nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒01‒09
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Voting and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Mozambique By Marcel Fafchamps; Ana Vaz; Pedro C. Vicente
  2. Institutions, Civil Society, Trust and Quality of Life: A Social Capital- And Social Identity-Based Approach. Evidence from the Russian Federation By Guido Sechi; Alexander Tatarko; Jurgis Skilters
  3. Institutional Quality, Trust and Stock-Market Participation: Learning to Forget By Asgharian, Hossein; Liu, Lu; Lundtofte, Frederik
  4. Cultural Differences and Institutional Integration By Luigi Guiso; Helios Herrera; Massimo Morelli
  5. Migration, Friendship Ties, and Cultural Assimilation By Facchini, Giovanni; Patacchini, Eleonora; Steinhardt, Max
  6. Immigration and Crime: New Empirical Evidence from European Victimization Data By Nunziata, Luca
  7. Stability in informal insurances: an approach by networks and overlapping coalitions By Messan Agbaglah
  8. System Trust and Cooperation: The Case of Recycling Behavior By Rompf, Stephan Alexander
  9. Social norms, Morals and Self-interest as Determinants of Pro-environment Behaviours By Czajkowski, Mikolaj; Hanley, Nick; Nyborg, Karine
  10. Coworkers, Networks, and Job Search Outcomes By Saygin, Perihan; Weber, Andrea; Weynandt, Michèle A.
  11. Social Networks and Factor Markets: Panel Data Evidence from Ethiopia By Kibrom A. Abay; Goytom Abraha Kahsay; Guush Berhane
  12. Beware of feedback effects among trust, risk and public opinion: Quantitative estimates of rational versus emotional influences on attitudes toward genetic modification By Kelley, Jonathan

  1. By: Marcel Fafchamps; Ana Vaz; Pedro C. Vicente
    Abstract: Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter particpation and political accountability. We follow randomized interventions implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using a free newspaper, leaflets, and text messaging. We investigate whether treatment effects were transmitted through social networks (kinship and chatting) and geographical proximity. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimate the reinforcement effect of proximity to other targeted individuals. For untargeted individuals, we estimate the diffusion of the campaign depending on a proximity to targeted individuals. We find evidence for both effects, similar across the different treatments and across the different connectedness measures. We observe that the treatments worked through the networks by raising the levels of information and interest about the election, in line with the average treatment effects of voter education on voter participation. We interpret this result as a free riding effect, likely to occur for costly actions. JEL codes:
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Guido Sechi; Alexander Tatarko; Jurgis Skilters
    Abstract: Many scholars, since the early 2000s, advocate for the integration of institutionalist and communitarian views of social capital generation in order to explain civil society dynamics, in particular in countries ? such as former communist states - characterized by transitional processes, with a relevant impact on the structure of societies, and by peculiar features of social networking. According to such a view, the civil society is the resultant of a combination of factors related to the social structure of the social community and the institutional environment, and the ways in which such levels interact. This view is, in a broader sense, an attempt at investigating in a more effective way the way in which social assets in society are generated, and their relation with socio-economic and sustainable development. However, attempted empirical analysis on the basis of such an approach have been mainly carried out at macro level, this way overlooking, to a large extent, the individual determinants of social capital and civic engagement, and the interplay of perceptions of community and institutions and social attitudes. The present paper is an attempt at conciliating the institutionalist and communitarian frameworks through a micro level-focused model, able to investigate the linkage between institutional climate and civic engagement and trust with the support of social psychology theories (in particular, social identity theory). In detail, the proposed approach emphasizes the linkages existing between perceptions of institutional behaviour and civil society empowerment on the one hand, and individual engagement and trust in the society and civil identity on the other; it also focuses on the way in which perceptions and attitudes are related to quality of life (measured in terms of well-being and job-related satisfaction). The analysis is based on over 2000 observations from two macrodistricts of the Russian Federation (Central and North Caucasus okrugs) and over 1000 from the Republic of Latvia. The proposed model investigates the possible causal chain existing between perceptions of civil society empowerment, trust towards institutions, civic engagement, trust and tolerance in the society, and quality of life perception, through a structural equation modelling-based quantitative approach for ordinal variables. Socio-demographic and socio-cultural features (e.g. ethno-religious self-identification, level of education, political affiliation, profession) are accounted for as control variables.
