nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒03‒17
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Networks in the Diaspora By Gil S. Epstein; Odelia Heizler (Cohen)
  2. Immigrants, Trust and Social Traps By Marini, Annalisa
  3. Cultural Beliefs, Values and Economics: A Survey By Marini, Annalisa
  4. Social Contacts, Dutch Language Proficiency and Immigrant Economic Performance in the Netherlands: A Longitudinal Study By Chiswick, Barry R.; Wang, Zhiling
  5. Autonomy, Social Interactions and Culture By Marini, Annalisa; Navarra, Pietro
  6. Cooperation, Motivation and Social Balance By Bosworth, Steven; Singer, Tania; Snower, Dennis J.
  7. Referrals: peer screening and enforcement in a consumer credit field experiment By Gharad Bryan; Dean Karlan; Jonathan Zinman
  8. Small-world conservatives and rigid liberals : attitudes towards sharing in self-proclaimed left and right By Thomsson K.M.; Vostroknutov A.
  9. Overcoming Coordination Failure in a Critical Mass Game: Strategic Motives and Action Disclosure By Aidas Masiliunas
  10. Heterogeneous intergenerational altruism By Antony Millner
  11. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Marianne Bertrand; Patricia Cortés; Claudia Olivetti; Jessica Pan

  1. By: Gil S. Epstein (Bar-Ilan University); Odelia Heizler (Cohen) (Tel-Aviv-Yaffo Academic College)
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine possible types of network formation among immigrants in the diaspora and between those immigrants and the locals in different countries. We present the model by considering different possible interactions between immigrants and the new society in their host country. Spread of migrants from the same origin in the diaspora may well increase international trade between the different countries, depending on the types of networks formed. We present possible applications of network structure on the country of origin, such as on international trade. We find that when the size of the diaspora is sufficiently large, the natives in the different countries will be willing to bear the linking cost with the immigrants because the possible benefits increase with increasing size of the diaspora.
    Keywords: Immigrants, Networks, Diaspora
    JEL: D85 D74 J61 L14
    Date: 2016–02
  2. By: Marini, Annalisa
    Abstract: The paper estimates a social interactions model to study the impact of culture on US immigrants' decisions. Findings vary by group of immigrants and by type of social interactions and they are robust to both additional checks and sensitivity analysis. The paper contributes to the literature as follows. It first estimates a social interactions model that models both group formation and the formation of social interactions. Besides, since this is an observational learning model policy suggestions may be drawn to favor integration of immigrants. Finally, it provides a new empirical strategy to study the impact of both inherited and contemporaneous culture on individual decisions.
    Keywords: Social Interactions, Culture, Sequential Logit, Simulations
    JEL: C1 C31 Z1
    Date: 2016–01
  3. By: Marini, Annalisa
    Abstract: The present work reviews the relation between culture and economics; in doing so, we often distinguish between the historical component of culture (i.e. inherited values) and its contemporaneous component (i.e. social interactions). First, the paper emphasizes which cultural traits are relevant in economics, reviews situations where culture affects economic outcomes and addresses the relevance of culture across time and space. Then, it explains the theoretical framework of reference for the transmission of both contemporaneous and inherited culture. Finally, it presents econometric techniques available to the researchers and suitable to investigate the impact of culture on economic outcomes, providing suggestions for future research.
    Keywords: Contemporaneous Culture, Inherited Culture, Cultural Econometrics
    JEL: C0 Z1
    Date: 2016–01
  4. By: Chiswick, Barry R. (George Washington University); Wang, Zhiling (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data on immigrants in the Netherlands for the years 1991, 1994, 1998, 2002, we examined the impacts of social contacts and Dutch language proficiency on adult foreign-born men's earnings, employment and occupational status. The main conclusions are as follows. On average, social contacts and a good mastery of the Dutch language enhance immigrants' economic performances. The effects are stronger for immigrants with low-skill-transferability than for immigrants with high-skill-transferability, and are stronger for economic migrants than for non-economic migrants. Contact with Dutch people and Dutch organisations unambiguously enhances all aspects of immigrants' economic performance, however, we found no evidence for the positive effect of co-ethnic contact on employment status.
    Keywords: social capital, Dutch language proficiency, labour market performance, Dutch immigrants, skill transferability
    JEL: J15 J61 Z13
    Date: 2016–02
  5. By: Marini, Annalisa; Navarra, Pietro
    Abstract: The present paper, using a social interactions model, studies the impact of culture on autonomy of immigrants. The results suggest that: (i) immigrants' autonomy is largely influenced by the autonomy of individuals living in a host country; (ii) some immigrants are better off in countries and regions with better institutional environments. The results are robust to sensitivity checks. The contributions of the paper are as follows. First, we estimate a social interactions model that models both the formation of social interactions and the sorting of individuals to study the impact of culture on individual autonomy. Second, we estimate a model that analyzes the impact of both confidence in the individual and collective culture on individuals' decisions. Finally, since this is an observational learning model, policy suggestions may be drawn from the analysis.
