nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒03‒29
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Chance of Influence: A Natural Experiment on the Role of Social Capital in Faculty Recruitment By Olivier Godechot
  2. Effectiveness of Social Capital in the Job Search Process By Ralf Werner Koßmann
  3. Why do some countries fear immigration more than others? Evidence from Europe By Matija Kovacic; Cristina Orso
  4. Religion and the Family: The Case of the Amish By Choy, James P.
  5. Norm enforcement in the city revisited: An international field experiment of altruistic punishment, norm maintenance, and broken windows By Joël Berger; Debra Hevenstone
  6. Terminal Decline in Well-Being: The Role of Social Orientation By Denis Gerstorf; Christiane A. Hoppmann; Corinna E. Löckenhoff; Frank J. Infurna; Jürgen Schupp; Gert G. Wagner; Nilam Ram
  7. Non-Monetary Feedback Induces more Cooperation : Students and Workers in a Voluntary Contribution Mechanism By Davide Dragone; Fabio Galeotti; Raimondello Orsini
  8. Violence Against Women: A Cross-cultural Analysis for Africa By Alberto Alesina; Benedetta Brioschi; Eliana La Ferrara
  9. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Marianne Bertrand; Patricia Cortés; Claudia Olivetti; Jessica Pan
  10. Impact of social interactions on demand curves for innovative products By Katarzyna Maciejowska; Arkadiusz Jedrzejewski; Anna Kowalska-Pyzalska; Rafal Weron
  11. Understanding peer effects : on the nature, estimation and channels of peer effects By Feld J.F.; Zölitz U.N.
  12. A Game Theoretic Approach to Community based Data Sharing in Mobile Ad hoc networks By Premm Raj H.; Ranganathan, Kavitha
  13. Money priming and social behavior of natural groups in simple bargaining and dilemma experiments By Julija Michailova; Christoph Bühren
  14. An economic theory of religious belief By Strulik, Holger
  15. Endogenous Correlated Network Dynamics By Frank Page; Rui Gong; Myrna Wooders
  16. Peer Networks and Tobacco Consumption in South Africa By Alfred Kechia Mukong
  17. Homo moralis: Personal characteristics, institutions, and moral decision-making By Deckers, Thomas; Falk, Armin; Kosse, Fabian; Szech, Nora

  1. By: Olivier Godechot (MaxPo, Sciences Po)
    Abstract: The effect of social capital is often overestimated because contacts and centrality can be a consequence of success rather than its cause. Only rare randomized or natural experiments can assess the real causal effect of social capital. This paper relies on data from one such experiment: faculty recruitment at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) between 1960 and 2005, a leading French institution of higher education in the social sciences. It exploits the fact that the electoral commission, a hiring committee which produces a first ranking of applicants, is partly composed of faculty members drawn at random. It shows that when the PhD advisor is randomly drawn, it doubles the chances of an applicant of being shortlisted.
    Keywords: recruitment; networks; social capital; academia; causality
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Ralf Werner Koßmann
    Abstract: The empirical literature has provided ample yet contradictory evidence on the effectiveness of social ties in the job search process in terms of post-hire outcomes, such as wages or job satisfaction. Whereas early research, mainly focussing on the U.S. labour market, found positive correlations between finding a job via social ties and post-hire outcomes, most recent studies reported inconclusive or even negative correlations. Country differences in the effectiveness of social ties could be explained by differences in the effectiveness of other search channels, e.g. public institutions. Therefore, this study contributes to the existing literature by investigating the effectiveness of social ties in the German labour market which is commonly regarded as rather strict and monitored by strong labour market institutions. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), it is analysed whether wages, job satisfaction, and fluctuation are affected by the job finding channel. Furthermore, this is the first study which investigates whether job changes affect wage and job satisfaction differentials between the current and the previous job. Results show that finding a job via social ties is not related to higher income; yet, weak evidence can be found for higher job satisfaction and a reduction in turnover.
