nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2014‒12‒29
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country By Resul Cesur; Naci Mocan
  2. Relational Warm Glow and Giving in Social Groups By Scharf, Kimberley; Smith, Sarah
  3. Evolution of cooperation in social dilemmas: Signaling internalized norms By Müller, Stephan; von Wangenheim, Georg
  4. "Read my Lips!" Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Electoral Competition on Shirking and Trust By Gari Walkowitz; Arne R. Weiss
  5. Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries By Fiorillo, Damiano; Nappo, Nunzia
  6. Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South By Philipp Ager; Casper Worm Hansen; Lars Lønstrup
  7. The effect of charitable giving on workers’ performance. Experimental evidence By Gary Charness; Ramón Cobo-Reyes; Angela Sanchez
  8. Altruistic Economic Behaviors and Implicit Worldviews By Masao Ogaki; SunYoun Lee; Byung-Yeon Kim; Hyeog Ug Kwon; Hyoung-Seok Lim; Fumio Ohtake
  9. Social Capital, Tourism and Socio-Economic Transformation of Rural Society: Evidence from Nepal By Shakya, Martina
  10. Do Interventions Change the Network? A Panel Peer-Effect Model Accounting for Endogenous Network Changes By Comola, Margherita; Prina, Silvia
  11. Network Games with Incomplete Information By De Martí, Joan; Zenou, Yves
  12. The Distribution of Individual Conformity under Social Pressure across Societies By Michaeli, Moti; Spiro, Daniel
  13. Money is more than memory By Bigoni, Maria; Camera, Gabriele; Casari, Marco
  14. Asymmetry of Information within Family Networks By De Weerdt, Joachim; Genicot, Garance; Mesnard, Alice
  15. Dishonesty under Scrutiny By van de Ven, Jeroen; Villeval, Marie Claire
  16. Culture: Persistence and Evolution By Giavazzi, Francesco; Petkov, Ivan; Schiantarelli, Fabio

  1. By: Resul Cesur (University of Connecticut); Naci Mocan (Louisiana State University, NBER and IZA)
    Abstract: Using a unique survey of adults in Turkey, we find that an increase in educational attainment, due to an exogenous secular education reform, decreased women’s propensity to identify themselves as religious, lowered their tendency to wear a religious head cover (head scarf, turban or burka) and increased the tendency for modernity. We also find that education has a negative impact on women’s propensity to vote for Islamic parties. The impact of education on religiosity and voting preference is not working through migration, residential location or labor force participation. There is no statistically significant impact of education on men’s tendency to vote for Islamic parties and education does not influence the propensity to cast a vote in national elections for either men or women.
    Date: 2014–12
  2. By: Scharf, Kimberley; Smith, Sarah
    Abstract: We study charitable giving within social groups. Exploiting a unique dataset, we establish three key relationships between social group size and fundraising outcomes: (i) a positive relationship between group size and the total number of donations; (ii) a negative relationship between group size and the amount given by each donor; (iii) no relationship between group size and the total amount raised by the fundraiser. We rule out classic free-riding to explain these relationships since the number of social group members is only a subset of total contributors. Instead, the findings are consistent with the notion that giving in social groups is motivated by “relational” warm glow.
    Keywords: charity; donations; fundraising; online giving; social groups; warm glow
    JEL: D64 H31 Z1
    Date: 2014–06
  3. By: Müller, Stephan; von Wangenheim, Georg
    Abstract: The article suggests a new explanation for cooperation in large, unstructured societies that avoids the restrictions required in most previous attempts. Our explanation deals with the role of internalized norms. Even internalized norms, i.e. norms that alter the perceived utility from acting in a cooperative or uncooperative way, will not help to overcome a dilemma in an unstructured society, unless individuals are able to signal their property of being a norm bearer. Only when having the norm may be communicated in a reliable way, can the picture change. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions for cooperation to be part of an asymptotically stable equilibrium of an evolutionary dynamics of signaling norm internalization, behavior and norm adoption. These conditions put the signaling costs of norm-adopters and non-adopters, the strength of the social norm and two parameters measuring the cost of cooperation into relation with each other.
