nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒11‒01
five papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. On the sources of European regional convergence: Does social capital have an economic payoff? By Jesús Peiró-Palomino; Emili Tortosa-Ausina
  2. Voting to Tell Others By Gautam Rao; Stefano DellaVigna; John List; Ulrike Malmendier
  3. Eye-image in Experiments: Social Cue or Experimenter Demand Effect? By Subhasish M. Chowdhury; Joo Young Jeon; Bibhas Saha
  4. Homemade Citizens: The Development of Political Interest during Adolescence and Young Adulthood By Anja Neundorf; Kaat Smets; Gema M. García-Albacete
  5. Voting behavior, coalitions and government strength through a complex network analysis By Carlo Dal Maso; Gabriele Pompa; Michelangelo Puliga; Gianni Riotta; Alessandro Chessa

  1. By: Jesús Peiró-Palomino (Department of Economics, University Jaume I, Castellón, Spain); Emili Tortosa-Ausina (IVIE, Valencia and Department of Economics, Universidad Jaume I, Castellón, Spain)
    Abstract: Recent literature has shown how relevant social capital may be as an important determinant of economic growth. However, the empirical evidence in contexts such as Europe, particularly at the regional level, is still scant, and its likely implications for income convergence are entirely unexplored. We analyze how social capital has influenced per capita income convergence for 216 European Union (EU) regions, a relevant context not only in light of the cohesion policies but also due to the remarkable disparate social capital endowments at the regional level. By using the distribution dynamics approach to convergence analysis, results generally support the relevant conditioning role of social capital for per capita income convergence, although the impact varies depending on the dimension considered—social trust, participation in associations, or the quality of social norms.
    Keywords: distribution dynamics,European regions,income convergence, social capital
    JEL: C14 D31 O47 R11
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Gautam Rao; Stefano DellaVigna; John List; Ulrike Malmendier
    Abstract: Why do people vote? We argue that social image plays a signiï¬cant role in explaining�turnout: people vote because others will ask. The expectation of being asked motivates�turnout if individuals derive pride from telling others that they voted, or feel shame from�admitting that they did not vote, provided that lying is costly. We design a ï¬eld experiment�to estimate the effect of social image concerns on voting. In a door-to-door survey about�election turnout, we experimentally vary (i) the informational content and use of a flyer pre-announcing the survey, (ii) the duration and payment for the survey, and (iii) the incentives�to lie about past voting. Our estimates suggest signiï¬cant social image concerns. For a�plausible range of lying costs, we estimate the monetary value of voting ‘because others willask’ to be in the range of $5-$15 for the 2010 Congressional election. In a complementary�get-out-the-vote experiment, we inform potential voters before the election that we will ask�them later whether they voted. We ï¬nd suggestive evidence that the treatment increases�turnout.
    Date: 2014–07
  3. By: Subhasish M. Chowdhury (University of East Anglia); Joo Young Jeon (University of East Anglia); Bibhas Saha (Durham University)
    Abstract: It is observed in neuroscience, economics and psychology experiments that the presence of an image of a pair of eyes may result in higher level of altruistic behavior by subjects. It is hence concluded that the eye-image serves as a `social Êcue'. We test this against an alternative hypothesis that the higher level of altruism may occur since the eye-image triggers an experimenter demand effect in the same direction with the perceived altruism. We run a `Taking game' with and without eye-image in which the recipient owns some money, and the dictator can take any amount from that. In such a case the social cue and the experimenter demand effect go in opposite directions. We find no overall difference in the amount taken in those treatments. However, males take significantly less and females take insignificantly more under the treatment with eye-image. We conclude that the presence of eyes may have both the social cue and the experimental demand effects, and the net effect depends on the relative magnitude and the direction of the two. For males, the social cue effect is more prominent.
    Date: 2014–10
  4. By: Anja Neundorf; Kaat Smets; Gema M. García-Albacete
    Abstract: Despite being among the most important indicators of political participation, relatively little is known about the origins and the development of political interest over the life span. The formative years between childhood and adulthood are generally considered a crucial phase in which future electors form and strengthen political habits. The aim of this research is to better understand this important stage by examining the way in which parental socialization and lifecycle events affect the formation and growth of political interest during adolescence and young adulthood. While parental influences are expected to take place during childhood and persist over-time, life-cycle events are considered to influence development in early adulthood for those adolescents who did not grow up in a highly politicized environment. We assess these assumptions by applying latent growth curve modeling and using the German Socio-Economic Panel, which spans from 1984-2007. Our findings confirm strong parental socialization effects on interest levels during teenage years. While life-cycle events are not found to strongly affect the development of political interest during the formative years, the transition to adulthood is indeed a more critical period for those individuals who did not acquire high levels of interest from their family.
    Keywords: Political interest; young adulthood; parental socialization; life-cycle events; latent growth curve analysis; panel data
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Carlo Dal Maso (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Gabriele Pompa (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Michelangelo Puliga (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Gianni Riotta (Princeton University; IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies); Alessandro Chessa (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)
    Abstract: We analyze the network of relations between parliament members according to their voting behavior. In particular, we examine the emergent community structure with respect to political coalitions and government alliances. We rely on tools developed in the Complex Network literature to explore the core of these communities and use their topological features to develop new metrics for party polarization, internal coalition cohesiveness and government strength. As a case study, we focus on the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, for which we are able to characterize the heterogeneity of the ruling coalition as well as parties specific contributions to the stability of the government over time. We find sharp contrast in the political debate which surprisingly does not imply a relevant structure based on establised parties. We take a closer look to changes in the community structure after parties split up and their effect on the position of single deputies within communities. Finally, we introduce a way to track the stability of the government coalition over time that is able to discern the contribution of each member along with the impact of its possible defection. While our case study relies on the Italian parliament, whose relevance has come into the international spotlight in the present economic downturn, the methods developed here are entirely general and can therefore be applied to a multitude of other scenarios.
    Keywords: Parliamentary Network, Party Cohesion, Government Strength
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2014–09

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