nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒06‒27
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Politics 2.0: the Multifaceted Effect of Broadband Internet on Political Participation By Filipe R. Campante; Ruben Durante; Francesco Sobbrio
  2. The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV By Ruben Durante; Paolo Pinotti; Andrea Tesei
  3. Cooperative behavior and common pool resources : experimental evidence from community forest user groups in Nepal By Bluffstone,Randy; Dannenberg,Astrid; Martinsson,Peter; Jha,Prakash; Bista,Rjesh
  4. Effects of social network structure on the diffusion and adoption of agricultural technology: Evidence from rural Ethiopia By Yasuyuki Todo; Petr Matous; Dagne Mojo
  5. Knowing is trusting? An experimental test of the role of information in advisory By Caterina Cruciani; Gloria Gardenal; Anna Moretti
  6. Give and Take or Give and Give: Charitable Giving in Migrant Households By Richard P.C. Brown; Gareth Leeves; Nichola Kitson; Richard Prabha Prayaga
  7. Comparison of Social Trust’s Effect on Suicide Ideation between Urban and Non-urban Areas: The Case of Japanese Adults in 2006 By Eiji Yamamura
  8. Saving Face and Group Identity By Eriksson, Tor; Mao, Lei; Villeval, Marie Claire
  9. The role of network effects and consumer heterogeneity in adoption of mobile phones: evidence from South Africa By Lukasz Grzybowski
  10. Economic and Social Impacts of the Media By Della Vigna, Stefano; La Ferrara, Eliana
  11. Political Advertising and Voting Intention: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Ads Viewership By Ruben Durante; Emilio Gutierrez

  1. By: Filipe R. Campante (Harvard University); Ruben Durante (Département d'économie); Francesco Sobbrio (Catholic University of Milan)
    Abstract: We investigate the causal impact of broadband Internet on political participation using data from Italy. We show that this impact varies across different forms of political engagement and over time. Initially, broadband had a negative effect on turnout in national elections, driven by increased abstention of ideologically extreme voters. Meanwhile, however, broadband fostered other forms of online and offline participation. Over time, the negative effect was reverted due to the emergence of new political entrepreneurs who used the Internet to convert the initial “exit” back into “voice”. Overall, these nuanced effects underscore the general equilibrium dynamic induced by the Internet.
    JEL: D72 L82 L86
    Date: 2013–12
  2. By: Ruben Durante (Sciences Po); Paolo Pinotti (Università Bocconi); Andrea Tesei (Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: We investigate the political impact of entertainment television in Italy over the past thirty years by exploiting the staggered introduction of Silvio Berlusconi's commercial TV network, Mediaset, in the early 1980s. We find that individuals in municipalities that had access to Mediaset prior to 1985 - when the network only featured light entertainment programs - were significantly more likely to vote for Berlusconi's party in 1994, when he first ran for office. This effect persists for almost two decades and five elections, and is especially pronounced for heavy TV viewers, namely the very young and the old. We relate the extreme persistence of the effect to the relative incidence of these age groups in the voting population, and explore different mechanisms through which early exposure to entertainment content may have influenced their political attitudes.
    Keywords: Television; Entertainment; Voting; Political participation
    JEL: L82 D72 Z13
    Date: 2015–04
  3. By: Bluffstone,Randy; Dannenberg,Astrid; Martinsson,Peter; Jha,Prakash; Bista,Rjesh
    Abstract: This paper examines whether cooperative behavior by respondents measured as contributions in a one-shot public goods game correlates with reported pro-forest collective action behaviors. All the outcomes analyzed are costly in terms of time, land, or money. The study finds significant evidence that more cooperative individuals (or those who believe their group members will cooperate) engage in collective action behaviors that support common forests, once the analysis is adjusted for demographic factors, wealth, and location. Those who contribute more in the public goods experiment are found to be more likely to have planted trees in community forests during the previous month and to have invested in biogas. They also have planted more trees on their own farms and spent more time monitoring community forests. As cooperation appears to be highly conditional on beliefs about others? cooperation, these results suggest that policies to support cooperation and strengthen local governance could be important for collective action and economic outcomes associated with forest resources. As forest management and quality in developing countries is particularly important for climate change policy, these results suggest that international efforts such as the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation should pay particular attention to supporting governance and cooperation at the local level.