    Keywords: Job search, unemployment, social ties, social capital
    JEL: J24 J28 J31 J63
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Matija Kovacic (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Cristina Orso (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that the individuals' perception of immigration is shake by their cultural and social characteristics. In order to account for cultural differences in a broader sense, we rely on linguistic relativity theory according to which linguistic differences in grammatical structure may induce speakers of different languages to conceptualize and experience the world differently (Sapir (1921), Whorf and Carroll (1964)). Linguistic variation is measured by means of a specific linguistic marker developed in Kovacic et al. (2015) based on the number of grammatical categories (moods)concerned with the expression of uncertainty. We show that more intensive users of these specific grammatical forms are signficantly more intolerant toward immigration with respect to other identical individuals speaking a different language/s. In line with Kovacic et al. (2015), this result can be interpreted as a direct consequence of individual unobserved general attitude towards uncertainty reflected by the specific linguistic marker used to measure the degree of linguistic variation. The results are robust to the inclusion of additional set of explanatory and control variables, country and year fixed effects, and alternative estimation methods.
    Keywords: Immigration, Tolerance, Uncertainty, Integration, Culture, Language
    JEL: D80 Z13 J15 D83
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Choy, James P. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: I construct a model of religion as an institution that provides community enforcement of contracts within families. Family altruism implies that family members cannot commit to reporting broken contracts to the community, so the community must monitor contract performance as well as in icting punishment. The community has less information than family members, and so community monitoring is ine cient. I provide evidence from a study of Amish institutions, including qualitative evidence from sociological accounts and quantitative evidence from a novel dataset covering nearly the entire Amish population of Holmes county, Ohio. I nd that 1) Amish households are not unitary, 2) the Amish community helps to support families by in icting punishments on wayward family members, 3) without the community Amish people have di culty committing to punishing family members, and 4) Amish community membership strengthens family ties, while otherwise similar religious communities in which there is less need for exchange between family members have rules that weaken family ties. My model has implications for understanding selection into religious practice and the persistence of culture.
    Keywords: Cultural Economics, Non-market Production, Public Goods, Religion JEL Classification: D13, H4, Z10, Z12
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Joël Berger; Debra Hevenstone
    Abstract: In laboratory experiments people are willing to sanction norms at a cost – a behavioral tendency called altruistic punishment. However, the degree to which these findings can be generalized to real-world interactions is still debated. Only a small number of field experiments have been conducted and initial results suggest that punishment is less frequent outside of the lab. This study replicates one of the first field experiments on altruistic punishment and builds ties to research on norm compliance and the broken windows theory. The original study addressed the enforcement of the anti-littering norm in Athens. We replicate this study in Bern, Zurich, and New York City. As an extension, we investigate how the experimental context (clean vs. littered) impacts social norm enforcement. As a second extension, we investigate how opportunity structure impacts the maintenance of the anti-littering norm. Findings indicate that norms are universally enforced, although significantly less than in the standard laboratory experiment, and that enforcement is significantly more common in Switzerland than in New York. Moreover, individuals prefer more subtle forms of enforcement to direct punishment. We also find that enforcement is less frequent in littered than in clean contexts, suggesting that broken windows might not only foster deviant behavior but also weaken informal social control. Finally, we find that opportunity structure can encourage people to maintain norms, as indicated by the fact that people are more likely to voluntarily pick up litter when it is closer to a trash bin.
    Keywords: broken windows, field experiment, norm enforcement, punishment, social control
    JEL: H41
    Date: 2016–03–04
  6. By: Denis Gerstorf; Christiane A. Hoppmann; Corinna E. Löckenhoff; Frank J. Infurna; Jürgen Schupp; Gert G. Wagner; Nilam Ram
    Abstract: Well-being development at the end of life is often characterized by steep deteriorations, but individual differences in these terminal declines are substantial and not yet well understood. This study moved beyond the typical consideration of health predictors and explored the role of social orientation and engagement. To do so, we made use of social variables at the behavioral level (self-ratings of social participation) and the motivational level (valuing social and family goals), assessed two to four years before death. We applied single- and multi-phase growth models to up to 27-year annual longitudinal data from 2,910 now deceased participants of the nation-wide German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP; ageat death: M = 74 years; SD = 14; 48% women). Results revealed that leading a socially active life and prioritizing social goals in late life were independently associated with higher late-life well-being, less pronounced late-life decline, and a lateronset of terminal decline. Significant interaction effects suggested that the effects of (reduced) social participation and (lowered) social goals were compounding each other.compound. Findings also indicated that less decline in social participation was associated with shallower rates and a later onset of well-being decline. We found little evidence that valuing family goals is associated with late-life trajectories of well-being. Associations were independent of key correlates of well-being and mortality, including age at death, gender, education, disability, hospital stays, and goals in other life domains. We discuss possible pathways by which maintaining social orientation into late life may help mitigate terminal decline in well-being.
