergence and persistence of a norm which condemns leaving agriculture, thus causing crowding and lower earnings.
- social custom