nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒02‒12
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Learning to trust, learning to be trustworthy By Ulrich Berger
  2. Pharaohs of the deep state: Social capital in an obstinate regime By Clevers, Marijn; Nimeh, Zinah
  3. Other regarding preferences and reciprocity:insights from experimental findings and satisfaction data. By Leonardo Becchetti; Vittorio Pelligra; Serena F. Taurino
  4. Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field: An Experiment in Public Transportations By Zhixin Dai; Fabio Galeotti; Marie Claire Villeval
  5. Gossip and the efficiency of interactions By Dietmar Fehr; Matthias Sutter
  6. Market Competition and Efficient Cooperation By Jordi Brandts; Arno Riedl
  7. Incentivizing Pro-social Behavior in Governance: The Effects of Revealing Peer Rankings on Voluntary Service By Villas-Boas, Sofia B; Taylor, Rebecca; Deakin, Elizabeth
  8. Gender differences in Socially Responsible Consumption. An Experimental Investigation By L. Becchetti; V. Pelligra; F. Salustri; A. Vásquez
  9. Are Women Naturaliter More Cooperative? An Experimental Investigation of the Vote-with-the-Wallet Game By L. Becchetti; V. Pelligra; A. Vásquez
  10. Infrastructure, Incentives and Institutions By Nava Ashraf; Edward L. Glaeser; Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto
  11. The impact of Online ICT on the dimensions of social capital By Serkan Gürsoy
  12. Why does birthplace matter so much? Sorting, learning and geography By Bosquet, Clément; Overman, Henry G

  1. By: Ulrich Berger (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: Interpersonal trust is a one-sided social dilemma.Building on the binary trust game, we ask how trust and trustworthiness can evolve in a population where partners are matched randomly and agents sometimes act as trustors and sometimes as trustees. Trustors have the option to costly check a trustee's last action and to condition their behavior on the signal they receive. We show that the resulting population game admits two components of Nash equilibria. Nevertheless, the long-run outcome of an evolutionary social learning process modeled by the best response dynamics is unique. Even if unconditional distrust initially abounds, the trustors' checking option leads trustees to build a reputation for trustworthiness by honoring trust. This invites free-riders among the trustors who save the costs of checking and trust blindly, until it does no longer pay for trustees to behave in a trustworthy manner. This results in cyclical convergence to a mixed equilibrium with behavioral heterogeneity where suspicious checking and blind trusting coexist while unconditional distrust vanishes.
    Keywords: trust game, evolutionary game theory, reputation, best response dynamics
    JEL: C72 C90
    Date: 2016–01
  2. By: Clevers, Marijn (University College Maastricht, Maastricht University); Nimeh, Zinah (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: The paper aims to analyse the process of 'democratisation' or lack thereof after the 2011 Egyptian Arab Spring uprisings in the context of 'social capital'. While popular demand for reform toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the transition period that followed showed the determination of regime remnants and the deep state, to preserve the underlying institutional structures of an entrenched authoritarian system. Mubarak's power base was grounded in a complicated system of interwoven relationships which entailed economic, social and political benefits. This social structure is analysed under the umbrella term 'social capital' to give an account of which network(s) pulled the cart in the pursuit of a contra democratic political agenda. A critical analysis of literature, relevant to the aim of the paper, is provided. Social capital is defined as the generalisation of norms and reciprocity which results from individuals' engagement in social networks. A general account on the most important social networks in Egypt is provided in the context of a military dominated social contract established after the 1952 military coup. This analysis concludes that the existing social capital network structure fostered and continues to foster the preservation of the authoritarian status quo. The transition period after the ousting of Mubarak presents a clear illustration of this. The well-embeddedness and the interdisciplinary nature of the deep in state in Egypt's power institutional structure were never eradicated, since the deep state restricted the interference of any 'non-conforming' entities in politics. The Egyptian deep state can be seen as self-sufficient, their penetration in every realm of society enables them to balance off adversaries when needed. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, it attempts to show that authoritarianism is preserved when an elitists power network is established which thrives as a direct consequence of the underlying institutional structure. Secondly, it argues that social capital structures can produce an environment which is unfavourable to democratic development.