    Keywords: Successful aging, life satisfaction, social support, longitudinal change, development, mortality, German Socio-Economic Panel Study, SOEP
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Davide Dragone (University of Bologna, Department of Economics, Piazza Scaravilli 2, 40126 Bologna, Italy); Fabio Galeotti (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France); Raimondello Orsini (University of Bologna, Department of Economics, Strada Maggiore 45, 40125 Bologna, Italy)
    Abstract: We conduct an artefactual field experiment to study and compare the behavior of workers and students in a linear voluntary contribution mechanism in which subjects can assign immaterial sanctions or rewards to the other group members. We find that both students and workers sanction group members who contribute less than the group average, and reward those who contribute more. In both subject samples, the use of non-monetary sanctions and rewards induces more cooperation. The magnitude of the effect, however, is heterogeneous, as feedback has more impact among students who, contrary to workers, respond positively to sanctions. Students also tend to use sanctions more than workers. We discuss the implications of these findings for social cohesion, cooperative spirit and organizational efficiency in the workplace.
    Keywords: public good, field experiment, non-monetary sanctions and rewards, communication, external validity
    JEL: C92 C93 H41
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Alberto Alesina; Benedetta Brioschi; Eliana La Ferrara
    Abstract: Using a new dataset, we investigate the determinants of violence against women in Africa. We focus on cultural factors arising from pre-colonial customs and find evidence consistent with two hypotheses. First, ancient socioeconomic conditions determine social norms about gender roles, family structures and intrafamily violence which persist even when the initial conditions change. Norms about marriage patterns, living arrangements and the productive role of women are associated with contemporary violence. Second, women’s contemporary economic role affects violence in a complex way which is itself related to traditional norms in ancient times and current bargaining power within the marriage.
    JEL: E62
    Date: 2016–01
  9. By: Marianne Bertrand; Patricia Cortés; Claudia Olivetti; Jessica Pan
    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.
    JEL: J0 J01 J11 J12 J16
    Date: 2016–02
  10. By: Katarzyna Maciejowska; Arkadiusz Jedrzejewski; Anna Kowalska-Pyzalska; Rafal Weron
    Abstract: Empirical studies suggest that word-of-mouth (WOM) strongly influences the innovation diffusion process and is responsible for the 'S' shape of the adoption curve. However, it is not clear how WOM affects demand curves for innovative products and strategic decisions of producers. Using an agent-based model of innovation diffusion, which links consumer opinions with reservation prices, we show that a relatively strong WOM effect can lead to the creation of two separated price-quantity regimes, with a nonlinear transition between them. A small shift of the product's market price can result in a drastic change of the demanded quantity and, hence, the revenues of a firm. Using Monte Carlo simulations and mean-field treatment we demonstrate that WOM may have ambiguous consequences and should be taken into account when designing marketing strategies.
    Keywords: Word-of-mouth; Innovation diffusion; Agent-based model; Demand curve; Marketing strategy
    JEL: C63 O33 Q55
    Date: 2016–03–10
  11. By: Feld J.F.; Zölitz U.N. (ROA)
    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, lowachieving 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
  12. By: Premm Raj H.; Ranganathan, Kavitha
    Abstract: Government interventions on usage of free speech for communication has been rising of late. The government of Iraq’s ban on the Internet, ban of mobile communications in Hong Kong student protests highlight the same. Applications like Firechat which use mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) to enable off the grid communication between mobile users, have gained popularity in these regions. However, there have been limited studies on selfish user behavior in community data sharing networks. We wish to study these data sharing communities using game theoretic principles and propose a normal form game. We model selfishness in community data sharing MANETs and define the rationality for selfishness in these networks. We also look at the impact of altruism in community data sharing MANETs and address the issue of minimum number of altruistic users needed to sustain the MANET. We validate the novel model using exhaustive simulations and empirically derive important observations.
  13. By: Julija Michailova (Kozminski University); Christoph Bühren (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: We examine the effects of money priming and solidarity on individual behavior in three simple experiments: dictator game, ultimatum game, and prisoner’s dilemma. Our study comprises two money treatments and two neutral (control) treatments. Additionally, we control for the strength of social ties between experimental participants. Although our priming procedure is sufficient to remind people of the concept of money, it is not sufficient to induce systematically different behavior of the treatment groups compared to the control groups. Moreover, we do not find any significant differences between groups with strong vs. weak social ties. Since our findings contradict previous research, it calls for further investigation on the topic of how money priming influences economic behavior.
