nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒06‒13
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Bowling alone or bowling at all? The effect of unemployment on social participation By Kunze, Lars; Suppa, Nicolai
  2. Does Education Increase Interethnic and Interreligious Tolerance? Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Roth, Christopher; Sumarto, Sudarno
  3. Trust, happiness, and households’ financial decisions By Delis, Manthos; Mylonidis, Nikolaos
  4. In-group favoritism and discrimination among multiple out-groups By Grimm, Veronika; Utikal, Verena; Valmasoni, Lorenzo
  5. Trust and beliefs among Europeans: Cross-country evidence on perceptions and behavior By Dieckmann, Anja; Fischbacher, Urs; Grimm, Veronika; Unfried, Matthias; Utikal, Verena; Valmasoni, Lorenzo
  6. Social Capital and the Repayment of Microfinance Group Lending. A Case Study of Pro Mujer Mexico By Luminita Postelnicu; Niels Hermes; Roselia Servin Juarez
  7. Peer Effects, Fast Food Consumption and Adolescent Weight Gain By Fortin, Bernard; Yazbeck, Myra
  8. Do Parental Networks Pay Off? Linking Children's Labor-Market Outcomes to their Parents' Friends By Plug, Erik; van der Klaauw, Bas; Ziegler, Lennart
  9. Peers at Work - a Brief Overview of the Literature on Peer Effects at the Workplace and the Policy Implications By Clara Welteke
  10. Social norms and mothers' labor market attachment: The medium-run effects of parental benefits By Kluve, Jochen; Schmitz, Sebastian
  11. Peer effects in collaborative content generation: The evidence from German Wikipedia By Slivko, Olga
  12. In good company: Neighborhood quality and female employment By Bechara, Peggy; Eilers, Lea; Paloyo, Alfredo R.
  13. Peer effects in language training for migrants By Sprietsma, Maresa; Pfeil, Lisa

  1. By: Kunze, Lars; Suppa, Nicolai
    Abstract: This article examines the impact of unemployment on social participation for Germany using the German Socio-Economic Panel. We find significant negative, robust and, for some activities, lasting effects of unemployment on social participation. Causality is established by focussing on plant closures as exogenous entries into unemployment. Social norms, labor market prospects and the perception of individual failure are shown to be relevant for explaining these findings. Furthermore, our results not only (i) provide novel insights into the determinants of the unemployed's unhappiness but also (ii) highlight an hitherto unexplored channel through which unemployment influences economic outcomes, namely by altering the long-run level of social capital, and (iii) point to an alternative explanation of unemployment hysteresis based on access to information.
    Abstract: Dieser Aufsatz untersucht den Einfluss von Arbeitslosigkeit auf soziale Teilnahme in Deutschland mit Hilfe von Daten des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels. Die Autoren finden signifikant negative, robuste und, für bestimmte Aktivitäten, andauernde Effekte von Arbeitslosigkeit auf soziale Teilnahme. Eine kausale Interpretation der Ergebnisse wird durch die Betrachtung von Betriebsschließungen als exogene Eintritte in Arbeitslosigkeit ermöglicht. Soziale Normen, Arbeitsmarktaussichten sowie die Wahrnehmung individuellen Versagens spielen eine wichtige Rolle für die Erklärung dieser Resultate. Zudem liefern die Ergebnisse (i) neue Einsichten in die Determinanten der Lebenszufriedenheit von Arbeitslosen, (ii) betonen einen bisher vernachlässigten Wirkungskanal, durch welchen Arbeitslosigkeit ökonomische Zustände beeinflusst - die Veränderung des langfristigen Niveaus an Sozialkapital - und (iii) deuten auf eine alternative Erklärung für das Phänomen der Arbeitsmarkt Hysteresis, basierend auf einem eingeschränkten Informationszugang, hin.