    Keywords: Social capital, democratization, Arab Spring, Egypt, institutional structures, social networks
    JEL: I30 I38 O17 N40 N45
    Date: 2015–12–21
  3. By: Leonardo Becchetti (CEIS, University of Rome Tor Vergata); Vittorio Pelligra (University of Cagliari, CRENoS); Serena F. Taurino (University of Rome Tor Vergata)
    Abstract: We measure satisfaction about experimental outcomes, personal and other participants' behaviour after a multiperiod "hybrid contribution" multiplayer prisoner's dilemma called the "vote with the wallet" game. Our work shows that participants who cooperated above median (which we define as strong cooperators) are significantly more satisfied with the game in proportion to their cooperative choice. On the contrary, their satisfaction for the other players' behavior is negatively correlated with the extent of their own cooperative behavior and the non-cooperative behavior of the latter. The satisfaction of strong cooperators for their behavior in the game depends in turn on the share of their own cooperative choices. We document that a broader utility function including heterogeneity in expectations on other players' behavior, other-regarding preferences, and a negative reciprocity argument may account for the combination of the observed experimental and satisfaction findings.
    Date: 2016–02–01
  4. By: Zhixin Dai (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France); Fabio Galeotti (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France); Marie Claire Villeval (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: We conduct an artefactual field experiment using a diversified sample of passengers of public transportations to study attitudes towards dishonesty. We find that the diversity of behavior in terms of dis/honesty in laboratory tasks and in the field correlate. Moreover, individuals who have just been fined in the field behave more honestly in the lab than the other fare-dodgers, except when context is introduced. Overall, we show that simple tests of dishonesty in the lab can predict moral firmness in life, although frauders who care about social image cheat less when behavior can be verified ex post by the experimenter.
    Keywords: Dishonesty, fare-dodging, field experiment, external validity, public transportations
    JEL: B41 C91 C93 K42
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Dietmar Fehr; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: Human communication in organizations often involves a large amount of gossiping about others. Here we study in an experiment whether gossip affects the efficiency of human interactions. We let subjects play a trust game. Third parties observe a trustee?s behavior and can gossip about it by sending a message to the trustor with whom the observed trustee will be paired (for the first time) in the next round. While messages are non-verifiable and sometimes also incorrect, the possibility of gossip is highly efficiency-increasing compared to a situation without any gossip. In two further control treatments, we show that the mere fact of being observed by third parties cannot explain the efficiency-increasing effect of gossip, and that noisy gossip (where information transmission from third parties to trustors can fail) still increases efficiency, but less so than if information transmission is undisturbed.
    Keywords: gossip, communication, trust game, efficiency
    JEL: C72 C92
    Date: 2016–02
  6. By: Jordi Brandts; Arno Riedl
    Abstract: We use laboratory experiments to study the causal effects of favorable and unfavorable competitive market experience on cooperation in a subsequent social dilemma game. The issues we study are part of the broader topic of whether there are behavioral spillovers between different spheres of social interactions. Market interaction takes place in a continuous double auction market in which one side of the market obtains the larger part of the surplus. We examine the efficiency of subsequent cooperation for pairs of market-winners, market-losers and mixed pairs and study both the cases where interaction in the social dilemma is with others from the same market, 'market-partners', and where it is with others from another market, 'market-strangers', and compare it with benchmark behavior in a stand-alone social dilemma game. We find that in market-partners, market experience has adverse effects on the efficiently of cooperation on both market-winner and market-loser pairs. In market-strangers, pairs of market-winners manage to cooperate more efficiently. These results indicate that it is not market experience per se that lowers the ability to cooperate. Rather, having competed for scarce resources on the same side of the market makes it difficult to overcome the social dilemma and positive market experience fosters cooperation only for those who did not have to compete with each other. We also show that differences in cooperation cannot be explained by ex-ante income differences and find that market experience also affects subjective well-being and social value orientation.