    Keywords: money priming; bargaining; dilemma; social behavior; natural groups; economic experiment
    JEL: C78 C9
    Date: 2015
  14. By: Strulik, Holger
    Abstract: In this paper I consider how individuals allocate their time between church attendance (and other religious activities) and secular leisure activities. Moreover individuals use a cognitive style, which is either intuitive-believing or reflective-analytical. I assume that the full benefit from religious activities is achieved by intuitive believers. The model predicts that, ceteris paribus, wealthier individuals and individuals with higher cognitive ability are more likely to abandon the intuitive-believing cognitive style. They may continue to attend church but do so less frequently than intuitive believers. In general equilibrium, there exists a locally stable steady state where believing and frequent church attendance is widespread across the social strata. A sufficiently large negative shock (e.g. the Enlightenment, repeal of Sunday shopping laws), however, initiates the gradual secularization of society.
    Keywords: religiosity,church attendance,cognitive style,consumerism,fuzzy fidelity
    JEL: N30 D11 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2016
  15. By: Frank Page (Indiana University); Rui Gong (Indiana University); Myrna Wooders (Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: We model the structure and strategy of social interactions prevailing at any point in time as a directed network and address the following question: given the rules of network and coalition formation, preferences of individuals over networks, strategic behavior of coalitions in forming networks, and the trembles of nature, what network and coalitional dynamics are likely to emergence and persist. We formulate the problemas a dynamic, stochastic game and v equilibrium (in network and coalition formation strategies), (ii) together with the trembles of nature, this correlated stationary equilibrium determines an equilibrium Markov process of network and coalition formation, and (iii) this endogenous Markov process possesses a finite set of ergodic measures, and generates a finite, disjoint collection of nonempty subsets of networks and coalitions, each constituting a basin of attraction. Moreover, we extend to the setting of endogenous Markov dynamics the notions of pairwise stability (Jackson-Wolinsky, 1996) and the path dominance core (Page Wooders, 2009a). We show that in order for any network-coalition pair to emerge and persist, it is necessary that the pair reside in one of finitely many basins of attraction. The results we obtain here build on Page and Wooders (2009a)and the seminal contributions of Jackson and Watts (2002), Konishi and Ray (2003), and Dutta, Ghosal, and Ray (2005).
    Keywords: KEYWORDS: games of network formation, stationary Markov correlated equilibrium, equilibrium Markov process of network formation, basins of attraction, Harris decomposition, ergodic probability measures, dynamic path dominance core,dynamic pairwise stability.
    JEL: C7 C6
    Date: 2016–03–13
  16. By: Alfred Kechia Mukong
    Abstract: This paper deepens the empirical analysis of peer networks by considering simultaneously their effects smoking participation and smoking intensity. Peer network is key in determining the smoking behaviour of youths, but the magnitude of the effects is still debated, questioned and inconclusive. I used a control function approach, a two-step least square and the fixed effect method to address the potential endogeneity of peer network. The results suggest positive and signicant peer effects on smoking participation and intensity. While the magnitude of the estimates of smoking participation varies across methodological approaches (ranging between 4 and 20 percent), that of smoking intensity ranges between 3 and 22 percent. Including older adults in the peer reference group increases the peer eects. The findings suggest that policies (excise tax) that directly aect the decision to smoke and the smoking intensity of the peer reference group are likely to aect own smoking behaviour.
    Keywords: Peer network, Smoking behavior, Control function, South Africa
    JEL: I10 I12 D12 C36
    Date: 2016
  17. By: Deckers, Thomas; Falk, Armin; Kosse, Fabian; Szech, Nora
    Abstract: This paper studies how individual characteristics, institutions, and their interaction influence moral decisions. We validate a moral paradigm focusing on the willingness to accept harming third parties. Consequences of moral decisions are real. We explore how moral behavior varies with individual characteristics and how these characteristics interact with market institutions compared to situations of individual decision-making. Intelligence, female gender, and the existence of siblings positively influence moral decisions, in individual and in market environments. Yet in markets, most personalities tend to follow overall much lower moral standards. Only fluid intelligence specifically counteracts moral-eroding effects of markets.
    Keywords: homo moralis,moral personality,real moral task,markets and personality,trade and morals
    JEL: D02 D03 J10
    Date: 2016

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