nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒02‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Investigating social capital in Colombia: Conflict and public good contributions By Hopfensitz, Astrid; Miquel-Florensa, Pepita
  2. Information and belief elicitation effects on charitable giving: An artefactual field experiment. By Leonardo Becchetti; Vittorio Pelligra
  3. International interventions to build social capital : evidence from a field experiment in Sudan By Avdeenko, Alexandra; Gilligan, Michael J.
  4. Social Interactions and Malaria Preventive Behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa By Bénédicte H. Apouey; Gabriel Picone
  5. Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control By Buechel, Berno; Mechtenberg, Lydia; Petersen, Julia
  6. Ambiguity on audits and cooperation in a public goods game By Zhixin Dai; Robin M. Hogarth; Marie Claire Villeval
  7. Immigrant Networks and the Take-Up of Disability Programs: Evidence from US Census Data By Delia Furtado; Nikolaos Theodoropoulos
  8. The Formation and Long-run Stability of Cooperative Groups in a Social Dilemma Situation By Maruta, Toshimasa; Okada, Akira
  9. Expectation Formation and Social Influence. By Andreas Karpf
  10. The Relation between Information and Heterogeneous Ability in Joint Projects - An experimental Analysis - By Gerlinde Fellner; Yoshio Iida; Sabine Kröger; Erika Seki

  1. By: Hopfensitz, Astrid; Miquel-Florensa, Pepita
    Abstract: Due to its long-lasting internal armed conflict, Colombia has witnessed a rupture in social networks. The network composition was altered for municipalities with high in- or out-flows of displaced individuals, in addition to the individual impact on the displaced. We use a controlled laboratory experiment and questionnaires to measure the impact of displacement on public good contributions at the Colombian ‘Eje Cafetero’. Abstract public good contributions are related to actual community involvement and observed to be significantly higher in regions with a history of high pressure or intensity of displacement. Contributions are particularly high by vulnerable individuals in high out-flow areas (e.g. women). A local control institution can further increase contributions, independent of the individuals’ personal preference for such control.
    Keywords: Colombia, conflict, displacement, public good games
    Date: 2014–01–31
  2. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Vittorio Pelligra (University of Cagliari, CRENoS)
    Abstract: We examine by means of an artefactual field experiment on a representative sample of Italian adults, the impact of information and belief elicitation on charitable-giving when donors know (or express their beliefs on) what the organizations received in terms of aggregate donations in the past. We find that both effects are significant in terms of increase in the share of donors to a health related (bone marrow transplant) organization. The observed findings are consistent with expressed health wellbeing preferences of donors and with the gap between the organization position in the ranking of aggregate donations (last) and the far higher expected position of the same organization in donors’ beliefs. The effect is robust also in gender and age sample splits. Inequity aversion and warm glow depending on the expected marginal benefit of increased donations to the specific charity are two observationally equivalent explanations for our findings. Another related consequence of information disclosure is that the share of participants deciding not to donate at all becomes significantly lower when information on aggregate past donations is provided.
    Keywords: altruism, warm glow, strategic information, charitable-giving, artefactual field experiment
    JEL: C91 D64 H00
    Date: 2014–02–11
  3. By: Avdeenko, Alexandra; Gilligan, Michael J.
    Abstract: Over the past decade the international community, especially the World Bank, has conducted programs to increase local public service delivery in developing countries by improving local governing institutions and creating social capital. This paper evaluates one such program in Sudan to answer the question: Can the international community change the grassroots civic culture of developing countries to increase social capital? The paper oers three contributions. First, it uses lab-in-the-eld measures to focus on the eects of the program on pro-social preferences without the confounding in uence of any program- induced changes on local governing institutions. Second, it tests whether the program led to denser social networks in recipient communities. Based on these two measures, the eect of the program was a precisely estimated zero. However, in a retrospective survey, respondents from program communities characterized their behavior as being more pro-social and their communities more socially cohesive. This leads to a third contribution of the paper: it provides evidence for the hypothesis, stated by several scholars in the literature, that retrospective survey measures of social capital oer biased evidence of a positive eect of these programs. Regardless of one's faith in retrospective self-reported survey measures, the results clearly point to zero impact of the program on pro-social preferences and social network density. Therefore, if the increase in self-reported behaviors is accurate, it must be because of social sanctions that enforce compliance with pro-social norms through mechanisms other than the social networks that were measured.
    Keywords: Social Capital,Community Development and Empowerment,Housing&Human Habitats,Social Cohesion,Governance Indicators
    Date: 2014–02–01
  4. By: Bénédicte H. Apouey (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA)); Gabriel Picone (Department of Economics - University of South Florida)
    Abstract: This paper examines the existence of social interactions in malaria preventive behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. whether an individual's social environment has an influence on the individual's preventive behaviors. We focus on the two population groups which are the most vulnerable to malaria (children under 5 and pregnant women) and on two preventive behaviors (sleeping under a bednet and taking intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy). We define the social environment of the individual as people living in the same region. To detect social interactions, we calculate the size of the social multiplier by comparing the effects of an exogenous variable at the individual level and at the regional level. Our data come from 92 surveys for 29 Sub-Saharan countries between 1999 and 2012, and they cover approximately 660,000 children and 95,000 women. Our results indicate that social interactions are important in malaria preventive behaviors, since the social multipliers for women's education and household wealth are greater than one - which means that education and wealth generates larger effects on preventive behaviors in the long run than we would expect from the individual-level specifications, once we account for social interactions.