    Keywords: evolution,cooperation,signaling
    JEL: A13 D02 D21
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Gari Walkowitz (University of Cologne); Arne R. Weiss (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: We experimentally test whether electoral competition reduces shirking behavior by office-holders and increases citizens' trust. We hypothesize that competition increases campaign promises by office-holders, who feel committed to what they promise. Using a novel repeated multi-person investment-game with periodic elections, we indeed find that elected office-holders shirk less (i.e., they back-transfer more to citizens relative to investments) as compared to randomly appointed office-holders. Surprisingly, this effect cannot be explained through competition inflating the level of electoral promises. Nevertheless, promises do matter; in fact, they carry greater weight for the behavior of elected office-holders than for their randomly appointed counterparts. Elections also have a positive short-term effect on citizens' trust by cutting off both low and excessively high promises.
    Keywords: elections, promises, shirking, trust game
    JEL: D72 D02 D03 C71 C91
    Date: 2014–11–30
  5. By: Fiorillo, Damiano; Nappo, Nunzia
    Abstract: In this paper, we compare the correlation among formal and informal volunteering and self-perceived health across 13 European countries after controlling for socio-economic characteristics, housing features, neighborhood quality, size of municipality, social and cultural participation and regional dummies. We find that formal volunteering has a significantly positive association with self-perceived health in Finland and the Netherlands, significant negative relationship in Belgium, but none in the other countries. By contrast, informal volunteering has a significantly positive correlation with self-perceived health in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece and Portugal, and a significantly negative relationship in Italy. Our results point out that although formal and informal volunteering are correlated one with another they represents different aspects of volunteering whose correlations with self-perceived health depend, among others, on social and cultural characteristics of each country.
    Keywords: self-perceived health,formal and informal volunteering,European countries
    JEL: I10 D64 P5 Z1
    Date: 2014–11–25
  6. By: Philipp Ager (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.); Casper Worm Hansen (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University); Lars Lønstrup (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.)
    Abstract: We examine the effect of increased demand for social insurance on church membership.Our empirical strategy exploits the differential impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 across counties to identify a shock to the demand for social insurance. We find that flooded counties experienced a significant increase in church membership. Consistent with economic theories about determinants of membership of religious organizations, our result suggests that local churches provided ex-post insurance for the needy and in return gained new members.
    Keywords: Religion, Informal Insurance, Club Goods, Natural Disasters
    JEL: D70 E20 H40
    Date: 2014–11–24
  7. By: Gary Charness (University of California at Santa Barbara); Ramón Cobo-Reyes (University of Exeter Business School.); Angela Sanchez (University of Exeter Business School.)
    Abstract: We investigate how donating worker earnings for voluntary extra work, a form of corporate social responsibility, affects worker behavior. In our experiment, participants performed a realeffort task. Subjects were asked to enter real data (from an unrelated experiment) for 60 minutes and were paid on a piece-rate basis. After the 60 minutes, they were then asked if they wished to stay for up to another 30 minutes; we varied the piece-rate pay and whether it was paid to the worker or to a charity. Our results show that when the piece rate paid is relatively high, workers do more extra work when they are directly paid this piece rate as compared to when their earnings are instead paid to a charity. However, with low piece rates, this relationship reverses and workers are much more motivated when the money is donated to a charity instead of when it is paid directly to them. This approach is potentially a win-win outcome for at least firms and charities. We also find that when we only pay a small amount to workers, their behavior differs only modestly from the situation in which we do not pay at all.
    Keywords: labor market, gift exchange-game, delegation, responsibility-allevietion, experiments.