    Keywords: unemployment,social participation,plant closure,fixed effects,well-being
    JEL: J64 I31
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Roth, Christopher; Sumarto, Sudarno
    Abstract: Can the government increase tolerance among its citizens by providing them with more schooling? We exploit a large school building program from Indonesia to examine the causal relationship between education and attitudes towards people from a different ethnicity and religion. Our generalized difference-in-differences estimates suggest that receiving more education causes an increase in interethnic and interreligious tolerance. Specifically, a one standard d eviation increase in education results in a .4 standard deviation increase in tolerance. We demonstrate robustness of results and show that the common trend assumption is satisfied. Subsequently, we shed light light on several mechanisms: first, treated individuals are more likely to migrate, to live in cities and to work in occupations outside of agriculture. This in turn, increases their incomes and the religious and economic diversity of their social environment. Second, we employ an additional identification strategy to show that the educational content under Suharto emphasizing the national unity of Indonesia is an important mechanism underlying the estimated treatment effects.
    Keywords: Racism, Tolerance, Education, Natural Experiment
    JEL: D02 H4 I2
    Date: 2015–05–21
  3. By: Delis, Manthos; Mylonidis, Nikolaos
    Abstract: A recent line of research highlights trust as an important element guiding the decision of households to invest into risky financial assets and insurance products. This paper contributes to this literature by identifying happiness as another key driver of the same decision. Using detailed survey data from a sample of Dutch households, we show that the impact of happiness on households’ financial decisions works in the opposite direction and is more economically important compared to trust. Specifically, happiness leads to a lower probability of investing into risky financial assets and having insurance, while trust has the usual positive effect found in the literature. Furthermore, the negative effect of happiness on the ownership of risky financial assets is about 6% higher compared to the positive equivalent of trust. Similarly, the negative effect of happiness on the ownership of insurance is 3% higher than the positive effect of trust.
    Keywords: Trust; happiness; households; financial decisions
    JEL: G11 G19
    Date: 2015–06–01
  4. By: Grimm, Veronika; Utikal, Verena; Valmasoni, Lorenzo
    Abstract: In this study, we investigate how and why people discriminate among different groups, including their own groups and multiple out-groups. In a laboratory experiment, we use dictator games for five groups to compare actual transfers to in-group and out-group agents with the respective beliefs held by dictators and recipients in these groups. We observe both in-group favoritism and discrimination among multiple out-groups. Individuals expect others to be in-group biased, as well as to be treated differently by different out-groups. Dictators' in-group favoritism is positively related to the degree of in-group favoritism they expect other dictators to exhibit. Moreover, we find that a dictator tends to be relatively more generous toward a specific out-group when he or she expects that dictators belonging to that out-group are generous toward members of his or her ingroup.
    Keywords: discrimination,experiment,group identity,dictator game,beliefs
    JEL: C91 C92 D84 D01 D64
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Dieckmann, Anja; Fischbacher, Urs; Grimm, Veronika; Unfried, Matthias; Utikal, Verena; Valmasoni, Lorenzo
    Abstract: We conduct an experimental study among European citizens regarding cross-cultural perceptions related to trust in two dimensions: volunteerism and honesty. We use representative samples from five major economies of the Euro area: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. We find that European citizens rely on nationality to infer behavior. Assessments of behavior show a north/south pattern in which participants from northern countries are perceived to be more honest and to provide more effort in a volunteering game than are participants from southern countries. Actual behavior is, however, not always in line with these assessments. Assessments of honesty show strong evidence of social projection: Participants expect other European citizens to be less honest if they are culturally closer to themselves. Assessments of volunteerism instead show a similar north/south-pattern in which both northern and southern Europeans expect higher performance of northerners than they do of southerners.
    Keywords: Cross-cultural perceptions,Europe,Honesty,Real effort,Representative experiment
    JEL: D82 D84 C93 Z13
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Luminita Postelnicu; Niels Hermes; Roselia Servin Juarez
    Abstract: This paper investigates how social networks of group borrowers come into play in joint liability group lending. We use a large and original dataset containing 802 mapped social networks of borrowers from Pro Mujer Mexico. This is the first paper to look at external ties, i.e. social ties with individuals outside the borrowing group. Our main finding is that group lending with joint liability works when group borrowers use the informal risk insurance arrangement embedded in their external ties as guarantee for loan repayment. The extent to which this informal arrangement is used as guarantee is not decided by the borrower, but it is determined by the configuration of the group borrowers’ social networks, i.e. by their overlapping networks. These overlapping networks (or information channels) facilitate the diffusion of information into each other’s networks, and, thus, increases the credibility of the threat of losing one’s informal risk insurance arrangement in case of default. Our results show that the threat of losing the informal risk insurance arrangement embedded in one’s external ties matters for loan repayment even more than internal ties (i.e. ties between group members).
