nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒03‒10
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Shrieking Sirens. Schemata, Scripts, and Social Norms: How Change Occurs By Cristina Bicchieri; Peter McNally; ;
  2. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Bertrand, Marianne; Cortes, Patricia; Olivetti, Claudia; Pan, Jessica
  3. Understanding peer effects - On the nature, estimation and channels of peer effects By Feld J.F.; Zölitz U.N.
  4. The Impact of Social Pressure on Tax Compliance: a Field Experiment By Pietro Battiston; Simona Gamba
  5. Partners in Crime: Schools, Neighborhoods and the Formation of Criminal Networks By Stephen Billings; David Deming; Stephen L. Ross
  6. One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime By Do, Quoc-Anh; Nguyen, Kieu-Trang; Tran, Anh
  7. The Impacts of Other-Regarding Preferences and Ethical Choice on Environmental Outcomes: A Review of the Literature By Ngo Van Long
  8. Lab Measures of Other-Regarding Preferences Can Predict Some Related On-the-Job Behavior: Evidence from a Large Scale Field Experiment By Burks, Stephen V.; Nosenzo, Daniele; Anderson, Jon E.; Bombyk, Matthew; Ganzhorn, Derek; Götte, Lorenz; Rustichini, Aldo
  9. Immigrant Volunteering: A Way Out of Labour Market Discrimination? By Baert, Stijn; Vujić, Sunčica
  10. Inter-ethnic trust in the aftermath of mass violence: insights from large-N life histories By Ingelaere, Bert; Verpoorten, Marijke

  1. By: Cristina Bicchieri; Peter McNally (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania); ;
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal relationships among scripts, schemata, and social norms. The authors examine how social norms are triggered by particular schemata and are grounded in scripts. Just as schemata are embedded in a network, so too are social norms, and they can be primed through spreading activation. Moreover, the expectations that allow a social norm’s existence are inherently grounded in particular scripts and schemata. Using interventions that have targeted gender norms, open defecation, female genital cutting, and other collective issues as examples, the authors argue that ignoring the cognitive underpinnings of a social norm doom interventions to failure.
    Keywords: script, schema, norms, social norms, gender, interventions
    JEL: Z13 Z18 C99
    Date: 2016–02
  2. By: Bertrand, Marianne; Cortes, Patricia; Olivetti, Claudia; Pan, Jessica
    Abstract: In most of the developed world, skilled women marry at a lower rate than unskilled women. We document heterogeneity across countries in how the marriage gap for skilled women has evolved over time. As labor market opportunities for women have improved, the marriage gap has been growing in some countries but shrinking in others. We discuss a theoretical model in which the (negative) social attitudes towards working women might contribute towards the lower marriage rate of skilled women, and might also induce a non-linear relationship between their labor market prospects and their marriage outcomes. The model is suited to understand the dynamics of the marriage gap for skilled women over time within a country with set social attitudes towards working women. The model also delivers predictions about how the marriage gap for skilled women should react to changes in their labor market opportunities across countries with more or less conservative attitudes towards working women. We test the key predictions of this model in a panel of 23 developed countries, as well as in a panel of US states.
    Date: 2016–02
  3. By: Feld J.F.; Zölitz U.N. (GSBE)
    Abstract: This paper estimates peer effects in a university context where students are randomly assigned to sections. While students benefit from better peers on average, low-achieving students are harmed by high-achieving peers. Analyzing students course evaluations suggests that peer effects are driven by improved group interaction rather than adjustments in teachers behavior or students effort. We further show, building on Angrist 2014, that classical measurement error in a setting where group assignment is systematic can lead to substantial overestimation of peer effects. With random assignment, as is the case in our setting, estimates are only attenuated.
    Keywords: Analysis of Education; Education and Inequality; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity;
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Pietro Battiston; Simona Gamba
    Abstract: We study the effect of social pressure on tax compliance, focusing on the compliance of shop sellers to the legal obligation of releasing tax receipts for each sale. We carry out a field experiment on bakeries in Italy, where a strong gap exists between the legal obligation and the actual behavior of sellers. Social pressure is manipulated by means of an explicit request for a receipt when not released. We employ an innovative approach to the identification of the treatment effect. We find that a single request for a receipt causes a 17 per cent rise in the probability of a receipt being released for a sale occurring shortly thereafter, causing on average more than two receipts to be released. We also find strong evidence of persistence in compliance decisions.
    Keywords: Tax evasion, field experiment, peer pressure, social pressure
    JEL: C93 H32 K34
    Date: 2016–02
  5. By: Stephen Billings (University of North Caroline Charlotte); David Deming (Harvard University); Stephen L. Ross (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Why do crime rates differ greatly across neighborhoods and schools? Comparing youth who were assigned to opposite sides of newly drawn school boundaries, we show that concentrating disadvantaged youth together in the same schools and neighborhoods increases total crime. We then show that these youth are more likely to be arrested for committing crimes together--to be "partners in crime." Our results suggest that direct peer interaction is a key mechanism for social multipliers in criminal behavior. As a result, policies that increase residential and school segregation will--all else equal--increase crime through the formation of denser criminal networks.
