nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒02‒04
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Relationship between Social Capital and Health in China By Xindong Xue; Marshall Mo; W. Robert Reed
  2. The ecology of social interactions in online and offline environments By Angelo Antoci; Alexia Delfino; Fabio Paglieri; Fabio Sabatini
  3. Increasing trust in the bank to enhance savings: Experimental evidence from India By Rahul Mehrotra; Vincent Somville; Lore vandewalle
  4. Urban Immigrant Diversity and Inclusive Institutions By Abigail Cooke; Thomas Kemeny
  5. Information and Crime Perceptions: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Nicola Mastrorocco; Luigi Minale
  6. Social Identity, Attitudes Towards Cooperation, and Social Preferences: Evidence From Switzerland By Devesh Rustagi; Marcella Veronesi
  7. Collective Action Abroad: How Foreign Investors Organize Evidence from Foreign Business Associations In the Russian Federation By Michael Rochlitz
  8. Predicting Human Cooperation By John J. Nay; Yevgeniy Vorobeychik
  9. Cognitive Empathy in Conflict Situations By Florian Gauer; Christoph Kuzmics

  1. By: Xindong Xue; Marshall Mo; W. Robert Reed (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: This paper uses the 2005 and 2006 China General Social Survey (CGSS) to study the relationship between social capital and health in China. It is the most comprehensive analysis of this subject to date, both in the sizes of the samples it analyses, in the number of social capital variables it investigates, and in its treatment of endogeneity. We identify social trust, social relationships, and social networks as important determinants of self-reported health. The magnitude of the estimated effects are economically important, in some cases being of the same size or larger than the effects associated with age and income. Our findings suggest that there is scope for social capital to be a significant policy tool for improving health outcomes in China.
    Keywords: Social capital, trust, self-reported health, China, ordered probit regression, heteroskedastic ordered probit regression, interaction effects, endogeneity.
    JEL: I1 I18 P25 O53
    Date: 2016–02–01
  2. By: Angelo Antoci; Alexia Delfino; Fabio Paglieri; Fabio Sabatini
    Abstract: The rise in online social networking has brought about a revolution in social relations. However, its effects on offline interactions and its implications for collective well-being are still not clear and are under-investigated. We study the ecology of online and offline interaction in an evolutionary game framework where individuals can adopt different strategies of socialization. Our main result is that the spreading of self-protective behaviors to cope with hostile social environments can lead the economy to non-socially optimal stationary states.
    Date: 2016–01
  3. By: Rahul Mehrotra; Vincent Somville; Lore vandewalle
    Abstract: Recent evidence highlights the importance of trust in explaining bank account savings. According to economic theory, repeated interactions can play a crucial role in shaping trust. We designed the first field experiment that tests whether increased interactions between clients and bankers influence a client's trust in bankers. We promoted interactions by randomly (i) opening accounts for the unbanked and (ii) making weekly payments on their accounts. At the end of these interventions, we measured trust by playing trust games between clients on the one hand, and their own local banker as well as an anonymous other banker on the other hand. The only intervention that has a signicant impact on the number of interactions is opening a bank account. It also greatly increases trust in the anonymous banker, but not in their own banker. Next, we investigate the importance of trust for account savings. We find a strong positive correlation between the clients' trust in their own banker and savings in the account, but their trust in another banker does not correlate with savings. From the decomposition of trust in its different determinants, we learn that expected trustworthiness matters most in explaining savings, while there is a minor role for social preferences and no role for risk attitudes. We conclude that the personalized client-banker relationships are crucial, but not malleable. Strategies which can deal with the expected trustworthiness - such as providing access to an ATM, or to a denser network of local bankers - might promote bank account savings.
    Keywords: India finance trust savings banking experiment rct
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Abigail Cooke; Thomas Kemeny
    Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that rising immigrant diversity in cities offers economic benefits, including improved innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity. One potentially important but underexplored dimension of this relationship is how local institutional context shapes the benefits firms and workers receive from the diversity in their midst. Theory suggests that institutions can make it less costly for diverse workers to transact, thereby catalyzing the latent bene ts of heterogeneity. This paper tests the hypothesis that the effects of immigrant diversity on productivity will be stronger in locations featuring more “inclusive" institutions. It leverages comprehensive longitudinal linked employer-employee data for the U.S. and two distinct measures of inclusive institutions at the metropolitan area level: social capital and pro- or anti-immigrant ordinances. Findings confirm the importance of institutional context: in cities with low levels of inclusive institutions, the benefits of diversity are modest and in some cases statistically insignificant; in cities with high levels of inclusive institutions, the benefits of immigrant diversity are positive, significant, and substantial. Moreover, natives residing in cities that have enacted laws restricting immigrants enjoy no diversity spillovers whatsoever, while immigrants in these cities continue to receive a diversity bonus. These results confirm the economic significance of urban immigrant diversity, while suggesting the importance of local social and economic institutions.