    JEL: Z10 B52 D83 C01
    Date: 2014–11
  3. By: Asgharian, Hossein (Department of Economics, Lund University); Liu, Lu (Department of Economics, Lund University); Lundtofte, Frederik (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We explore the relation between institutional quality, trust and stock-market participation. In our theoretical model, agents update their beliefs in a Bayesian manner based on observations on frauds and choose whether to invest in the stock market. The corresponding empirical model shows that institutional quality affects trust and that the part of trust that is explained by institutional quality influences stock-market participation. For immigrants, we consider learning factors, such as education and duration of stay, and we find that the impact of the institutional quality of the country of residence, relative to that of the home country, tends to increase with education.
    Keywords: institutional quality; learning; trust; stock-market participation
    JEL: C13 G11
    Date: 2014–11–20
  4. By: Luigi Guiso; Helios Herrera; Massimo Morelli
    Abstract: If citizens of different countries belonging to an economic union adhere to different and deeply rooted cultural norms, when these countries interact their leaders may find it impossible to agree on efficient policies, especially in hard times. Political leaders’ actions are bound to express policies that do not violate these norms. This paper provides a simple positive theory and a compelling case study of the importance of cultural clashes when economies integrate, as well as a normative argument about the desirability of institutional integration. Namely, we argue that a political union, with a common institutions and enforcement of rules, is a solution which is most beneficial the greater is cultural diversity in an economic union. JEL Classification: D72 Keywords: Cultural Norms, Institutions, Crisis Mismanagement.
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Facchini, Giovanni; Patacchini, Eleonora; Steinhardt, Max
    Abstract: In this paper we contribute to the analysis of the assimilation process of migrants by analyzing the extent to which friendship with natives can be seen as a measure of cultural assimilation and investigating the formation of social ties in the host country. Using novel information from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we find that migrants with a German friend are more similar to natives than those without a local companion along several important dimensions, including concerns about the economy, interest in politics and broad policy issues like the environment, crime, and xenophobia. When looking at the determinants of friendship acquisition, we find that becoming employed is a significant driver of social network variation. Other factors affecting ties with the native population include the number of years the migrant has spent in the country, the birth of a child, residential mobility and additional education in the host country.
    Keywords: Culture; Ethnic minorities; Friendship Formation; Migration
    JEL: A14 J15 J61
    Date: 2014–06
  6. By: Nunziata, Luca (University of Padova)
    Abstract: We exploit the increase in immigration flows into western European countries that took place in the 2000s to assess whether immigration affects crime victimization and the perception of criminality among European natives. Using data from the European Social Survey, the Labour Force Survey and other sources, we provide a set of fixed effects and instrumental variable estimations that deal with the endogenous sorting of immigration by region and with the sampling error in survey based measures of regional immigration shares, whose implications in terms of attenuation bias are investigated by means of Monte Carlo simulations. Our empirical findings show that an increase in immigration does not affect crime victimization, but it is associated with an increase in the fear of crime, the latter being consistently and positively correlated with the natives' unfavourable attitude toward immigrants. Our results reveal a misconception of the link between immigration and crime among European natives.
    Keywords: crime, migration, victimization, perception, fear
    JEL: J15 J61 K42 F22 R23 O15
    Date: 2014–11
  7. By: Messan Agbaglah (Département d'économique, Université de Sherbrooke)
    Abstract: Based on empirical facts, we build a model of informal insurance institutions and study their stability. In our setting, risk sharing groups are overlapping homogenous coalitions, originating from networks of historical trust relationships. We derive a general folk theorem that works in an environment of uncertainty and we identify the determinants of stability which are robust to social norms. Our results provide theoretical explanations for empirical findings, including the puzzle that rich families in rural economies in developing countries consume less. Our approach bridges the two traditional approaches of clubs and bilateral agreements.
    Keywords: Informal insurance, networks, overlapping coalitions, stability
    JEL: O17 Z13 D85 D71
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Rompf, Stephan Alexander
    Abstract: Abstract: In this paper, I develop and test the hypothesis that system trust – trust in the reliability, ef-fectiveness, and legitimacy of social institutions – promotes cooperation in social dilemmas and the provision of public goods, focusing then on the example of recycling. I discuss three models that can explain recycling behavior (rational choice, low-cost hypothesis, dual-process theory) and show how they link incentives and attitudes. All three models claim that incentives are an important factor mediating the attitude-behavior link, but they develop con-tradicting hypotheses about the direction of this effect. I use survey data collected by Sønderskov and Daugbjerg (2011) to advance an empirical test. I find a positive and significant interaction between the attitude of system trust and recycling costs, as well as a negative and significant interaction between system trust and recycling benefits. The data rule out the rational choice and low-cost hypothesis explanation of recycling behavior. Instead, they indicate that attitudes moderate the impact of the incentive structure, increasing cooperation in collective action dilemmas irrespective of the costs associated with compliance.
