nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2015‒08‒13
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Political Identity and Trust By Pablo Hernandez; Dylan Minor
  2. Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons? By Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
  3. Building Trust in Rural Producer Organizations in Senegal: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial By Bernard, Tanguy; Frölich, Markus; Landmann, Andreas; Unte, Pia Naima; Viceisza, Angelino; Wouterse, Fleur
  4. Does Economic Prosperity Breed Trust? By Brueckner, Markus; Chong, Alberto; Gradstein, Mark
  5. Social Interactions Through Space and Time: Evidence from College Enrollment and Academic Mobility By Goulas, Sofoklis; Megalokonomou, Rigissa
  6. Empirical methods for networks data: social effects, network formation and measurement error By Arun Advani; Bansi Malde
  7. Social Responsibility in Market Interaction By Irlenbusch, Bernd; Saxler, David
  8. Games Played on Networks By Yann Bramoullé; Rachel Kranton
  9. Peer effects in development programme awareness of vulnerable groups in rural Tanzania By Bet Helena Caeyers
  10. Can I Have Permission to Leave the House? Return Migration and the Transfer of Gender Norms By Tuccio, Michele; Wahba, Jackline

  1. By: Pablo Hernandez (New York University AD); Dylan Minor (Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit)
    Abstract: We explore how political identity affects trust. Using an incentivized experimental survey conducted on a representative sample of the U.S. population, we vary information about partners' partisan identity to elicit trust behavior, beliefs about trustworthiness, and actual reciprocation. By eliciting beliefs, we are able to assess whether differences in trust rates are due to stereotyping or a "taste for discrimination." By measuring actual trustworthiness, we are able to determine whether beliefs are statistically correct. We find that trust is pervasive and depends on the partisan identity of the trustee. Differential trust rates are explained by incorrect stereotypes about the other's lack of trustworthiness rather than by a "taste for discrimination." Given the importance of beliefs, we run additional treatments in which we disclose previous reciprocation rates before participants decide whether to trust. We find that beliefs are slightly more optimistic compared with the previous treatments, suggesting that incorrect stereotypes are hard to change.
    Keywords: Trust, Beliefs, Social Preferences, Political Ideology
    Date: 2015–07
  2. By: Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
    Abstract: Online social networks such as Facebook disclose an unprecedented volume of personal information amplifying the occasions for social comparisons. We test the hypothesis that the use of social networking sites (SNS) increases people's dissatisfaction with their income. After addressing endogeneity issues, our results suggest that SNS users have a higher probability to compare their achievements with those of others. This effect seems stronger than the one exerted by TV watching, it is particularly strong for younger people, and it affects men and women in a similar way.
    Date: 2015–07
  3. By: Bernard, Tanguy (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute); Frölich, Markus (University of Mannheim); Landmann, Andreas (University of Mannheim); Unte, Pia Naima (University of Mannheim); Viceisza, Angelino (Spelman College); Wouterse, Fleur (IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute)
    Abstract: Trust is crucial for successful collective action. A prime example is collective commercialization of agricultural produce through producer organizations. We conduct a cluster-randomized controlled trial in rural Senegal in which we vary the number and the type of smallholder farmers – members and/or leaders of local producer organizations – invited to a three-day training on collective commercialization. We use this variation to identify effects on intra-group trust, both direct treatment effects of having participated in the training and spillover effects on farmers who did not partake. Looking at different measures of trust in leaders' competence and motives and of trust in members we find that participating in the training significantly enhances both trust in leaders and trust in members. For trust in leaders, we also find a strong spillover effect. Our findings suggest that relatively soft and non-costly interventions such as a group training appear to be able to positively affect trust within producer organizations.
    Keywords: rural producer organizations, smallholder farmers, trust, Senegal
    JEL: D71 O12 Q13
    Date: 2015–07
  4. By: Brueckner, Markus; Chong, Alberto; Gradstein, Mark
    Abstract: We explore whether national economic prosperity enhances mutual generalized trust. This is done using panel data of multiple waves of the World Values Surveys, whereby national income levels are instrumented for using exogenous oil price shocks. We find significant and substantial effects of national income on the level of trust in the economy. In particular, a one percent increase in national income tends to cause an average increase of one percentage point (or more) in the likelihood that a person becomes trustful. One possible rationalization for this, exhibited in a simple model, is that perceived prosperity signals that many people are trustworthy.
    Keywords: generalized trust; national income; oil price shocks
    JEL: O10 P17
    Date: 2015–07
  5. By: Goulas, Sofoklis; Megalokonomou, Rigissa
    Abstract: In the recent years, the importance of one's group of peers-be that friends, colleagues, neighbors- has been widely emphasized in the literature. In this paper, we ask whether individuals derive utility from conformity in college enrollment and academic mobility. We propose a new methodology in mitigating reflection and endogeneity issues in identifying social interactions. We exploit a special institutional setting, in which schools are very close to each other, allowing for students from different schools to interact. We investigate utility spillovers from the educational choices of students in consecutive cohorts. Spatial variation allows us to identify social interactions in groups of various sizes. Using a new dataset that spans the universe of high school graduates, we estimate general equilibrium effects of social interactions. We find positive and significant externalities in the decision to enrol in college and the decision to migrate to a different city among peers that belong to the same social group.