    Keywords: Common Property Resource Development,Forestry Management,Wildlife Resources,Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases,Environmental Economics&Policies
    Date: 2015–06–22
  4. By: Yasuyuki Todo (Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University); Petr Matous (Complex Systems Research Group, School of Engineering, University of Sydney); Dagne Mojo (Holetta Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Holetta, Ethiopia)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of social network structure on the diffusion of agricultural technologies using household-level panel data from Ethiopia. We correct for possible biases due to the endogeneity of social networks using a social experiment in which we provide mobile phones to randomly selected households. We find that the effect of social networks varies depending on the network structure and characteristics of the technologies considered. The diffusion of information on a simple technology is determined by whether farmers know an agricultural extension agent. However, the diffusion of information on a more complex technology is not promoted by simply knowing an extension agent but by knowing an agent that a particular household can rely on and by clustered networks in which most friends of the household are friends of each other. This finding suggests that knowing and understanding more complex technologies require strong external ties and flows of the same information from multiple sources.
    Keywords: knowledge diffusion, technology adoption, agriculture, social network, Ethiopia
    JEL: O13 O33 Q16
    Date: 2015–06
  5. By: Caterina Cruciani (Dept. of Management and Economics, University of Padua); Gloria Gardenal (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice); Anna Moretti (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice)
    Abstract: The recent economic crisis still lingering in Europe has deeply affected the way individuals look at the investment market. Understanding the trust processes underlying the decision to invest with financial intermediaries is of particular importance both at managerial (product development and advertisement) and at normative level (how intermediaries are regulated). Using an online experiment, this paper investigates whether discrepancies in the financial literacy of investors and brokers can be used to explain the decision to trust Ð thus, to invest in the financial market. The results show that trust is affected by the information disclosure in somewhat unexpected ways.
    Keywords: financial market, financial literacy, trust, advisory
    JEL: D12 D8 D91 G11
    Date: 2015–06
  6. By: Richard P.C. Brown (School of Economics, The University of Queensland); Gareth Leeves (Monash University, Malaysia); Nichola Kitson (School of Economics, The University of Queensland); Richard Prabha Prayaga (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: We investigate how households from migrant communities in Australia deal with conflicting claims on their resources for charitable giving in various forms, using household survey data. We examine financial donations, volunteering and remittances among the competing claims on migrants' resources and the effect of secular consumption on giving. We control for the wide range of religious denominations and the metropolitan and regional locations represented in our sample. We find increases in income lead to more financial donations and remittances. Contemporaneous increases in secular spending appear to be associated with reductions in giving except in the case of remittances. It is suggested that the investment and altruism motives associated with remittances could make it rather more resilient to competing pressures. Overseas donations are more susceptible to secular expenditure than donations in the host country; the latter may be more susceptible to community pressures. Indeed, we find evidence of members of home country community groups in the host country giving more to all claimants. These households may face particular conflicts in meeting all claims on their resources as prior evidence has suggested. Time donations to social organizations are particularly susceptible to discretionary spending, which could impact on integration into the wider community.
    Keywords: migrants, charitable giving, volunteering, remittances, religion, sharing norms
    JEL: F24 D64 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2015–06–17
  7. By: Eiji Yamamura
    Abstract: An increasing number of studies have addressed the determinants of suicide. Social capital is a key factor in preventing suicide. However, little is known about the experience of suicide ideation using subjective values. From the viewpoint of suicide prevention, it is worth examining how people think of suicide. This paper attempts to examine the effect of social capital on suicide ideation. Furthermore, the paper compares the effect of social capital between urban and non-urban areas. In this paper, urban areas are equivalent to mega-cities with populations over one million. Non-urban areas are cities with populations of less than one million, towns and villages. Individual-level data from the Japanese General Social Surveys (JGSSs) are used. The survey, which was conducted in 2006, provides information about the subjective value of suicide ideation. The survey was answered by 1,413 subjects with a mean age of 54.5. Of the subjects, 49% were male. Social trust is used to measure the degree of social capital, and the outcome of interest is suicide ideation within the past 5 years. After controlling for various factors, the major findings are that both individual-level social trust and social trust accumulated in one’s residential administrative district reduce the probability that one will consider suicide. After dividing the sample into urban and non-urban residents, particularized trust plays a role in deterring suicide ideation in urban areas, while generalized trust plays a role in deterring suicide ideation in non-urban areas. The effect of each type of trust depends on its scarcity in residential areas.
