nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒05‒09
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
La Sapienza University of Rome

  1. Online and offline social participation and social poverty traps. Can social networks save human relations? By Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  2. E-participation: social capital and the Internet By Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
  3. A tale of an unwanted outcome: transfers and local endowments of trust and cooperation By Antonio Accetturo; Guido de Blasio; Lorenzo Ricci
  4. Cooperation and Personality By Proto, Eugenio; Rustichini, Aldo
  5. The intergenerational transmission of reading: is a good example the best sermon? By Anna Laura Mancini; Chiara Monfardini; Silvia Pasqua
  6. Conforming to Group Norms: An Experimental Study By Gautam Bose; Lorraine Ivancic; Evgenia Dechter

  1. By: Antoci, Angelo; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
    Abstract: In this study, we develop an evolutionary game model to analyse how human relations evolve in a context characterised by declining face-to-face interactions and growing online social participation. Our results suggest that online networks may constitute a coping response allowing individuals to “defend” their social life from increasing busyness and a reduction in the time available for leisure. Internet-mediated interaction can play a positive role in preventing the disruption of ties and the weakening of community life documented by empirical studies. In this scenario, the digital divide is likely to become an increasingly relevant factor of social exclusion, which may exacerbate inequalities in well-being and capabilities.
    Keywords: social participation; online networks; social capital; well-being; digital divide
    JEL: C73 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2014–05–03
  2. By: Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
    Abstract: We add to the literature by conducting the first empirical assessment of how online networking affects two economically relevant aspects of social capital, i.e. trust and sociability, in a large and representative sample. We address endogeneity in online networking by exploiting technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures that exogenously determined the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet. We find that participation in SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter has a positive effect on face-to-face interactions. However, social trust decreases with online interactions. We argue that the rising practice of hate speech may play a crucial role in the destruction of trust.
    Keywords: social participation; online networks; Facebook; social trust; social capital; broadband; digital divide; hate speech
    JEL: C36 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2014–05–04
  3. By: Antonio Accetturo (Bank of Italy); Guido de Blasio (Bank of Italy); Lorenzo Ricci (ECARES-ULB)
    Abstract: Transfers can do good; however, they can also result in massive failures. This paper presents a model that highlights the ambiguous nature of the impact of transfers on local endowments of social capital. It then describes an empirical investigation that illustrates that the receipt of EU structural funds causes a deterioration of the endowments of trust and cooperation in the subsidized regions.
    Keywords: social capital, political economy, regional transfers
    JEL: R1 D7 Z1
    Date: 2014–04
  4. By: Proto, Eugenio (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Rustichini, Aldo (Department of Economics, University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: Cooperating behavior may be fostered by personality traits reflecting either favorable inclination to others or willingness to comply with norms and rules. We test the relative importance of these two factors in an experiment where subjects provide real mental effort in two treatments with identical task, differing only by whether others' payment is affected. If the first hypothesis is true, subjects reporting high Agreeableness score should put more effort; if the second is true, reporting higher Conscientiousness should predict more effort. We find experimental support for the second hypothesis but not for the first, as subjects reporting high Altruism do not behave consistently with this statement. Key words: Personality Traits ; Cooperation ; Effort Provision JEL classification: C90 ; D03 ; D82
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Anna Laura Mancini (Bank of Italy); Chiara Monfardini (University of Bologna, CHILD and IZA); Silvia Pasqua (University of Turin, CHILD and Collegio Carlo Alberto)
    Abstract: We use the last two waves of the Italian Time Use Survey to analyse the intergenerational transmission of reading habits. This can be explained by both cultural and educational transfers from parents to children and by imitative behaviour. Imitation is of particular interest, since it suggests the direct influence parents can have on a child’s preference and habit formation, and opens the way for active policies promoting good parenting behaviour. We investigate the imitative behaviour of children using a household fixed-effects model, where we identify the impact of the parents’ role by exploiting the different exposure of siblings to parents’ example within the same household. We find robust evidence on the existence of an imitation effect: on the day of the survey children are more likely to read after seeing either the mother or the father reading.
    Keywords: intergenerational transmission of preferences, parental role model, imitation, household fixed effects.
    JEL: J13 J22 J24 C21
    Date: 2014–04
  6. By: Gautam Bose (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales); Lorraine Ivancic (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales); Evgenia Dechter (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: There is substantial experimental and empirical evidence to suggest that individual behaviour in bilateral or small-group interactions is affected by social norms. Further, social norms vary according to context. Previous research largely focuses on norms of fairness, not norms per se. We design an experiment to decouple norm-adherence from fairness. We find that (a) a group norm evolves and individuals cluster more tightly around it as they learn the average behaviour of the group, (b) actions further from this norm in a self-serving direction are less acceptable by others, and (c) when an agent is moved to a group with a different norm, s/he conforms quickly to the new norm.
    Keywords: group behaviour, norms, conformism, fairness, ultimatum game
    JEL: C72 C78 C92 Z13
    Date: 2014–04

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