    Keywords: Social interactions ; Social multiplier ; Malaria preventive behavior
    Date: 2014–02
  5. By: Buechel, Berno; Mechtenberg, Lydia; Petersen, Julia
    Abstract: We conducted a multi-wave field experiment to study the interaction of peer effects and self-control among undergraduate students. We use a behavioral measure of self-control based on whether students achieve study related goals they have set for themselves. We find that both self-control and the number of talented friends increase students’ performance. We then set out to test the theoretical prediction of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole (2005) that (only) sufficiently self-controlled individuals profit from interactions with peers. We find that peers with high self-control are more likely to connect to others, have a higher overall number of friends and have a higher number of talented friends. Moreover, positive news about self-controlled behavior of their peers increases students’ own perseverance. Hence, our findings are consistent with the model of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole. In addition, we find that female students are more likely to have high self-control, but do not outperform male students. One reason for this is that female students have a lower number of talented friends than their male counterparts, thereby profiting less from positive peer effects.
    Keywords: Self-control; Peer Influence; Social Networks; Goals; Time preferences; Procrastination; Willpower; School Performance; Experiment
    JEL: C93 D85 I21 J24
    Date: 2014–01–28
  6. By: Zhixin Dai (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon - PRES Université de Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I); Robin M. Hogarth (Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Marie Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon - PRES Université de Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of various audit schemes on the future provision of public goods, when contributing less than the average of the group is sanctioned exogenously and the probability of an audit is unknown. We study how individuals update their beliefs about the probability of being audited, both before and after audits are definitely withdrawn. We find that when individuals have initially experienced systematic audits, they decrease both their beliefs and their contributions almost immediately after audits are withdrawn. In contrast, when audits were initially less frequent and more irregular, they maintain high beliefs about the probability of being audited and continue cooperating long after audits have been withdrawn. Inconsistency in experiencing audits across time clearly increases the difficulty of learning the true audit probabilities. Thus, conducting less frequent and irregular audits with higher fines can increase efficiency dramatically.
    Keywords: Ambiguity; audits; sanctions; beliefs, cooperation; public goods; experiment
    Date: 2014–02–10
  7. By: Delia Furtado (University of Connecticut); Nikolaos Theodoropoulos (University of Cyprus)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of ethnic networks in disability program take-up among workingage immigrants in the United States. We find that even when controlling for country of origin and area of residence fixed effects, immigrants residing amidst a large number of co-ethnics are more likely to receive disability payments when their ethnic groups have higher take-up rates. Although this pattern can be partially explained by cross-group differences in satisfying the work history or income and asset requirements of the disability programs, we also present evidence suggesting that social norms play an important role.
    Keywords: Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplementary Security Income, Networks, Social norms, Immigrants
    JEL: C31 H55 I18 J61
    Date: 2014–01
  8. By: Maruta, Toshimasa; Okada, Akira
    Abstract: Abstract: We consider the formation and long-run stability of cooperative groups in a social dilemma situation where the pursuit of individual interests conflicts with the maximization of social welfare. The adaptive play model of Young (1993) is applied to a game of group formation where voluntary participants negotiate for an institution to enforce them to cooperate. For a class of group formation games with two types, the stochastically stable equilibrium can be characterized in terms of the Nash products of the associated hawk-dove games, which summarize the strategic interaction among the individuals in the game.
    Keywords: Adaptive play, cooperation, evolution, group formation, hawk-dove game, social dilemma, stochastic stability, voluntary participation
    JEL: C70 C72
    Date: 2014–02
  9. By: Andreas Karpf (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This article investigate the role of social influence for the expectation formation of economic agents. Using self-organizing Kohonen maps the repeated cross-section data set of the University of Michigan consumer survey is transformed into a pseudo panel allowing to monitor the expectation formation of cohorts with regard to business confidence over the whole available time span (January 1978 - June 2013). Subsequently the information theoretic concept of transfer entropy is used to reveal the role of social influence on the expectation formation as well as the underlying network structure. It is shown that social influence strongly depends on socio-demographic characteristics and also coincides with a high degree of connectivity. The social network estimated in this way follows a power-law and thus exhibits similar structure as networks observed in other contexts.
    Keywords: Social networks, expectations, household survey.
    JEL: D12 D83 D84 D85
    Date: 2014–02
  10. By: Gerlinde Fellner; Yoshio Iida; Sabine Kröger; Erika Seki
    Abstract: We study voluntary contribution behavior of individuals who vary in their ability to contribute to a joint project under different information scenarios. We investigate a situation with two types who vary only in their external marginal return (low and high). Results of a laboratory experiment suggest that, when group members are not aware of the heterogeneity in their group, both types make the same nominal contributions. When agents are informed about the heterogeneity, contributions increase but differently by type. High types contribute only more with sufficient social exposure, i.e., when information on the type of the contributor is available. Low types, on the other hand, contribute only more when they are aware of the distribution of types, but have no information on the type of the contributor.
    Keywords: Public goods, Voluntary contribution mechanism, Heterogeneity, Information, Norms
    JEL: C9 H41
    Date: 2014

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