    Keywords: college enrollment, social interactions, mobility, geography, reflection problem
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2015–08–01
  6. By: Arun Advani (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Bansi Malde (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: In many contexts we may be interested in understanding whether direct connections between agents, such as declared friendships in a classroom or family links in a rural village, affect their outcomes. In this paper we review the literature studying econometric methods for the analysis of social networks. We begin by providing a common framework for models of social effects, a class that includes the `linear-in-means' local average model, the local aggregate model, and models where network statistics affect outcomes. We discuss identification of these models using both observational and experimental/quasi-experimental data. We then discuss models of network formation, drawing on a range of literatures to cover purely predictive models, reduced form models, and structural models, including those with a strategic element. Finally we discuss how one might collect data on networks, and the measurement error issues caused by sampling of networks, as well as measurement error more broadly.
    Keywords: Networks, Social Effects, Peer Effects, Econometrics, Endogeneity, Measurement Error, Sampling Design
    Date: 2014–12
  7. By: Irlenbusch, Bernd (University of Cologne); Saxler, David (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: A recent debate raises the question whether market interaction erodes social responsibility. In an experiment, we disentangle three major characteristics of market interaction, diffusion of responsibility, social information, and market framing, and provide evidence for how these characteristics influence behavior when trade harms uninvolved parties. We model the negative externalities from trade by reducing donations to a charity that provides meals to needy children. Our results show that diffusion of responsibility tends to encourage subjects to make purely self-interested decisions. This holds to a much larger extent if the economic trans- action is framed as a market. In contrast, social information increases social responsibility in our setting. Observing the behavior of others seems to convince a substantial fraction of people to behave steadfastly, i.e., they avoid trading a good that comes with negative externalities, even if gains from trade are high.
    Keywords: social responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, social information, market framing, experiment
    JEL: C92 D62 M14
    Date: 2015–07
  8. By: Yann Bramoullé (Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS); Rachel Kranton (Duke University)
    Abstract: This chapter studies games played on fixed networks. These games capture a wide variety of economic settings including local public goods, peer effects, and technology adoption. We establish a common analytical framework to study a wide game class. We unearth new connections between games in the literature and in particular between those with binary actions, like coordination and best-shot games, and those with continuous actions and linear best replies. We review and advance existing results by showing how they tie together within the common framework. We discuss the game-theoretic underpinnings of key notions including Bonacich centrality, maximal independent sets, and the lowest and largest eigenvalue. We study the interplay of individual heterogeneity and the network and we develop a new notion - interdependence - to analyze how a shock to one agent affects the action of another agent. We outline directions for future research.
    Keywords: Network Games, fixed networks, peer effects, coordination, interdependence
    Date: 2015–03
  9. By: Bet Helena Caeyers
    Abstract: A pre-condition for grassroots participation, key for community-based development success, is widespread programme knowledge among the eligible population.  The current literature on local participatory institutions mainly focuses on village meetings and media campaigns as a means to strengthen community awareness.  The role played by social interactions in this process has received little attention to date.  In this paper I use Manski's (1993) standard linear-in-means model to estimate endogenous peer effects on the awarenes of vulnerable groups on Tanzania Social Action Fund II (TASAFII), i.e. Tanzania's flagship community-driven development programme.  I employ a popular 2SLS estimation strategy developed by Bramouille et al. (2009) and De Giorgi et al. (2010) on a unique spatial household dataset from Tanzania to eliminate both the 'reflection bias' (Manski, 1993) and the 'exclusion bias' (Caeyers, 2014).  Denoting the geographically nearest neighbours set as the relevant peer group in this context, I identify significant average and heterogeneous endogenous social interaction effects in the diffusion of information about TASAF II.  The findings of this paper inform the design of effective sensitisation campaigns.
    Date: 2014–02–01
  10. By: Tuccio, Michele (University of Southampton); Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton)
    Abstract: Does international return migration transfer gender norms? Focusing on Jordan, an Arab country where discrimination against women and emigration rates are high, this paper exploits unique data in which detailed information on female empowerment allows us to construct several measures of discriminatory social norms in Jordan on the role of women, female freedom of mobility, and female decision-making power. Controlling for both emigration and return migration selections, we find that women with a returnee family member are more likely to have internalized discriminatory gender norms than women in households with no migration experience. Further analysis shows that results are driven by returnees from conservative Arab countries, suggesting a transfer of negative norms from highly discriminatory destinations. We also show the implications of our results beyond perceptions for several economic and development outcomes, such as female labour force participation, education and fertility.
    Keywords: international return migration, gender inequality, transfer of norms
    JEL: F22 J16 O15 O53
    Date: 2015–07

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.