nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒01‒03
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Ethnic Diversity and Trust: New Evidence from Australian Data By Mendolia, Silvia; Tosh, Alex; Yerokhin, Oleg
  2. On the social appropriateness of discrimination By Abigail Barr; Tom Lane; Daniele Nosenzo
  3. Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies By Gavazza, Alessandro; Nardotto, Mattia; Valletti, Tommaso
  4. Initial Conditions Matter: Social Capital and Participatory Development By Cameron, Lisa A.; Olivia, Susan; Shah, Manisha
  5. Good Samaritans and the Market: Experimental Evidence on Other-Regarding Preferences in Partnership Formation By Belot, Michèle; Fafchamps, Marcel
  6. The importance of peers for compliance with norms of fair sharing By Simon Gaechter; Leonie Gerhards; Daniele Nosenzo
  7. Informal versus Formal Search: Which Yields a Better Pay? By Tumen, Semih
  8. The Problem with All-or-nothing Trust Games: What Others Choose Not to Do Matters In Trust-based Exchange By Schniter, Eric; Sheremeta, Roman; Shields, Timothy
  9. Tax Evasion Revised: Surprising Experimental Evidence on the Role of Principal Witness Regulations and Differences in Gender Attitudes By Luigi Mittone; Johannes Buckenmaier; Eugen Dimant
  10. Money and the Scale of Cooperation By M. Bigoni; G. Camera; M. Casari
  11. Gender, beauty and support networks in academia: evidence from a field experiment By Michał Krawczyk; Magdalena Smyk
  12. Destructive intergenerational altruism By Asheim, Geir B.; Nesje, Frikk
  13. Do They Find You on Facebook? Facebook Profile Picture and Hiring Chances By Baert, Stijn

  1. By: Mendolia, Silvia (University of Wollongong); Tosh, Alex; Yerokhin, Oleg (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between neighbourhood ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity and the formation of an individual's local and general trust. A wide literature across economics and sociology has recognised the importance of trust in facilitating economic growth and development and it is therefore important to investigate elements of social organisation that encourage or inhibit the development of trust. We use fixed effects and instrumental variable regression and control for a wide set of individual and local area characteristics to identify the effect of heterogeneity on trust formation. Our results show that increasing neighbourhood ethnic and linguistic fractionalisation is associated with a decrease in local trust of about 12% of a standard deviation in the model with fixed effects, while we do not find any significant relationship between neighbourhood heterogeneity and general trust.
    Keywords: trust, social capital, ethnic fractionalization, ethnic heterogeneity, HILDA
    JEL: J15 Z10
    Date: 2015–12
  2. By: Abigail Barr (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham.); Tom Lane (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham); Daniele Nosenzo (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham.)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate the relationship between discriminatory behaviour and the perceived social appropriateness of discrimination. We test the framework of Akerlof and Kranton (2000,2005), which suggests discrimination will be stronger when social norms favour it. Our results support this prediction. Using a Krupka-Weber social norm elicitation task, we find participants perceive it to be more socially appropriate to discriminate on the basis of social identities artificially induced, using a trivial minimal group technique, than on the basis of nationality. Correspondingly, we find that participants discriminate more in the artificial identity setting. Our results suggest norms and the preference to comply with them affect discriminatory decisions and that the social inappropriateness of discrimination can be a moderator of discriminatory behaviour.
    Keywords: Discrimination; Social norms; Krupka-Weber method; Allocator game
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Gavazza, Alessandro; Nardotto, Mattia; Valletti, Tommaso
    Abstract: We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis suggests that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e., radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, local government expenditures (and taxes) are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings corroborate the idea that voters' information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies and government size.
    Keywords: media; voting
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2015–12
  4. By: Cameron, Lisa A. (Monash University); Olivia, Susan (Monash University); Shah, Manisha (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: Billions of dollars have been spent on participatory development programs in the developing world. These programs give community members an active decision-making role. Given the emphasis on community involvement, one might expect that the effectiveness of this approach would depend on communities' pre-existing social capital stocks. Using data from a large randomised field experiment of Community-Led Total Sanitation in Indonesia, we find that villages with high initial social capital built toilets and reduced open defecation, resulting in substantial health benefits. In villages with low initial stocks of social capital, the approach was counterproductive – fewer toilets were built than in control communities and social capital suffered.