    Keywords: youth crime, criminal partnerships, neighborhood effects, social interactions
    JEL: I20 J10 K40 R20
    Date: 2016–02
  6. By: Do, Quoc-Anh; Nguyen, Kieu-Trang; Tran, Anh
    Abstract: We study patronage politics in authoritarian Vietnam, using an exhaustive panel of 603 ranking officials from 2000 to 2010 to estimate their promotions' impact on infrastructure in their hometowns of patrilineal ancestry. Native officials' promotions lead to a broad range of hometown infrastructure improvement. Hometown favoritism is pervasive across all ranks, even among officials without budget authority, except among elected legislators. Favors are narrowly targeted towards small communes that have no political power, and are strengthened with bad local governance and strong local family values. The evidence suggests a likely motive of social preferences for hometown.
    Keywords: authoritarian regime; distributive politics; favoritism; hometown; infrastructure; patronage; political connection
    JEL: D72 H72 O12
    Date: 2016–02
  7. By: Ngo Van Long
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature concerning the impacts of other-regarding preferences and ethical choice on environmental outcomes when agents behave strategically. We consider two types of other-regarding preferences: (i) envy or status concern, (ii) altruism and inequality aversion. We contrast the preference-based approach with the ethical approach in which some choices are made on ethical ground and thus are not necessarily utility-maximizing. Models exhibiting other-regarding preferences do not yield unambiguous results concerning the effects of strategic behavior on the environment. In contrast, models in which choices are motivated by Kantian ethics display more robust results. Cet article offre un survol de la littérature sur les effets environnementaux des choix motivés par des considérations éthiques et des préférences qui portent sur les autres. On considère les préférences influencées par i) l’envie ou par ii) l’altruisme et l’aversion de l’inégalité. On compare l’approche basée sur ces préférences et l’approche basée sur l’éthique. Les modèles inspirés de la première approche ne donnent pas des résultats robustes. Par contre, les modèles basés sur la dernière approche sont beaucoup plus robustes.
    Keywords: Corporate governance; environment; Kantian equilibrium, Gouvernance d’entreprise; environnement; équilibre kantien
    JEL: Q31 Q42
    Date: 2016–02–22
  8. By: Burks, Stephen V. (University of Minnesota, Morris); Nosenzo, Daniele (University of Nottingham); Anderson, Jon E. (University of Minnesota, Morris); Bombyk, Matthew (Innovations for Poverty Action); Ganzhorn, Derek (Northwestern University); Götte, Lorenz (University of Bonn); Rustichini, Aldo (University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: We measure a specific form of other-regarding behavior, costly cooperation with an anonymous other, among 645 subjects at a trucker training program in the Midwestern US. Using subjects' second-mover strategy in a sequential form of the Prisoners' Dilemma, we categorize subjects as: Free Rider, Conditional Cooperator, and Unconditional Cooperator. We observe the subjects on the job for up to two years afterwards in two naturally-occurring choices – whether to send two types of satellite uplink messages from their trucks. The first identifies trailers requiring repair, which benefits fellow drivers, while the second benefits the experimenters by giving them some follow-up data. Because of the specific nature of the technology and job conditions (which we carefully review) each of these otherwise situationally similar field decisions represents an act of costly cooperation towards an anonymous other in a setting that does not admit of repeated-game or reputation-effect explanations. We find that individual differences in costly cooperation observed in the lab do predict individual differences in the field in the first choice but not the second. We suggest that this difference is linked to the difference in the social identities of the beneficiaries (fellow drivers versus experimenters), and we conjecture that whether or not individual variations in pro-sociality generalize across settings (whether in the lab or field) may depend in part on this specific contextual factor: whether the social identities, and the relevant prescriptions (or norms) linked to them that are salient for subjects (as in Akerlof and Kranton (2000); (2010)), are appropriately parallel.
    Keywords: experiments, generalizability, external validity, parallelism, social identity, other-regarding behavior, costly cooperation, social preferences, prisoners' dilemma, trucker, truckload
    JEL: B4 C9 D03
    Date: 2016–02
  9. By: Baert, Stijn (Ghent University); Vujić, Sunčica (University of Antwerp)
    Abstract: Many governments encourage migrants to participate in volunteer activities as a stepping stone to labour market integration. In the present study, we investigate whether this prosocial engagement lowers the hiring discrimination against them. To this end, we use unique data from a field experiment in which fictitious job applications are sent in response to real vacancies in Belgium. Ethnic origin and volunteer activities are randomly assigned to these applications. While non-volunteering native candidates receive more than twice as many job interview invitations as non‐volunteering migrants, no unequal treatment is found between natives and migrants when they reveal volunteer activities.
    Keywords: immigrants, volunteering, discrimination, hiring, integration
    JEL: J15 J71 D64
    Date: 2016–02
  10. By: Ingelaere, Bert; Verpoorten, Marijke
    Abstract: We study the changes in inter-ethnic trust in Rwanda, in the period 1989-2011, bracketing genocide and other forms of violence. We rely on a combination of quantitative and narrative analysis of over 400 individual life histories in which inter-ethnic trust was systematically coded. We show that a huge decline in inter-ethnic trust at the time of violence was followed by a gradual recovery. We find the recovery to be nonlinear, thus not simply a matter of time, but responsive to three phenomena: major political events, policies that have a profound impact on the social tissue, and shifts in the societal narrative. The life story narratives indicate that these events, policies and shifting public discourse affect inter-ethnic trust by triggering affective and cognitive processes, i.e. a change in emotions or the updating of information and expectations. We compare the results with findings from Burundi where an identical research design was used.
    Keywords: Rwanda; inter-ethnic trust; life histories
    Date: 2016–02

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