nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒11‒17
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Groups and trust: Experimental evidence on the Olson and Putnam hypotheses By Giacomo Degli Antoni; Gianluca Grimalda
  2. Does Infrastructure Facilitate Social Capital Accumulation? Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in a Developing Country By Aoyagi, Keitaro; Sawada, Yasuyuki; Shoji, Masahiro
  3. Leaders as Role Models for the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods By Simon Gaechter; Elke Renner
  4. Corruption, Tax Evasion and Social Values By Litina, Anastasia; Palivos, Theodore
  5. Social norms, morals and self-interest as determinants of pro-environment behaviour By Czajkowski, Mikolaj; Hanley, Nicholas; Nyborg, Karine
  6. Conspicuous Consumption and Peer Effects among the Poor: Evidence From a Field Experiment By Christopher P Roth
  7. Parenting with Style: Altruism and Paternalism in Intergenerational Preference Transmission By Fabrizio Zilibotti; Matthias Doepke
  8. The Wage Effects of Social Norms - Evidence of Deviations from Peers' Body Mass in Europe By Elmar A. Janssen; Rene Fahr
  9. Omission Effects in Fairness Behavior By Gärtner, Manja; Sandberg, Anna
  10. Natural Land Productivity, Cooperation and Comparative Development By Litina, Anastasia
  11. Second thoughts: Theory and experiment in social dilemmas By Tatsuyoshi Saijo; Yoshitaka Okano
  12. Great Expectations: The Persistent Effect of Institutions on Culture By Litina, Anastasia
  13. Trust in generosity: An experiment of the repeated Yes-No game By Werner Güth; Hironori Otsubo
  14. Revisiting the Role of Social Networks as Determinants of International-Migration Flows: A Note By Giorgio Fagiolo; Gianluca Santoni

  1. By: Giacomo Degli Antoni (University of Parma, Department of Law); Gianluca Grimalda (University Jaume I of Castellón - Economics Department)
    Abstract: Mancur Olson and Robert Putnam provide two conflicting views on the effect of involvement with voluntary associations on their members. Putnam argues that associations instill in their members habits of cooperation, solidarity and public spiritedness. Olson emphasizes the tendency of groups to pursue private interests and lobby for preferential policies. We carry out the first field experiment involving a sample of members of different association types from different age groups and education levels, as well as a demographically comparable sample of non-members. This enables us to examine the differential patterns of behavior followed by members of Putnam-type and Olson- type associations. Coherently with both the Putnam's and Olson's view, we find that members of Putnam-type (Olson-type) associations display more (no more) generalized trust than non-members. However, when we examine trustworthy behavior we find the opposite pattern, with members of Olson-type (Putnam-type) associations more (no more) trustworthy than non-members. No relevant effect for the intensity of participation in associations 37
    Keywords: Trust; Voluntary associations; Putnam; Olson; Field experiment
    JEL: A13 D03 C93 Z13
    Date: 2014–10
  2. By: Aoyagi, Keitaro; Sawada, Yasuyuki; Shoji, Masahiro
    Abstract: While social capital in general has been recognized as essential for economic activities, its accumulation mechanisms are largely unexplored. How does people’s trust toward others, one of the core dimensions of social capital, emerge? To shed new light on this largely unanswered question, we investigate the impact of physical infrastructure on social capital accumulation by comparing two hypotheses: the habit formation hypothesis and the repeated interaction hypothesis. We use a unique dataset from an irrigation project in Sri Lanka under a natural experimental situation where a significant portion of irrigated land was allocated through a lottery mechanism. Also, we look at the level of social capital using artefactual field experiments by a strategy method based on a within-subject design. By combining these two instruments, we find that physical distance embedded by irrigation systems explain variations in trust across irrigation communities, suggesting that the level of particularized trust is significantly higher than that of general trust. Also, within-community variation in particularized trust is driven largely by each individual’s years of access to irrigation and is not necessarily affected by social distance or repeated interaction among farmers. Our results indicate that social preference emerges from a technological environment set by physical access to irrigation, suggesting habit formation of pro-social behavior.
    Keywords: ural and artefactual field experiments , trust , social capital , irrigation
    Date: 2014–02–12
  3. By: Simon Gaechter (School of Economics, University of Nottingham); Elke Renner (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We investigate the link between leadership, beliefs and pro-social behavior. This link is interesting because field evidence suggests that people’s behavior in domains like charitable giving, tax evasion, corporate culture and corruption is influenced by leaders (CEOs, politicians) and beliefs about others’ behavior. Our framework is an experimental public goods game with a leader. We find that leaders strongly shape their followers’ initial beliefs and contributions. In later rounds, followers put more weight on other followers’ past behavior than on the leader’s current action. This creates a path dependency the leader can hardly correct. We discuss the implications for understanding belief effects in naturally occurring situations.