    Keywords: system trust, cooperation, recycling, rational choice, low-cost hypothesis, adaptive rationality
    JEL: D87 G02 Z13
    Date: 2014–07–04
  9. By: Czajkowski, Mikolaj (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Poland); Hanley, Nick (University of St Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development, UK,); Nyborg, Karine (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    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 choice experiment designed to empirically investigate the effects such drivers have on stated choices. Using a latent class model, we distingush 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.
    Keywords: Household recycling; choice experiment; latent class model
    JEL: D01 D64 Q53
    Date: 2014–08–30
  10. By: Saygin, Perihan; Weber, Andrea; Weynandt, Michèle A.
    Abstract: Social networks are an important channel of information transmission in the labor market. This paper studies the mechanisms by which social networks have an impact on labor market outcomes of displaced workers. We base our analysis on administrative records for the universe of private sector employment in Austria where we define work-related networks formed by past coworkers. To distinguish between mechanisms of information transmission, we adopt two different network perspectives. From the job-seeker's perspective we analyze how network characteristics affect job finding rates and wages in the new jobs. Then we switch to the perspective of the hiring firm and analyze which types of displaced workers get hired by firms that are connected to a closing firm via past coworker links. Our results indicate that employment status and the firm types of former coworkers are crucial for the job finding success of their displaced contacts. Moreover, 21% of displaced workers find a new job in a firm that is connected to their former workplace. Among all workers that were displaced from the same closing firm those with a direct link to a former coworker are twice as likely to be hired by the connected firm than workers without a link. These results highlight the role of work related networks in the transmission of job information and strongly suggest that job referrals are an important mechanism.
    Keywords: Job Displacement; Plant Closure; Referral Hiring; Social Networks
    JEL: J63 J64 M51
    Date: 2014–06
  11. By: Kibrom A. Abay (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Goytom Abraha Kahsay (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen); Guush Berhane (Development Strategies and Governance Division, International Food Policy Research Institute)
    Abstract: In the absence of well-established factor markets, the role of indigenous institutions and social networks can be substantial for mobilizing factors for agricultural production. We investigate the role of an indigenous social network in Ethiopia, the iddir, in facilitating factor market transactions among smallholder farmers. Using detailed longitudinal household survey data and employing a difference-in-differences approach, we find that iddir membership improves households’ access to factor markets. Specifically, we find that joining an iddir network improves households’ access to land, labor and credit transactions between 7 and 11 percentage points. Furthermore, our findings also indicate that iddir networks crowd-out borrowing from local moneylenders (locally referred as Arata Abedari), a relatively expensive credit source, virtually without affecting borrowing from formal credit sources. These results point out the roles non-market arrangements, such as social networks, can play in mitigating market inefficiencies in poor rural markets.
    Keywords: Social networks, iddir networks, factor market imperfections, factor market transactions, crowding-out
    JEL: D02 D13 D71 D83 D85 O17 Q12
    Date: 2014–11
  12. By: Kelley, Jonathan
    Abstract: Support for genetic modification in agriculture mainly stems from approval of food and agricultural goals. It is facilitated by trust in the judgment of scientific authorities and undermined by anxiety about the risks involved. But there are symptoms of danger: Any public opinion data that show significant correlations between perceptions of fact (risk, trust etc.) and background characteristics (age, sex, religion, politics) or goals (environmental, medical, economic) typically reflect emotional feedback effects as well as rational scientific ones. Estimates from regression are then biased and more complex models required. Our structural equation analyses of five large, representative national surveys of Australia (N = 8730) provide precise estimates of the magnitude of these effects, including reciprocal effects reflecting emotional influences. We also find that: (1) acceptance of the scientific worldview modestly increases support both directly and also indirectly through its influence on trust; (2) family socio-economic background increases knowledge of genetic engineering but is otherwise inconsequential; and (3) religious belief greatly hinders acceptance of the scientific worldview and slightly increases anxiety about risks.
    Keywords: trust, risk, genetic modification, genetic engineering, scientific worldview, religious belief, public opinion, reciprocal effects, SEM, Australia, survey research, rational choice, emotional feedback, irrational effects
    JEL: D81 I18 O33 Q55 Q57 Q58 Z13 Z18
    Date: 2014–11–01

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