    Keywords: competition, cooperation, experiments
    JEL: A13 C92 D30 J50 M50
    Date: 2015–12
  7. By: Villas-Boas, Sofia B; Taylor, Rebecca; Deakin, Elizabeth
    Keywords: Physical Sciences and Mathematics
    Date: 2016–02–08
  8. By: L. Becchetti; V. Pelligra; F. Salustri; A. Vásquez
    Abstract: We report on a simple experimental study designed to investigate the different gender attitudes towards socially responsible consumption. We use the Vote-with-the-Wallet Game (VWG), a version of a repeated multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma that mimics the characteristics of the choice between a conventional and a socially responsible product. More precisely we test the effect of three factors - two different frames and an ex-post redistribution mechanism that transfers resources from purely self-interested consumers to responsible ones. We find that women remain significantly more cooperative (choosing more often the responsible good) when the redistribution mechanism is interrupted and are significantly less satisfied about the behavior of the other players in that treatment.
    Keywords: Responsible Consumption, Gender Differences, social preferences, lab experiment
    JEL: C72 C92
    Date: 2016
  9. By: L. Becchetti; V. Pelligra; A. Vásquez
    Abstract: We test for the existence of gender effects in a “vote with the wallet” multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma. Statics tests and dynamic econometric estimates find that women cooperate significantly more when we start with the baseline version of the game without introducing institutional legality frames, ex post redistribution schemes and conformity information designs. Women therefore reveal themselves as naturaliter more cooperative.
    Keywords: Gender Effects, lab experiment, Redistribution, conformity
    JEL: C92 D7 D73 H2
    Date: 2016
  10. By: Nava Ashraf; Edward L. Glaeser; Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto
    Abstract: Cities generate negative, as well as positive, externalities; addressing those externalities requires both infrastructure and institutions. Providing clean water and removing refuse requires water and sewer pipes, but the urban poor are often unwilling to pay for the costs of that piping. Standard welfare economics teaches us that either subsidies or Pigouvian fines can solve that problem, but both solution are problematic when institutions are weak. Subsidies lead to waste and corruption; fines lead to extortion of the innocent. Zambia has attempted to solve its problem with subsidies alone, but the subsidies have been too small to solve the “last-mile problem” and so most poor households remain unconnected to the water and sewer system. In nineteenth-century New York, subsidies also proved insufficient and were largely replaced by a penalty-based system. We present a model that illustrates the complementarity between infrastructure and institutions and provides conditions for whether fines, subsidies or a combination of both are the optimal response. One point of the model is that the optimal fine is often not a draconian penalty, but a mild charge that is small enough to avoid extortion.
    Keywords: public health, infrastructure, institutions, subsidies, fines, last-mile problem
    JEL: O18 R53 O21 H41 I18 N91
    Date: 2016–01
  11. By: Serkan Gürsoy (Beykoz Vocational School of Logistics)
    Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of information and communication technologies on social capital. It evaluates ICT in terms of “knowledge sharing.” Similarly, social capital is taken into consideration in terms of organizational context. Within such a framework, constructs affiliated with these two concepts have been investigated. This investigation shows that communication technologies and social media technologies do have similar as well as varied impacts on dimensions of social capital. These impacts stem from the developments in the social elements of ICT. Moreover, variations in these elements are reflected as variations in the dimensions of developed social capital between communities with face-to-face interaction and the ones who have not yet achieved face-to-face interaction. This study also reveals that the social capital observed in face-to-face interaction can as well be seen online communities.
    Keywords: Social capital, Information and Communication Technologies
    Date: 2014–04
  12. By: Bosquet, Clément; Overman, Henry G
    Abstract: We consider the link between birthplace and wages. Using a unique panel dataset we estimate a raw elasticity of wage with respect to birthplace size of 4.6%, two thirds of the 6.8% raw elasticity with respect to city size. We consider a number of mechanisms through which this birthplace effect could arise. Our results suggest that inter-generational transmission (sorting) and the effect of birthplace on current location (geography) both play a role in explaining the effect of birthplace. We find no role for human capital formation at least in terms of educational outcomes (learning). Our results highlight the importance of intergenerational sorting in helping explain the persistence of spatial disparities.
    Keywords: lifetime mobility; place of birth; spatial sorting
    JEL: J31 J61 J62 R23
    Date: 2016–01

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