    Keywords: Social capital; Suicide ideation; Urban.
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2015–06–06
  8. By: Eriksson, Tor (Aarhus School of Business); Mao, Lei (Central University of Finance and Economics); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: Are people willing to sacrifice resources to save one's and others' face? In a laboratory experiment, we study whether individuals forego resources to avoid the public exposure of the least performer in their group. We show that a majority of individuals are willing to pay to preserve not only their self- but also other group members' image. This behavior is frequent even in the absence of group identity. When group identity is more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. This suggests that saving others' face is a strong social norm.
    Keywords: pro-social behavior, social image, saving face, group identity, experiment
    JEL: C92 D03 M52 Z13
    Date: 2015–06
  9. By: Lukasz Grzybowski
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the role of network effects and consumer heterogeneity in the adoption of mobile phones. We estimate the decision to adopt a mobile phone using panel survey data of South African households between the years 2008 and 2012, which includes interviews with all adult household members. We construct variables which approximate network effects on the household level and find that the greater the number of mobile phones in the household, the greater the likelihood that the other household members will also adopt a mobile phone. Moreover, network effects depend on who in the household adopts a mobile phone. Without within-household network effects the penetration of mobile phones of 76.4% in 2012 would be lower by about 9.9 percentage points. The decision to adopt a mobile phone is also explained by observed and unobserved consumer heterogeneity.
    Keywords: Mobile phones, Network effects, Consumer heterogeneity
    JEL: L13 L96
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Della Vigna, Stefano; La Ferrara, Eliana
    Abstract: We review the literature on the impact of exposure to the media. We cast a wide net and cover media impacts on education, family choices, labor and migration decisions, environmental choices, health, crime, public economics, attitudes, consumption and savings, and development economics. We stress five themes. First, the demand for entertainment plays a key role, with the economic impacts emerging largely as by-products. Second, to understand the media effects one cannot just focus on the direct effect of exposure but one needs to take into account the crowding-out of alternative activities (substitution effect). Third, the sources of identification play a critical role in determining what is known: credible estimates of short- and long run effects are available for some topics and some media but not for others. Fourth, most of the evidence on social and economic impacts is for exposure to the entertainment media such as television, as opposed to the printed press. Fifth, for the policy impacts both the substitution effect of media exposure and the demand for entertainment play an important role.
    Keywords: edutainment; imitation; internet; media economics; persuasion; radio; television
    JEL: A13 D01 H4 I10 I20 J00 K42 L82 L96 O10
    Date: 2015–06
  11. By: Ruben Durante (Département d'économie); Emilio Gutierrez (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM))
    Abstract: Mexico’s campaign law assigns TV and radio ads to parties according to their vote share in the previous election, and mandates the time of the day at which ads are aired to be determined randomly. We exploit this arguably exogenous variation in viewers’ exposure to political ads by different parties and longitudinal electoral survey data to estimate the effect of ads on voting intentions during Mexico’s 2012 presidential campaign. We find that political ads on both radio and TV have a positive, significant and sizeable effect on voting intentions. This effect is short-lived (about two weeks), and is stronger in the early weeks of the campaign. Ads tend to have no significant impact on voters’ knowledge of candidates’ political message, and to be more effective at convincing individuals that are more educated, and those who voted for the party in the past. Taken together these findings suggests that ads do not influence voters by conveying new information but that other mechanisms of persuasion, cantered around ads’ non-informative content, may be at work.
    Date: 2014–07

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.