nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒01‒03
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. "American Idol" - 65 years of Admiration By Alan Manning; Amar Shanghavi
  2. Social Capital Stocks, Giving Flows and Welfare Outcomes By Lorna Zischka
  3. Love Thy Neighbor - Religion and Prosocial Behavior By Guido Heineck
  4. Hedonic quality, social norms, and environmental campaigns By Andrea Mantovani; Ornella Tarola; Cecilia Vergari
  5. Identifying Social Norms Using Coordination Games: Spectators vs. Stakeholders By Hande Erkut; Daniele Nosenzo; Martin Sefton
  6. Neighborhood and Network Effects By Topa, Giorgio; Zenou, Yves
  7. How individual characteristics shape the structure of social networks By Yann Girard; Florian Hett; Daniel Schunk
  8. Social norms, morals and self-interest as determinants of pro-environment behaviour By Mikolaj Czajkowski; Nick Hanley; Karine Nyborg
  9. Cooperation among Strangers in the Presence of Defectors: An Experimental Study By Luciana Cecilia Moscoso Boedo; Lucia Quesada; Marcela Tarazona
  10. Skewed Norms under Peer Pressure: Formation and Collapse By Michaeli, Moti; Spiro, Daniel
  11. Perceptions of ethno-cultural diversity and neighborhood cohesion in three European countries By Koopmans, Ruud; Schaeffer, Merlin
  12. Urban Spatial Structure, Employement and Social Ties By Pierre Picard; Yves Zenou

  1. By: Alan Manning; Amar Shanghavi
    Abstract: Since the 1940s Gallup has, every December, asked Americans about the living man and woman they most admire. This paper documents the way in which the types of people who are admired has changed and argues that the responses to this question tells us something about the way in which society has been evolving - the 65 years of data are probably the longest consistent series on social attitudes. We argue on theoretical grounds and show using empirical analysis that admiration can be linked to trust, and specifically that admiring the president is strongly related to trust in government. Using this link we can provide information on trends in trust on a consistent basis back to the late 1940s, earlier than most other data sources. Finally, the paper investigates the link between admiration and media mentions. We show that people who receive a relatively large number of mentions in newspapers in particular year and state are also more likely to be admired by people.
    Keywords: Admiration, trust
    JEL: Z1
    Date: 2014–12
  2. By: Lorna Zischka (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: Giving is a quintessentially relational activity. Giving time and money to meet the needs of persons other than oneself fosters interpersonal trust, social cohesion and collaboration; relational factors that are foundational to productivity and life-satisfaction. Citizenship Survey data from the UK is used to provide empirical evidence for the link between this ‘social capital’ and giving, and giving and welfare outcomes. Welfare is measured in private terms (life-satisfaction and income) as well as in communal terms (trust, crime and deprivation). We find that giving levels interact with all expressions of welfare on a similar scale to big social issues like unemployment, race, education, ill-health and low incomes. People who give only when constrained to do so by social pressures have less association with positive welfare outcomes than those who give freely. We propose that giving flows link social capital stocks to welfare outcomes, and that positive welfare outcomes also incentivize time and money investments back into the relational (social) capital stock. Understanding social capital and its benefits through the prism of giving flows clarifies how one might invest in the relational stock. It also bypasses many measurement complexities by targeting the flow to and from the stock rather than the stock itself.
    Date: 2014–07–17
  3. By: Guido Heineck
    Abstract: There is a long tradition in psychology, the social sciences and, more recently though, economics to hypothesize that religion enhances prosocial behavior. Evidence from both survey and experimental data however yield mixed results and there is barely any evidence for Germany. This study adds to this literature by exploring data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which provides both attitudinal (importance of helping others, of being socially active) and behavioral components of prosociality (volunteering, charitable giving and blood donations). Results from analyses that avoid issues of reverse causality suggest mainly for moderate, positive effects of individuals' religious involvement as measured by church affiliation and church attendance. Despite the historic divide in religion, results in West and East Germany do not differ substantially.
    Keywords: Religion, prosocial behavior, Germany
    JEL: D64 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Andrea Mantovani (University of Bologna & IEB); Ornella Tarola (University of Rome "La Sapienza"); Cecilia Vergari (University of Bologna)
    Abstract: We analyse how market competition in a vertically differentiated polluting industry is affected by product variants that comply at different levels with "green" social norms. A green consumption behavior is considered as a byword of good citizenship. Consumer preferences depend on a combination of hedonic quality and compliance with social norms. Assuming that the high hedonic quality variant complies less with these norms than the low hedonic quality variant, we characterize different equilibrium configurations which appear as a result of both the intensity of such norms and the country-specific income dispersion. Then, we focus on the role that institutions may have in using these norms to reduce pollution emissions.
    Keywords: Hedonic quality, environmental quality, relative preferences, environmental campaign
    JEL: D62 L13
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Hande Erkut (Department of Economics, Maastricht University); Daniele Nosenzo (University of Nottingham, School of Economics); Martin Sefton (University of Nottingham, School of Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate social norms for dictator game giving using a recently proposed norm-elicitation procedure (Krupka and Weber, 2013). We elicit norms separately from dictator, recipient, and disinterested third party respondents and find that elicited norms are stable and insensitive to the role of the respondent. The results support the use of this procedure as a method for measuring social norms.