    Keywords: Leadership, beliefs, experiments, public goods, path dependency, public policy, management.
  4. By: Litina, Anastasia; Palivos, Theodore
    Abstract: We provide empirical support and a theoretical explanation for the vicious circle of political corruption and tax evasion in which countries often fall into. We address this issue in the context of a model with two distinct groups of agents: citizens and politicians. Citizens decide the fraction of their income for which they evade taxes. Politicians decide the fraction of the public budget that they peculate. We show that multiple self-fulfilling equilibria with different levels of corruption can emerge based on the existence of strategic complementarities, indicating that corruption may corrupt. Furthermore, we find that standard deterrence policies cannot eliminate multiplicity. Instead, policies that impose a strong moral cost on tax evaders and corrupt politicians can lead to a unique equilibrium.
    Keywords: Corruption, Tax Evasion, Multiple Equilibria, Stigma
    JEL: D73 E62 H26
    Date: 2014–09–09
  5. By: Czajkowski, Mikolaj; Hanley, Nicholas; Nyborg, Karine
    Abstract: This paper considers the role which selfish, moral and social incentives and pressures play in explaining the extent to which stated choices over pro-environment behaviours vary across individuals. The empirical context is choices over household waste contracts and recycling actions in Poland. A theoretical model is used to show how cost-based motives and the desire for a positive self- and social image combine to determine the utility from alternative choices of recycling behaviour. We then describe a discrete choice experiment designed to empirically investigate the effects such drivers have on stated choices. Using a latent class model, we distinguish three types of individual who are described as duty-orientated recyclers, budget recyclers and homo oeconomicus. These groups vary in their preferences for how frequently waste is collected, and the number of categories into which household waste must be recycled. Our results have implications for the design of future policies aimed at improving participation in recycling schemes.
    Date: 2014–07
  6. By: Christopher P Roth
    Abstract: I use a randomised conditional cash transfer program from Indonesia to provide evidence on peer effects in consumption of poor households. I combine this with consumption visibility data from Indonesia to examine whether peer effects in consumption differ by a good’s visibility. In line with a model of conspicuous consumption, I find that the expenditure share of visible (nonvisible) goods rises (falls) for untreated households in treated sub-districts, whose reference group visible consumption is exogenously increased. Finally, I provide evidence on the mechanisms underlying the estimated spillovers using data on social interactions and social punishment norms. In line with Veblen’s (1899) claim that conspicuous consumption is more prevalent in societies with less social capital, I show that the peer effects in visible goods are larger in villages and for households with lower levels of social activities.
    Keywords: Conspicuous Consumption, Peer Effects, Relative Concerns, Spillovers,Social Interactions, Social Norms
    JEL: D12 C21 I38
    Date: 2014
  7. By: Fabrizio Zilibotti (University of Zurich); Matthias Doepke (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We construct a theory of intergenerational preference transmission that rationalizes the choice between alternative parenting styles (related to Baumrind 1967). Parents maximize an objective function that combines Beckerian and paternalistic altruism towards children. They can affect their children’s choices via two channels: either by influencing their preferences or by imposing direct restrictions on their choice sets. Different parenting styles (authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive) emerge as equilibrium outcomes, and are affected both by parental preferences and by the socioeconomic environment. We consider two applications: patience and risk aversion. We argue that parenting styles may be important for explaining why different groups or societies develop different attitudes towards human capital formation, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
    Date: 2014
  8. By: Elmar A. Janssen (University of Paderborn); Rene Fahr (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: We investigate wage effects of deviations from peer group body mass index (BMI) to evaluate the influence of social norms on wages. Our approach allows to show the existence of the influence of the social norm and to disentangle it from any (anticipated) productivity effects associated with deviations from a clinically recommended BMI in certain sections of the weight distribution. Estimates of between-effects models for 9 European countries for the years 1998 to 2001 suggest that the influence of the social norm varies considerably between countries, and wage penalties are rather found for upward deviations from the norm and for men.
    Keywords: social norms, discrimination, body mass index, cross-country evidence, wage effects
    JEL: I10 J30 J70 M51
    Date: 2014–06
  9. By: Gärtner, Manja (Department of Economics); Sandberg, Anna (Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES))
    Abstract: We investigate whether individuals are more prone to act selfishly if they can passively allow for an outcome to be implemented (omission) rather than having to make an active choice (commission). In most settings, active and passive choice alternatives differ in terms of factors such as defaults, costs of taking an action, and awareness. Isolating the distinction between active and passive choices in an experiment, we find no omission effect in fairness behavior. This suggests that increased selfishness through omission, as observed in various economic choice situations, is driven by these other factors rather than a preference for selfish omissions.