    Date: 2014–04–27
  8. By: Masao Ogaki; SunYoun Lee; Byung-Yeon Kim; Hyeog Ug Kwon; Hyoung-Seok Lim; Fumio Ohtake
    Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to study how individual differences in implicit worldviews regarding categories versus relationships affect altruistic behavior towards parents, children and non-family members, using the survey data of Korea, Japan and the US. Altruism and intergenerational transfers have been widely studied in economics (Fehr and Schmidt, 2006). Despite the reluctance to use a cultural factor as the determinant for the economic outcomes because of its ambiguity and difficulty of the measurement, extent literature in the field of economics has recently analyzed the possible impacts of individual beliefs and preferences on a variety of economic outcomes (Guiso et al. 2006). Since the variation is not explained by income differences, a natural candidate for explaining such variation is culture. Some researchers have found elements in explicit worldviews (or belief systems) such as confidence in worldview beliefs have statistically significant effects on intergenerational altruistic attitudes and explain substantial proportions of international differences in them (Akkemik et al. 2013; Kubota et al. 2013). Our research question is how worldviews affect altruistic economic behavior towards parents, children and non-family members. Following an approach of studying cultures in anthropology explained in Hiebert (2008), we see a worldview behind each culture. Here, a worldview consists of the explicit and implicit levels. He posits different types of logics at the implicit level of the worldviewÂ\algorithmic logic and relational logic. This difference corresponds with NisbettÂfs (2003, pp. 139-147) hypothesis based on intellectual traditions in ancient Greece and ancient China is that Westerners would have a greater tendency to categorize objects than would Easterners. Nisbett cites experimental evidence for his hypothesis. It should be noted that it is not that every Westerner categorizes and every Easterner uses relationships. The difference is in distributions. More Westerners use categories than Easterners even though an individual Westerner may use relationships. We used survey data of Korea, Japan and the US that contains various measures of implicit and explicit worldviews, and individual preferences. We found that implicit worldviews as well as confidence in spiritual beliefs in explicit worldviews have statistically significant effects on some altruistic attitudes. This paper mainly differs from the previous literature in that it uses unique data that represent implicit worldviews about categories and relationships. The estimation results of this study contribute to shedding light on the effect of an individual foundational framework that is formulated at the implicit level on altruistic economic behaviors.
    Keywords: culture; implicit and explicit worldviews; categories; relationships; altruism
    JEL: D03 D64
    Date: 2014–11
  9. By: Shakya, Martina
    Abstract: Tourism has a wide range of impacts on the economy, the natural environment and the people living in a destination. In the context of poor, rural societies, many scholars have emphasized the positive impacts of tourism on local economic growth. Concern has been voiced, however, about the social and cultural impacts of tourism due to observed changes in local norms, values and behaviour. This paper proposes the concept of social capital to analyze the social and cultural effects of tourism in Nepal. Empirical evidence from a household survey and four village case studies reveals a decline of bonding social capital and an increase in bridging social capital in the concerned communities. Tourism can exacerbate local conflicts and reduce the relevance of indigenous self-help mechanisms. At the same time, tourism has promoted the formation of new institutions and offers opportunities to develop and expand hierarchical, extra-community networks, which are an important precondition for upward economic mobility. Highlighting the interdependencies and trade-offs between economic advancement and changes in social capital, the paper calls for a more pragmatic and less normative academic debate on the social and cultural impacts of tourism in developing countries.
    Keywords: Social capital; Tourism; Poverty; Risk; Rural development; Nepal
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Comola, Margherita (Paris School of Economics); Prina, Silvia (Case Western Reserve University)
    Abstract: A large literature has studied how peers affect behavior by exploiting the preexisting social network structure only. What if networks rewire in response to changes in the economic environment, such as a randomized intervention? We exploit a unique panel dataset that contains detailed information on the network of informal financial transactions before and after a field experiment that randomized access to savings accounts in Nepal. First, we show that the intervention affects the structure of the network of informal financial transactions among households. Second, we estimate a panel model of peer effects in expenditure where the network may change endogenously, and we exploit the design of the randomized intervention to instrument for the observed network change. Our results suggest that disregarding the network change would underestimate both total peer effects and the overall impact of the intervention.
    Keywords: networks, peer effects, financial access
    JEL: C31 D85 G2 O16
    Date: 2014–11
  11. By: De Martí, Joan; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We consider a network game with strategic complementarities where the individual reward or the strength of interactions is only partially known by the agents. Players receive different correlated signals and they make inferences about other players' information. We demonstrate that there exists a unique Bayesian-Nash equilibrium. We characterize the equilibrium by disentangling the information effects from the network effects and show that the equilibrium effort of each agent is a weighted combinations of different Katz-Bonacich centralities where the decay factors are the eigenvalues of the information matrix while the weights are its eigenvectors. We then study the impact of incomplete information on a network policy which aim is to target the most relevant agents in the network (key players). Compared to the complete information case, we show that the optimal targeting may be very different.
