nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒07‒28
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Teaching Practices and Social Capital By Algan, Yann; Shleifer, Andrei
  2. The Importance of Being Marginal: Gender Differences in Generosity By Stefano DellaVigna; John List; Ulrike Malmendier; Gautam Rao
  3. Does corruption erode trust in government? Evidence from a recent surge of local scandals in Spain By Albert Solé-Ollé; Pilar Sorribas-Navarro
  4. It's A Sin - Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-Run Economic Development By Prettner, Klaus; Strulik, Holger
  5. I Cannot Cheat on You after We Talk By Cristina Bicchieri; Alessandro Sontuoso; ;
  6. Who cooperates in repeated games: The role of altruism, inequity aversion, and demographics By Dreber-Almenberg, Anna; Fudenberg, Drew; Rand, David G.
  7. Reciprocity Networks and the Participation Problem By Martin Dufwenberg; Amrish Patel
  8. The Transmission of Democracy: From the Village to the Nation-State By Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  9. The Causal Effect of Market Priming on Trust: An Experimental Investigation Using Randomized Control By Al-Ubaydli, Omar; Houser, Daniel; Nye, John; Paganelli, Maria Pia; Pan, Xiaofei
  10. A Dirty Look From The Neighbors. Does Living In A Religious Neighborhood Prevent Cohabitation? By Anna Baranowska-Rataj; Monika Mynarska; Daniele Vignoli
  11. The Coauthorship Network Analysis of the BI Norwegian Business School By Belik, Ivan; Jörnsten, Kurt
  12. Social Structure and Institutional Design: Evidence from a Lab Experiment in the Field By Emily Breza; Arun G. Chandrasekhar; Horacio Larreguy
  13. Robustness of norm-driven cooperation in the commons to environmental variability By Maja Schlüter; Alessandro Tavoni; Simon Levin
  14. Collective Action and Armed Group Presence in Colombia By Margarita Gáfaro; Ana Maria Ibáñez; Patricia Justino

  1. By: Algan, Yann; Shleifer, Andrei
    Abstract: We use several data sets to consider the effect of teaching practices on student beliefs, as well as on organization of firms and institutions. In student level data, teaching practices (such as teachers lecturing versus students working in groups) exert a substantial influence on student beliefs about cooperation both with each other and with teachers. In cross†country data, teaching practices shape both beliefs and institutional outcomes. The relationship between teaching practices and student test performance is nonlinear. The evidence supports the idea that progressive education promotes social capital.
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Stefano DellaVigna; John List; Ulrike Malmendier; Gautam Rao
    Abstract: Do men and women have different social preferences? Previous findings are contradictory. We�provide a potential explanation using evidence from a field experiment. In a door-to-door�solicitation, men and women are equally generous, but women become less generous when it�becomes easy to avoid the solicitor. Our structural estimates of the social preference parameters�suggest an explanation: women are more likely to be on the margin of giving, partly because of a�less dispersed distribution of altruism. We find similar results for the willingness to complete an�unpaid survey: women are more likely to be on the margin of participation.
  3. By: Albert Solé-Ollé (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Pilar Sorribas-Navarro (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: We examine whether a corruption scandal in which the incumbent is implicated undermines trust in local government. We use a novel dataset containing information on local corruption scandals reported in Spain during the period 1999-2009, and data on the level of trust expressed in local politicians drawn from a new survey conducted in late 2009. We use matching methods to improve the identification of the effect of corruption scandals on trust, comparing municipalities affected by a scandal with those presenting similar traits but in which no scandal had been reported. We find that corruption scandals have a marked negative effect on trust in local politicians. This effect is even more marked in the case of individuals that have no ideological attachment to the party accused of corruption and/or who obtain their information from the media. Several falsification tests, based on a sample of corruption scandals reported after the survey had been conducted, confirm the causal interpretation of these results.
    Keywords: Corruption, trust
    JEL: P16 D72
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Prettner, Klaus (Department of Economics); Strulik, Holger (Department of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: This study presents a novel theory on the interaction of social norms, fertility, education, and their joint impact on long-run economic development. The theory takes into account that sexual intercourse is utility enhancing and that the use of modern contraceptives potentially conflicts with prevailing social norms (religious beliefs). The theory motivates the existence of two steady states. At the traditional steady state, the economy stagnates, fertility is high, education is minimal, and the population sustains a norm according to which modern contraceptives are not used. At the modern steady state, the population has abandoned traditional beliefs, modern contraceptives are used, fertility is low and education and economic growth are high. Social dynamics explain why both equilibria are separated by a saddlepoint-equilibrium (a separatrix), i.e. why it is so hard to transit from the traditional regime to the modern regime. Enhancing the value of education is identified as a promising policy to encourage contraceptive use and to initiate the take-off to long-run growth.