    Keywords: participatory development, social capital, sanitation, economic development, Indonesia
    JEL: O12 O22 I15
    Date: 2015–12
  5. By: Belot, Michèle; Fafchamps, Marcel
    Abstract: We construct an experiment to study the role of other-regarding preferences in the process of partnership formation. The literature on decentralized matching describes the process of match formation as a market-like process while the literature on other-regarding preferences suggests that such preferences are particularly strong in small partnerships. So we ask: do people apply market-like heuristics when searching for a partner (i.e. behave selfishly); or do they behave more pro-socially, as they do once these partnerships or small entities are formed? And if they do behave differently, what motivates differences in behavior? We focus on one possible mechanism explaining differences in behavior: the saliency of the implications of choices on others. We compare partnership choices in three treatments, varying the saliency of the implications of choices on others. We find that a market-like situation reduces the `good samaritan' spirit in this environment as well: when choosing a partner agents are less likely to sacrifice their own material well-being to increase the well-being of others.
    Keywords: Efficiency; Inequality; Markets; Other-regarding preferences; Partnership formation
    JEL: A13 C91 D61 D63 D64
    Date: 2015–12
  6. By: Simon Gaechter (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham.); Leonie Gerhards (Department of Economics, University of Hamburg); Daniele Nosenzo (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham.)
    Abstract: WA burgeoning literature in economics has started examining the role of social norms in explaining economic behavior. Surprisingly, the vast majority of this literature has studied social norms in asocial decision settings, where individuals are observed to act in isolation from each other. In this paper we use a large-scale dictator game experiment (N = 850) to show that the presence of “peers†in the decision setting faced by an individual can have a profound influence on the individual’s perception of the decision situation and its underlying norms of sharing, as elicited in an incentive compatible way. However, we find limited evidence that this influence of peers in normative considerations translates into a corresponding effect in actual behavior. Partly, this is due to substantial heterogeneity in the extent to which dictators in our sample are willing to comply with norms of fair sharing.
    Keywords: social norms, norm compliance, peer effects, fair sharing, dictator game, framing, experiments
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Tumen, Semih (Central Bank of Turkey)
    Abstract: Estimates on the effect of job contact method – i.e., informal versus formal search – on wage offers vary considerably across studies, with some of them finding a positive correlation between getting help from informal connections and obtaining high-paying jobs, while others finding a negative one. In this paper, I theoretically investigate the sources of discrepancies in these empirical results. Using a formal job search framework, I derive an equilibrium wage distribution which reveals that the informal search yields for some groups higher and for some others lower wages than formal search. The key result is the existence of nonmonotonicities in wage offers. Two potential sources of these nonmonotonicities exist: (i) peer effects and (ii) unobserved worker heterogeneity in terms of the inherent cost of maintaining connections within a productive informal network. The model predicts that a greater degree of unobserved heterogeneity tilts the estimates toward producing a positive correlation between informal search and higher wages, whereas stronger peer influences tend to yield a negative correlation. This conclusion informs the empirical research in the sense that identification of the true correlation between job contact methods and wage offers requires a careful assessment of the unobserved heterogeneity and peer influences in the relevant sample.
    Keywords: heterogeneity, peer effects, informal networks, job search, nonmonotonicities
    JEL: D85 J31 J64
    Date: 2015–12
  8. By: Schniter, Eric; Sheremeta, Roman; Shields, Timothy
    Abstract: Many economic interactions are characterized by “all-or-nothing” action spaces that may limit the demonstrability of intended trust. We investigate whether restricting investment opportunities to all-or-nothing options affects the investment rate and propensity to reciprocate. We do this by manipulating the investor’s action space in two versions of the trust game. In the all-or-nothing game the investor can invest either $10 (all) or $0 (nothing), while in the continuous game the investor can invest any amount between $10 and $0. In both games, the trustee receives the tripled investment and then can return any amount to the investor. Results indicate that investments are higher in the all-or-nothing game than in the continuous game. However, higher investments in the all-or-nothing game do not lead to higher returns. To the contrary, conditional on $10 investments, on average trustees return less in the all-or-nothing game. Although the all-or-nothing action space results in greater wealth overall, it also appears to “backfire” for investors who do not benefit from the increased wealth. These results support the proposition that humans perceive intentions not only by evaluating what others do but also by evaluating what others choose not to do.