    Keywords: Bayesian games; key player policies; social networks; strategic complementarities
    JEL: C72 D82 D85
    Date: 2014–12
  12. By: Michaeli, Moti (Department of Economics and The Center for the Study); Spiro, Daniel (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: This paper studies the aggregate distribution of declared opinions and behavior when heterogeneous individuals make the trade-off between being true to their private opinions and conforming to an endogenous social norm. The model sheds light on how various punishment regimes induce conformity or law obedience, and by whom, and on phenomena such as societal polarization, unimodal concentration and alienation. In orthodox societies, individuals will tend to either fully conform or totally ignore the social norm, while individuals in liberal societies will tend to compromise between these two extremes. Furthermore, the degree of orthodoxy determines whether those who fairly agree with the norm or those who strongly disapprove it will conform. Likewise, the degree of liberalism determines which individuals will compromise the most. In addition, orthodox societies may adapt norms that are skewed with respect to the private opinions in society, while liberal societies will not do so.
    Keywords: Social pressure; Conformity; Liberal; Orthodox; Compliance
    JEL: D01 D30 D70 K42 Z10 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2013–12–30
  13. By: Bigoni, Maria; Camera, Gabriele; Casari, Marco
    Abstract: Impersonal exchange is the hallmark of an advanced society. One key institution for impersonal exchange is money, which economic theory considers just a primitive arrangement for monitoring past conduct in society. If so, then a public record of past actions - or memory - supersedes the function performed by money. This intriguing theoretical postulate remains untested. In an experiment, we show that the suggested functional equality between money and memory does not translate into an empirical equivalence. Monetary systems perform a richer set of functions than just revealing past behaviors, which proves to be crucial in promoting large-scale cooperation.
    Keywords: cooperation,intertemporal trade,experiments,social norms,social dilemmas
    JEL: C70 C90 D03 E02
    Date: 2014
  14. By: De Weerdt, Joachim; Genicot, Garance; Mesnard, Alice
    Abstract: This paper studies asymmetry of information and transfers within a unique data set of 712 extended family networks from Tanzania. Using cross-reports on asset holdings, we construct measures of misperception of income among all pairs of households belonging to the same network. We show that there is significant asymmetry of information and no evidence of major systematic over-evaluation or under-evaluation of income in our data, although there is a slight over-evaluation on the part of migrants regarding non-migrants. We develop a static model of asymmetric information that contrasts altruism, pressure and exchange as motives to transfer. The model makes predictions about the correlations between misperceptions and transfers under these competing explanations. Testing these predictions in the data gives support to the model of transfers under pressure or an exchange motive with the recipient holding all the bargaining power.
    Keywords: Altruism; Asymmetric Information; Exchange; Family Networks; Pressure; Transfers
    JEL: F22 F24
    Date: 2014–09
  15. By: van de Ven, Jeroen (University of Amsterdam); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: We investigate how different forms of scrutiny affect dishonesty, using Gneezy's (2005) deception game. We add a third player whose interests are aligned with those of the sender. We find that lying behavior is not sensitive to revealing the sender's identity to the observer. The option for observers to communicate with the sender, and the option to reveal the sender's lies to the receiver also do not affect lying behavior. Even more striking, senders whose identity is revealed to their observer do not lie less when their interests are misaligned with those of the observer.
    Keywords: deception, lies, dishonesty, social image, experiment
    JEL: C91 D83
    Date: 2014–11
  16. By: Giavazzi, Francesco; Petkov, Ivan; Schiantarelli, Fabio
    Abstract: This paper presents evidence on the speed of evolution (or lack thereof) of a wide range of values and beliefs of different generations of European immigrants to the US. The main result is that persistence differs greatly across cultural attitudes. Some, for instance deep personal religious values, some family and moral values, and political orientation converge very slowly to the prevailing US norm. Other, such as attitudes toward cooperation, redistribution, effort, children's independence, premarital sex, and even the frequency of religious practice or the intensity of association with one's religion, converge rather quickly. The results obtained studying higher generation immigrants differ greatly from those found when the analysis is limited to the second generation, as typically done in the literature, and they imply a lesser degree of persistence than previously thought. Finally, we show that persistence is “culture specific" in the sense that the country from which one's ancestors came matters for the pattern of generational convergence.
    Keywords: beliefs; culture; evolution; immigration; integration; persistence; transmission; values
    JEL: A13 F22 J00 J61 Z1
    Date: 2014–06

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