    Keywords: Religion; fertility; sex; contraceptive use; education; economic growth
    JEL: I25 J10 O40 Z12
    Date: 2014–07–07
  5. By: Cristina Bicchieri; Alessandro Sontuoso (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania); ;
    Abstract: This is a draft of a chapter in a planned book on the Prisoner’s Dilemma, edited by Martin Peterson, to be published by Cambridge University Press. - Experimental evidence on pre-play communication supports a “focusing function of communication” hypothesis. Relevant communication facilitates cooperative, pro-social behavior because it causes a shift in individuals’ focus towards strategies dictated by some salient social norm. After reviewing the formal foundations for a general theory of conformity to social norms, we provide an original application illustrating how a framework that allows for different conjectures about norms is able to capture the focusing function of communication and to explain experimental results.
    Keywords: social norms, social dilemmas
    JEL: C72 C92
    Date: 2014–07
  6. By: Dreber-Almenberg, Anna; Fudenberg, Drew; Rand, David G.
    Abstract: We explore the extent to which altruism, as measured by giving in a dictator game (DG), accounts for play in a noisy version of the repeated prisoner's dilemma. We find that DG giving is correlated with cooperation in the repeated game when no cooperative equilibria exist, but not when cooperation is an equilibrium. Furthermore, none of the commonly observed strategies are better explained by inequity aversion or efficiency concerns than money maximization. Various survey questions provide additional evidence for the relative unimportance of social preferences. We conclude that cooperation in repeated games is primarily motivated by long-term payoff maximization and that even though some subjects may have other goals, this does not seem to be the key determinant of how play varies with the parameters of the repeated game. In particular, altruism does not seem to be a major source of the observed diversity of play.
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Martin Dufwenberg; Amrish Patel
    Abstract: Reciprocity can be a powerful motivation for human behaviour. Scholars argue that it is relevant in the context of private provision of public goods. We examine whether reciprocity can resolve the associated coordination problem. The interaction of reciprocity with cost-sharing is critical. Neither cost-sharing nor reciprocity in isolation can solve the problem, but together they have that potential. We introduce new network notions of reciprocity relations to better understand this. Our analysis uncovers an intricate web of nuances that demonstrate the attainable yet elusive nature of a unique outcome.Keywords: Discrete public good, participation, reciprocity networks, coordination, cost-sharing JEL codes: C72, D03, H41.
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
    Abstract: We provide evidence that a tradition of village democracy is associated with the presence of national democracy today. We also show that a tradition of local democracy is associated with attitudes which are more supportive of democracy, with better quality institutions and with higher levels of economic development. Our findings indicate persistence in democratic institutions over time, and suggest the importance of traditional local institutions for well-functioning national-level institutions.
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Al-Ubaydli, Omar; Houser, Daniel; Nye, John; Paganelli, Maria Pia; Pan, Xiaofei
    Abstract: We report data from laboratory experiments where participants were primed using phrases related to markets and trade. Participants then participated in trust games with anonymous strangers. The decisions of primed participants are compared to those of a control group. We find evidence that priming for market participation affects positively the beliefs regarding the trustworthiness of anonymous strangers and increases trusting decisions.
    Date: 2013
  10. By: Anna Baranowska-Rataj (Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics, Sociology Department, Umea University); Monika Mynarska (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyñski University in Warsaw, Institute of Psychology); Daniele Vignoli (University of Florence, Department of Statistics “G. Parenti”)
    Abstract: The aim of the paper is to provide insights into how religion influences the family formation process. In particular, we analyze the impact of a neighborhood context religiosity on an individual decision to enter cohabitation. We use the data on two European societies where secularization and individualization have not yet reached momentum: Italy and Poland. We combine the empirical evidence from both qualitative and quantitative research. The qualitative research provides an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms through which the neighborhood may affect the individual decisions on union formation. By means of quantitative multilevel analyses we test how strong these mechanisms are in the general population. The qualitative analysis identified several mechanisms related, among others, to a lack of social recognition for cohabiting couples and to ostracism in the neighborhood. The quantitative outcomes confirmed that individuals living in social environment where people are very religious tend to make life choices consistent with the norms and beliefs supported by the dominating religion, even if they are not very religious themselves. Importantly, after controlling for territorial characteristics, the role of neighborhood-specific religiosity weakened in the magnitude in Poland and lost its statistical power in Italy. This may indicate that the impact of religion on observed union formation behaviors is indirect: It does seem to influence observed family behaviors through the social pressure to get married and traditions, rather than through the force of Catholic dogmas.