    Date: 2015–05–27
  7. By: Fortin, Bernard (Université Laval); Yazbeck, Myra (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: This paper aims at opening the black box of peer effects in adolescent weight gain. Using Add Health data on secondary schools in the U.S., we investigate whether these partly flow through the eating habits channel. Adolescents are assumed to interact through a friendship social network. We propose a two-equation model. The first equation provides a social interaction model of fast food consumption. To estimate this equation we use a quasi maximum likelihood approach that allows us to control for common environment at the network level and to solve the simultaneity (reflection) problem. Our second equation is a panel dynamic weight production function relating an individual's Body Mass Index z-score (zBMI) to his fast food consumption and his lagged zBMI, and allowing for irregular intervals in the data. Results show that there are positive but small peer effects in fast food consumption among adolescents belonging to a same friendship school network. Based on our preferred specification, the estimated social multiplier is 1.15. Our results also suggest that, in the long run, an extra day of weekly fast food restaurant visits increases zBMI by 4.45% when ignoring peer effects and by 5.11%, when they are taken into account.
    Keywords: fast food, social interactions, peer effects, overweight, obesity, spatial models
    JEL: C31 I10 I12
    Date: 2015–05
  8. By: Plug, Erik (University of Amsterdam); van der Klaauw, Bas (VU University Amsterdam); Ziegler, Lennart (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether children are better off if their parents have stronger social networks. Using data on high-school friendships of parents, we analyze whether the number and characteristics of friends affect the labor-market outcomes of children. While parental friendships formed in high school appear long lasting, we find no significant impact on their children's occupational choices and earnings prospects. These results do not change when we account for network endogeneity, network persistency and network measurement error. Only when children enter the labor market, we find that friends of parents have a marginally significant but small influence on the occupational choice of children.
    Keywords: social networks, occupational choice, informal job search, intergenerational effects
    JEL: A14 J24 J62
    Date: 2015–05
  9. By: Clara Welteke
    Abstract: Individuals do not exist in isolation but are embedded within networks of relationships, such as families, coworkers, neighbors, friendships or socioeconomic groups. While there is a long tradition in sociology and anthropology focusing on theimportance of social structure, norms and culture, economists have long ignored social influences on individual behavior. Even though social influences may play an important role in the evaluation of policies, economic evaluations are typicallyfocused on the central question how individuals independently respond to financial incentives. However, economic reforms or the introduction of new policy instruments are likely to affect individuals not only directly by the change in financial incentives, but also indirectly by a change in the behavior of the social environment. At the workplace, one can distinguish four contexts where peer effects may be relevant factors in explaining the observed outcomes; these are (a) job search and employment probabilities; (b) fertility, parental leave and female labor supply; (c) productivity and work place behavior; and (d) retirement and pension plan decisions. Consequently, it is of large importance to understand and predictsocial interaction effects in these four areas of research and comprehend the implications for economic policy. In the following, I will give an overview of the existing literature in each of the contexts where peer effects at work may evolve, after briefly discussing the challenges associated with the empirical analysis of peer effects.
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Kluve, Jochen; Schmitz, Sebastian
    Abstract: Increasing mothers' labor supply is a key policy challenge in many OECD countries. Germany recently introduced a generous parental benefit that allows for strong consumption smoothing after childbirth and, by taking into account opportunity costs of childbearing, incentivizes working women to become mothers and return to the labor force rapidly. Using a sharp regression discontinuity design, we estimate policy impacts for up to 5 years after childbirth and find significant and striking patterns. First, medium-run effects on mothers' employment probability are positive, significant and large, for some subgroups ranging up to 10 per cent. The effects are driven by gains in part-time but not full-time employment. We also find significant increases in working hours. Second, the probability of job continuity rises significantly, i.e. mothers return to their pre-childbirth employer at higher rates. Third, employers reward this return to work by raising job quality significantly and substantially. We argue that the policy generated a profound change in social norms: the new parental benefit defines an 'anchor', i.e. a societally preferred point in time at which mothers return to work after childbirth.