    Keywords: Fairness; Social preferences; Morals; Dictator game; Omission
    JEL: D03
    Date: 2014–09–24
  10. By: Litina, Anastasia
    Abstract: This research advances the hypothesis that natural land productivity in the past, and its effect on the desirable level of cooperation in the agricultural sector, had a persistent effect on the evolution of social capital, the process of industrialization and comparative economic development across the globe. Exploiting exogenous sources of variations in land productivity across a) countries; b) individuals within a country, and c) migrants of different ancestry within a country, the research establishes that lower level of land productivity in the past is associated with more intense cooperation and higher levels of contemporary social capital and development.
    Keywords: Land productivity, Cooperation, Social Capital, Trust, Growth, Development, Agriculture, Industrialization
    JEL: O11 O13 O14 O3 O31 O33 O4 O5 O50 O57
    Date: 2014–09–09
  11. By: Tatsuyoshi Saijo (Kochi University of Technology); Yoshitaka Okano (Kochi University of Technology)
    Abstract: This paper shows that second thoughts are not an innocent device in our daily life, but is human wisdom that plays an important role in resolving problems such as social dilemmas. We design the simplest possible mechanism to achieve Pareto efficiency in social dilemmas, and then compare the performance of this mechanism with and without second thoughts. First, second thoughts change the payoff structure of the game in favor of cooperation. Second, the mechanism with second thoughts performs very well experimentally, even from the first period. Third, this mechanism is robust even when players deviate from rational choices.
    Keywords: Second thoughts, Social Dilemma, Cooperation
    JEL: C72 C92 D74
    Date: 2014–10
  12. By: Litina, Anastasia
    Abstract: This research exploits the event of immigration to establish that institutions have a persistent effect on culture. It is argued that immigrants coming from corrupt countries, tend to overtrust the institutions at the host country. This inflated trust of immigrants is documented as the Great Expectations effect. This result is interesting and intriguing for several reasons. First, it highlights the persistent effect of institutions (at the origin country) on the cultural attitudes of immigrants. Interestingly, this effect is rather persistent and can be detected even to the second generation immigrants. Second, the analysis explores whether mean attitudes at the origin country have an effect on immigrants' attitude. The findings suggest that mean attitudes do not confer a statistically significant effect, whereas a horserace between origin institutions and origin culture suggests that it is the effect of institutions that prevails. Last, the analysis establishes that the inflated trust of immigrants affects their political attitudes. Immigrants coming from corrupt countries tend to be less interested in politics, to overtrust the host governments and to be less active in the political arena. In a globalized world where international immigration is rather extensive, pinning down the cultural differences across immigrants and thus the differences in their political attitudes is of an essence.
    Keywords: Trust, Institutions, Culture, Migration
    JEL: F22 O17
    Date: 2014–09–16
  13. By: Werner Güth (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group); Hironori Otsubo (Soka University)
    Abstract: This paper reports results of a 100-round Yes-No game experiment conducted under the random matching protocol. In contrast to ultimatum bargaining, the responder in the Yes-No game decides whether to accept without knowing the proposer's offer. Although both games have the same solution outcome (i.e., the proposer offers the smallest possible amount and the responder accepts), the set of equilibria of the ultimatum bargaining game is rather large whereas the equilibrium of the Yes-No game is essentially unique. Avrahami et al. (2013) found an immediate convergence to proposers offering an equal split in their repeated ultimatum bargaining experiment. Our main interest is which dynamics emerge when proposers and responders repeatedly play the Yes-No game. We found neither convergence to offering an equal split nor to the solution outcome. Most participants display a surprising constancy of behavior but the categories of behavior are rather rich.
    Keywords: Yes-No game, Repetition, Learning, Veto power, Laboratory experiment
    JEL: C72 C92
    Date: 2014–10–27
  14. By: Giorgio Fagiolo; Gianluca Santoni
    Abstract: This note revisits the role of migrant social networks as determinants of bilateral-migration flows. We do so using a new database that covers about 190 world countries and features more accurate estimates of bilateral flows than those employed so far. Our battery of gravity- model exercises show that the impact of social networks is consistent and significant over different specifications, and in line with previous estimates. Furthermore, in presence of migrant networks at destination, geographical distance counts in explaining the absence of a migration corridor only when such networks have very small sizes.
    Keywords: International Migration; Gravity Models; Stocks vs Flows; Migrant Social Networks.
    Date: 2014–10–20

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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