    Keywords: cohabitation, union formation, religiosity, social pressure
    JEL: J12 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Belik, Ivan (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics); Jörnsten, Kurt (Dept. of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: We construct the coauthorship network based on the scientific collaboration between the faculty members at the Norwegian Business School (BI) and based on their international academic publication experience. The network structure is based on the BI faculties’ publications recognized by the ISI Web of Science for the period 1950 – Spring, 2014. The given network covers the publication activities of the BI faculty members (over eight departments) based on the information retrieved from the ISI Web of Science in Spring, 2014. In this paper we analyse the constructed coauthorship network in different aspects of the theory of social networks analysis.
    Keywords: Coauthorship networks; social networks analysis
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2014–07–09
  12. By: Emily Breza; Arun G. Chandrasekhar; Horacio Larreguy
    Abstract: In settings with poor formal contract enforcement, profitable investments are likely unrealized. While social closeness can mitigate contractual incompleteness, we examine how to improve the preponderance of cases where contracting parties cannot rely upon social ties. We ask if a community can enlist members to monitor transactions or punish offending parties. We conduct a laboratory experiment in 40 Indian villages, with 960 non-anonymized subjects, where we have social network data. Participants play modified sender-receiver investment games, with and without third-party monitors and punishers. We examine whether network centrality of the third party increases efficiency of interaction. Furthermore, we decompose the efficiency increase into a monitoring channel (central third parties are valuable since they may influence reputations) and an enforcement channel (central third parties may be more able to punish without fear of retaliation). Assigning a third party at the 75th percentile of the centrality distribution (as compared to the 25th) increases efficiency by 21% relative to the mean: we attribute 2/5 of the effect to monitoring and 3/5 to enforcement. The largest efficiency increase occurs when senders and receivers are socially distant, unable to maintain efficient levels autonomously. Results cannot be explained by demographics such as elite status, caste, wealth or gender. Our findings show not every member is equally well-equipped to be part of a local institution. Knowing that a central third party observes their interaction increases sender-receiver efficiency. More importantly, to be able to punish someone, the third party must be important in the community.
    JEL: D02 L14 O17 Z13
    Date: 2014–07
  13. By: Maja Schlüter; Alessandro Tavoni; Simon Levin
    Abstract: Growing empirical evidence points to the importance of social norms for achieving sustainable use of common pool resources (CPR). Social norms can facilitate the cooperation and collective action needed to sustainable share a common resource. With global change, however, the social and environmental conditions under which cooperation has evolved and been maintained in the past may vary dramatically. Higher variability of resource availability and more frequent extreme events, for instance, will put additional pressure on cooperation, possibly triggering its collapse, with detrimental effects on the environment. In light of this, the potential impact of climate change on conflict has recently received considerable attention. Here we assess the robustness of norm-driven cooperation to changing resource availability in a stylised model of community harvesting from a shared resource. The model is a generalised representation of CPR extraction, which allows for social disapproval towards norm-violators. We use an agent-based model to assess the robustness of cooperative outcomes to variable resource flows. Our results indicate that both resource abundance and low resource variability can lead to its unsustainable use, while wither scarcity or high variability in the resource have the potential to stabilise cooperation. These findings provide insights into possible effects of global change on self-governance of the commons. They also indicate that there is no simple answer to the question whether global change has the potential to destabilise cooperation in natural resource use, and lead to environmental degradation and possible conflict.
    Date: 2014–01
  14. By: Margarita Gáfaro (Brown University); Ana Maria Ibáñez (Universidad de los Andes); Patricia Justino (Institute of Development Studies)
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to provide empirical evidence on the mechanisms that shape the relationship between violent conflict and collective action. Conflict dynamics in Colombia allow us to exploit rich variation in armed group presence and individual participation in local organizations. Our identification strategy is based on the construction of contiguous-pairs of rural communities that share common socio-economic characteristics but differ in armed group presence. This allows us to control for unobservable variables that may affect local participation and conflict dynamics simultaneously. The results show that the presence of armed groups increases overall participation in local organizations, with a particularly strong effect on political organizations. Contrary to existing results, we find that stronger individual participation may arise from coercion exercised by armed groups and not from a more vibrant civil society.
    Date: 2014–07

This nep-soc issue is ©2014 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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