    Keywords: parental benefits,female labor supply,regression discontinuity
    JEL: H31 J13 J22
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Slivko, Olga
    Abstract: On Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopedia, editors who contribute to the same articles and exchange comments on articles' talk pages work in collaborative manner engaging in communication about their work. Thus they can be considered as peers who are likely to influence each other. In this article, I examine whether the activity of these peers, measured by the average amount of peer contributions or by the number of peers, yields spillovers to the amount of individual contributions. The partially overlapping group structure allows to identify peer effects and to use the number of the indirect peers as an instrument for the activity and the number of direct peers. The results show that, while controlling for observable editor and peer characteristics, an increase in the monthly average peer contribution by 1 per cent increases the amount of individual monthly contributions to Wikipedia (among individuals that contribute to Wikipedia every month) by about 0.44 per cent. Similarly, spillovers coming from the number of peers yield a positive effect of 0.17 per cent per article to 0.05 per cent for overall monthly contributions to Wikipedia.
    Keywords: Peer Effects,Network of Editors,Direct and Indirect Peers,User-generated Content,Wikipedia
    JEL: D83 D85
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Bechara, Peggy; Eilers, Lea; Paloyo, Alfredo R.
    Abstract: Using a uniquely assembled panel dataset, we estimate the impact of neighborhood and peer effects on female labor supply. Nonrandom sorting and unobserved heterogeneity at the individual and neighborhood levels make recovering these impact parameters more complicated in the absence of (quasi-)experimental variation in neighborhood attributes. Our estimation strategy rests on using a hedonic pricing model to control for neighborhood-level unobserved heterogeneity and using a fixed-effects approach to account for the correlation induced by individual time-invariant unobservables. The results suggest that women's participation behavior is significantly associated with peer and neighborhood attributes. The extensive margin is driven by the average female employment rate; the intensive margin is driven by the average share of fulltime employed females in the neighborhood. These relationships are stronger in the subsample of mothers. However, these statistically significant associations do not survive when we control for individual time-invariant unobservable heterogeneity.
    Abstract: Unter Verwendung eines kombinierten Datensatzes, in dem Individualdaten um Nachbarschaftsinformationen ergänzt wurden, wird in diesem Papier der Einfluss der Nachbarschaft auf das individuelle Arbeitsangebot von Frauen untersucht. Aufgrund von Selbstselektion in bestimmte Nachbarschaften und unbeobachtbarer Heterogenität auf Individual- und Nachbarschaftsebene wird die Identifikation dieser Effekte ohne eine (quasi)-experimentelle Variation in den Nachbarschaftsattributen erschwert. Daher stützt sich unsere Identifikationsstrategie auf ein hedonisches Preismodell, welches für unbeobachtbare Heterogenität auf der Nachbarschaftsebene kontrolliert, und auf einen Fixed-Effects-Ansatz, der unbeobachtbare individuelle Faktoren berücksichtigt, die über die Zeit konstant bleiben. Die Ergebnisse deuten darauf hin, dass die Arbeitsmarktpartizipation signifikant mit Nachbarschaftsattributen korreliert ist. Während das extensive Arbeitsangebot besonders stark mit der durchschnittlichen Beschäftigungsquote von Frauen korreliert ist, wird das intensive Arbeitsangebot durch den Anteil der vollzeitbeschäftigten Frauen in der Nachbarschaft getrieben. Diese Effekte sind stärker im Subsample der Mütter ausgeprägt. Sobald wir für unbeobachtbare zeitinvariante individuelle Heterogenität kontrollieren, sind die Nachbarschaftseffekte auf das Arbeitsangebot insignifikant.
    Keywords: neighborhood effects,female labor supply,social interactions,peer effects
    JEL: R23 J13 J22
    Date: 2015
  13. By: Sprietsma, Maresa; Pfeil, Lisa
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of peer group composition on language improvement in language classes for adults. Using unique survey data of migrants participating in an intensive language course in Germany, we find that the age and skill composition of groups affect skill acquisition as assessed by the teacher. Moreover, groups that are more heterogenuous in terms of regions of origin on average obtain improvements in language skills with a higher probability.
    Keywords: language skills,peer effects,migrants
    JEL: I21 I28 J15
    Date: 2015

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