    Keywords: social norms; dictator games
  6. By: Topa, Giorgio; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: In this chapter, we provide an overview of research on neighborhoods and social networks and their role in shaping behavior and economic outcomes. We include discussion of empirical and theoretical analyses of the role of neighborhoods and social networks in crime, education and labor-market outcomes. In particular, we discuss in detail identification problems in peer, neighborhood and network effects and the policy implications of integrating the social and the geographical space, especially for ethnic minorities.
    Keywords: ethnic minorities; group-based policies; labor economics; neighborhoods; social networks
    JEL: C23 D85 J15 J64 K42 R14 Z13
    Date: 2014–09
  7. By: Yann Girard (GSEFM, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany); Florian Hett (GSEFM, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany); Daniel Schunk (Department of Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz, Germany)
    Abstract: We study how students’ social networks emerge by documenting systematic patterns in the process of friendship formation of incoming students; these students all start out in a new environment and thus jointly create a new social network. As a specific novelty, we consider cooperativeness, time and risk preferences - elicited experimentally - together with factors like socioeconomic and personality characteristics. We find a number of robust predictors of link formation and of the position within the social network (local and global network centrality). In particular, cooperativeness has a complex association with link formation. We also find evidence for homophily along several dimensions. Finally, our results show that despite these systematic patterns, social network structures can be exogenously manipulated, as we find that random assignments of students to groups on the first two days of university impacts the students’ friendship formation process.
    Keywords: Social networks, education, link formation, homophily, cooperation, field and lab data
    JEL: C93 D85 I25 J24
    Date: 2014–11–17
  8. By: Mikolaj Czajkowski (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Poland); Nick Hanley (School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews); Karine Nyborg (University of Oslo, Department of Economics, Norway)
    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.
    JEL: D22 F18 Q41 Q52
    Date: 2014–08
  9. By: Luciana Cecilia Moscoso Boedo (Division of Economics, CIDE); Lucia Quesada; Marcela Tarazona
    Abstract: Does the rotten apple spoils his companions? This is the question we analyze in the context of a repeated population game with behavioral types. Our experimental results show that the inclusion of a non-cooperative player in an anonymous community makes cooperation much more difficult to sustain but that individuals still manage to trust some of the permanent players of society. The rotten apple lowers the quality of the companions, but is not able to completely spoil them.
    Keywords: Population games, anonymous random matching, social norms.
    JEL: C71 C93
    Date: 2013–11
  10. By: Michaeli, Moti (Department of Economics, and Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University,); Spiro, Daniel (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: This paper shows that peer pressure may lead to dynamic convergence to a norm that is skewed with respect to preferences in society, yet is endogenously upheld by the population. Moreover, a skewed norm will often be more sustainable than a representative norm. This may explain the skewness of various social and religious norms. By furthermore interpreting a norm as a political regime, we show that biased regimes can be sustained even without the existence of a powerful group with coherent interests. We analyze the pattern by which political regimes collapse and relate it to contemporary revolutions and mass protests.
    Keywords: Peer pressure; Social norm; Revolution; Protest movement; Alienation; Religion
    JEL: D02 D03 D72 D74 Z10 Z12
    Date: 2014–06–30
  11. By: Koopmans, Ruud; Schaeffer, Merlin
    Abstract: The question whether ethnic diversity is associated with declining social cohesion has produced much controversy. We maintain that more attention must be paid to cognitive mechanisms to move the debate ahead. Using survey data from 938 localities in Germany, France, and the Netherlands, we explore a crucial individual-level mechanism: perceptions of diversity. We not only consider perceptions of the amount, but also of the qualitative nature of diversity. By asking about various qualitative aspects of diversity, we test the cognitive salience of three explanations that have been proposed in the literature for negative diversity effects: out-group biases, asymmetric preferences and coordination problems. We show that all three mechanisms matter. Perceptions both mediate statistical diversity effects, and have important explanatory power of their own. Moreover, we are able to address the question to what extend the relationship of perceived diversity and neighborhood social cohesion varies across policy contexts. Based on assumptions in the literature about positive impacts of inclusive and culturally pluralist immigrant integration policy approaches, we hypothesize that ethno-cultural diversity is less negatively related to neighborhood social cohesion in more inclusive policy contexts. Our results provide partial support for this hypothesis as perceived diversity has a significantly stronger negative impact on neighborhood cohesion in Germany.
    Keywords: Social Cohesion,Social Capital,Ethnic Diversity,Immigration,Intergroup Relations,Community Erosion
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Pierre Picard (Université du Luxembourg); Yves Zenou (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We develop a model where workers both choose their residential location (geographical space) and social interactions (social space). In equilibrium, we show under which condition the majority group resides close to the job center while the minority group lives far away from it. Even though the two populations are ex ante totally identical, we find that the majority group experiences a lower unemployment rate than the minority group and tends to socially interact more with other workers of its own group. Within each group, we demonstrate that workers residing farther away from the job center tend to search less for a job and are less likely to be employed. This model is thus able to explain why ethnic minorities are segregated in the urban and social space and why this leads to adverse labor-market outcomes in the absence of any discrimination against the minority group.
    Keywords: Social interactions, segregation, labor market, spacial mismatch
    JEL: A14 J15 R14 Z13
    Date: 2014

This nep-soc issue is ©2015 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.