    Keywords: Autonomy, Social Interactions and Culture
    JEL: C3 Z1
    Date: 2016–02
  6. By: Bosworth, Steven; Singer, Tania; Snower, Dennis J.
    Abstract: This paper examines the reflexive interplay between individual decisions and social forces to analyze the evolution of cooperation in the presence of "multi-directedness", whereby people's preferences depend on their psychological motives. People have access to multiple, discrete motives. Different motives may be activated by different social settings. Inter-individual differences in dispositional types affect the responsiveness of people's motives to their social settings. The evolution of these dispositional types is driven by changes in the frequencies of social settings. In this context, economic policies can influence economic decisions not merely by modifying incentives operating through given preferences, but also by influencing people's motives (thereby changing their preferences) and by changing the distribution of dispositional types in the population (thereby changing their motivational responsiveness to social settings).
    Keywords: Cooperation; Dispositions; Endogenous preferences; motivation; Reflexivity; Social dilemma
    JEL: A13 C72 D01 D03 D62 D64
    Date: 2016–02
  7. By: Gharad Bryan; Dean Karlan; Jonathan Zinman
    Abstract: Empirical evidence on peer intermediation lags behind many years of lending practice and a large body of theory in which lenders use peers to mitigate adverse selection and moral hazard. Using a simple referral incentive mechanism under individual liability, we develop and implement a two-stage field experiment that permits separate identification of peer screening and enforcement effects. We allow for borrower heterogeneity in both ex-ante repayment type and ex-post susceptibility to social pressure. Our key contribution is how we deal with the interaction between these two sources of asymmetric information. Our method allows us to identify selection on the likelihood of repayment, selection on the susceptibility to social pressure, and loan enforcement. We estimate peer effects on loan repayment in our setting, and find no evidence of screening (albeit with an imprecisely estimated zero) and large effects on enforcement. We then discuss the potential utility and portability of the methodological innovation, for both science and for practice.
    JEL: C93 D12 D14 D82 O12 O16
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Thomsson K.M.; Vostroknutov A. (GSBE)
    Abstract: We experimentally explore the way political preferences shape giving behavior. We find no difference in average giving between the Left and the Right in a Dictator game environment. However, we find the reasons for giving to be different. Right-leaning individuals give according to a norm-dependent utility that takes into account the beliefs of the receiver. The behavior of left-leaning individuals is not shaped by such an interaction between norms and beliefs. We conclude that right-wingers choose in accordance with a small world view, where giving is shaped by social interaction, while left-wingers appear rigid in their reaction to social context.
    Keywords: Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Individual; Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Group Behavior; Behavioral Economics: Underlying Principles; Altruism; Philanthropy;
    JEL: C91 C92 D03 D64
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Aidas Masiliunas (Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS)
    Abstract: We study whether coordination failure is more often overcome if players can easily disclose their actions. In an experiment subjects first choose their action and then choose whether to disclose this action to other group members, and disclosure costs are varied between treatments. We find that no group overcomes coordination failure when action disclosure costs are high, but half of the groups do so when the costs are low. Simulations with a belief learning model can predict which groups will overcome coordination failure, but only if it is assumed that players are either farsighted, risk-seeking or pro-social. To distinguish between these explanations we collected additional data on individual preferences and the degree of farsightedness. We find that in the low cost treatment players classified as more farsighted more often deviate from an inefficient convention and disclose this action, while the effect of risk and social preferences is not significant.
    Keywords: lock-in, coordination failure, learning, strategic teaching, information, collective action, critical mass
    JEL: C72 C92 D83
    Date: 2016–02–11
  10. By: Antony Millner
    Abstract: Agents exhibit pure intergenerational altruism if they care not just about the consumption utility experienced by future generations, but about their total wellbeing. If all generations are altruistic, each generation’s wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of its descendants. Thus pure intergenerational altruism causes generations’ preferences to be interdependent. While existing models study the relationship between pure intergenerational altruism and conventional time preferences, they assume that altruistic preferences are homogeneous across society. In effect, agents impose their own preferences on future generations, whether they share them or not. By contrast, we study pure intergenerational altruism when agents’ preferences are heterogeneous and fully non-paternalistic, i.e. they evaluate the wellbeing of future agents according to their own sovereign intergenerational preferences. We demonstrate that homogeneous models of intergenerational altruism over (under) estimate the weight an agent places on future utilities if she is less (more) altruistic than average. Moreover, all non-paternalistic agents agree on the appropriate long-run utility discount rate, regardless of their preferences. In general, existing derivations of exponential or quasi-hyperbolic time preferences from homogeneous models of pure intergenerational altruism are not robust to heterogeneity.
    Date: 2016–02
  11. By: Marianne Bertrand (Booth School of Business, University of Chicago); Patricia Cortés (Questrom School of Business, Boston University); Claudia Olivetti (Boston College; NBER); Jessica Pan (National University of Singapore)
    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.
    Keywords: Marriage, Social Norms, Gender
    JEL: J11 J12 J16
    Date: 2016–02–03

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