    Date: 2016–01
  5. By: Nicola Mastrorocco (London School of Economics); Luigi Minale (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the influence of media on the beliefs and perceptions individuals hold, with a focus on crime perceptions. We study the case of Italy, where the majority of television channels have been under the influence of the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for more than a decade. First, we document that these channels systematically over represent crime news compared to others. We then test if individuals revise their perceptions about crime when exposure to news programs broadcast by a specific group of partisan channels is reduced. In order to identify the causal effect we exploit a natural experiment in the Italian television market where the staggered introduction of the digital TV signal led to a drastic drop in the viewing shares of the channels above. Combining unique data on each channel’s crime news coverage and prime-time viewing shares, we find that reduced exposure to crime related news decreased concerns about crime, an effect that is mainly driven by older individuals who, on average, watch more television and use alternative sources of information (such as Internet, radio and newspapers) less frequently. Finally, we show that this change in crime perceptions is likely to have important implications for voting behaviour.
    Keywords: information, mass media, persuasion, crime perceptions
    JEL: D72 D83 K42 L82
    Date: 2016–01
  6. By: Devesh Rustagi (Goethe University Frankfurt); Marcella Veronesi (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: We investigate the role of social identity in explaining individual variation in social preferences in the domain of cooperation. We combine measures of social identity at both extensive and intensive margins with measures of social preferences elicited using a public goods game in the strategy method among a representative sample of Swiss households. We document a strong association between social identity and social preferences, which becomes stronger with the degree of social identity. Using different data sources, we show that social identity matters also for attitudes towards cooperation. Our results are not driven by differences in national or even local institutions, geography, historical, and economic conditions. Additional analyses show that grandparental and parental background shapes social identity, as well as social preferences. Our design allows us to go beyond behavior and disentangle social preferences from beliefs, highlighting the importance of social identity for deeper social preferences in a natural field setting.
    Keywords: Social identity, social preferences, conditional cooperation, attitudes towards cooperation, public goods game
    JEL: C93 D03 D70 H41 Z13
    Date: 2016–01
  7. By: Michael Rochlitz (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: What role can collective action by foreign investors play in an environment characterized by incomplete institutions? We study this question by looking on foreign business associations in the Russian Federation. By interviewing 17 foreign business associations and conducting an online survey of their member firms, we find that business associations play an important welfare-enhancing role in providing a series of support and informational services. However, they do not play a significant role in lobbying the collective interests of their member firms, especially in the current political context in Russia where since the start of the Ukraine crisis the business community seems to have suffered a general loss of influence on political decision making
    Keywords: collective action; business associations; lobbying
    JEL: D71 D72
    Date: 2016
  8. By: John J. Nay; Yevgeniy Vorobeychik
    Abstract: The Prisoner's Dilemma has been a subject of extensive research due to its importance in understanding the ever-present tension between individual self-interest and social benefit. A strictly dominant strategy in a Prisoner's Dilemma (defection), when played by both players, is mutually harmful. Repetition of the Prisoner's Dilemma can give rise to cooperation as an equilibrium, but defection is as well, and this ambiguity is difficult to resolve. The numerous behavioral experiments investigating the Prisoner's Dilemma highlight that players often cooperate, but the level of cooperation varies significantly with the specifics of the experimental predicament. We present the first computational model of human behavior in repeated Prisoner's Dilemma games that unifies the diversity of experimental observations in a systematic and quantitatively reliable manner. Our model relies on data we integrated from many experiments, comprising 168,386 individual decisions. The computational model is composed of two pieces: the first predicts the first-period action using solely the structural game parameters, while the second predicts dynamic actions using both game parameters and history of play. Our model is extremely successful not merely at fitting the data, but in predicting behavior at multiple scales in experimental designs not used for calibration, using only information about the game structure. We demonstrate the power of our approach through a simulation analysis revealing how to best promote human cooperation.
    Date: 2016–01
  9. By: Florian Gauer (Bielefeld University); Christoph Kuzmics (University of Graz)
    Abstract: Two individuals are involved in a conflict situation in which preferences are ex ante uncertain. While they eventually learn their own preferences, they have to pay a small cost if they want to learn their opponent’s preferences. We show that, for sufficiently small positive costs of information acquisition, in any Bayesian Nash equilibrium of the resulting game of incomplete information the probability of getting informed about the opponent’s preferences is bounded away from zero and one.
    Keywords: Incomplete Information; Information Acquisition; Theory of Mind; Conflict; Imperfect Empathy
    JEL: C72 C73 D03 D74 D82 D83
    Date: 2016–01

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