    Keywords: trust game, demonstrability, intentions, reciprocity, experiment
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2015–12–28
  9. By: Luigi Mittone; Johannes Buckenmaier; Eugen Dimant
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates indirect tax evasion that requires the cooperation of an intermediary. We explore the effectiveness of the introduction of a principal witness regulation as a means to facilitate tax compliance. Reactions show a significant drop in tax compliance that, surprisingly, is vastly different across gender with the effect being mainly driven by women. As a result, women decrease their tax compliance significantly reaching an even lower level than men who in turn do not react to the institutional change.
    Keywords: indirect tax evasion, gender difference, contextual sensitivity, reciprocity, principal witness regulation
    JEL: D03 D73 D81 H26
    Date: 2015
  10. By: M. Bigoni; G. Camera; M. Casari
    Abstract: This study reveals the existence of a causal link between the availability of money and an expanded scale of interaction. We constructed an experiment where participants chose the group size, either a low-value partnership or a high-value group of strangers, and then faced an intertemporal cooperative task. Theoretically, a monetary system was inessential to achieve cooperation. Empirically, without a working monetary system, participants were reluctant to expand the scale of interaction; and when they did, they ended up destroying surplus compared to partnerships, because cooperation collapsed in large groups. This economic failure was reversed only when participants managed to concurrently develop a stable monetary system.
    JEL: C70 C90 D80
    Date: 2015–12
  11. By: Michał Krawczyk (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Magdalena Smyk (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: Bibliometric studies show that male academics are more productive than their female counterparts and that the gap cannot be explained in terms of difference in abilities. In this project we wish to verify the hypothesis that this tendency is related to the greater support that men receive from their colleagues (“old boys network”). Towards this end we had e-mails sent by a male or female student asking academics for a minor favour. In Study 1 we asked authors of nearly 300 papers in experimental economics to share the raw data used in their study. We observed no difference in response rate or compliance rate between male and female senders. In Study 2 we sent 2775 e-mails to academics affiliated with prestigious schools from ten different fields , asking to either send us a copy of their recent article or meet the sender supposedly interested in pursuing a PhD program. Once again we manipulated gender of the senders but this time we also varied their physical attractiveness. We found a small but significant difference in the Article Treatment: attractive females’ requests were honoured less often. No such tendency was found in the Meeting Treatment and no general gender effect was observed. Overall, we find very little support for the claim that early-stage male researchers enjoy greater support than their female colleagues.
    Keywords: gender, beauty, women in academia, field experiment
    JEL: J16 C93
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Asheim, Geir B. (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo); Nesje, Frikk (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Are the probable future negative effects of climate change an argument for decreasing the discount rate to promote the interests of future generations? The analysis of the present paper suggests that such stronger intergenerational altruism might undermine future wellbeing if not complemented by collective climate action. In the standard one-sector model of economic growth normatively attractive outcomes will be implemented if each generation has sufficient altruism for its descendants. This conclusion is radically changed in a two-sector model where one form of capital is more productive than the other, but leads to negative atmospheric externalities. In fact, the model shows that, if each dynasty is trying to get ahead in a world threatened by climate change by increasing its intergenerational altruism, then long-term wellbeing will be seriously undermined.
    Keywords: Intergenerational altruism; climate change.
    JEL: D63 D64 D71 Q01 Q54
    Date: 2015–12–17
  13. By: Baert, Stijn (Ghent University)
    Abstract: We investigate whether the publicly available information on Facebook about job applicants affects employers' hiring decisions. To this end, we conduct a field experiment in which fictitious job applications are sent to real job openings in Belgium. The only characteristic in which these candidates differ is the unique Facebook profile that can be found online with their name. Candidates with the most beneficial Facebook picture obtain approximately 39% more job interview invitations compared to candidates with the least beneficial picture. In addition, we find suggestive evidence for a higher effect of Facebook profile picture appearance on hiring chances when candidates are highly educated and when recruiters are female.
    Keywords: hiring, screening, Facebook, Internet, personality, attractiveness
    JEL: C93 D83 J24 J79 L86
    Date: 2015–12

This nep-soc issue is ©2016 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.
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