nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒05‒28
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Cooperation or Competition? A field experiment on non-monetary learning incentives By Margherita Fort; Maria Bigoni; Mattia Nardotto; Tommaso Reggiani
  2. Whom do people trust after a violent conflict? Experimental evidence from Maluku, Indonesia By Werner, Katharina
  3. The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment By Fabian Kosse; Thomas Deckers; Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch; Armin Falk
  4. Inequality, Distributive Beliefs and Protests: A Recent Story from Latin America By Patricia Justino; Bruno Martorano
  5. Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do Online Social Networks Raise Social Comparisons? By Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
  6. Selfies, therefore Selfish? An Experiment on the Impact and Value of a Selfie By Holm, Hakan J.; Samahita, Margaret
  7. Competition for the access to and use of information in networks By Philipp Möhlmeier; Agnieszka Rusinowska; Emily Tanimura
  8. You’ll never walk alone. An experimental study on receiving money By Tjøtta, Sigve
  9. Adoption with Social Learning and Network Externalities By Marcel Fafchamps; Mans Soderbom; Monique vanden Boogaart
  10. Got milk? Motivation for honesty and cheating in informal markets: Evidence from India By Kröll, Markus; Rustagi, Devesh

  1. By: Margherita Fort; Maria Bigoni; Mattia Nardotto; Tommaso Reggiani
    Abstract: We assess the effect of two antithetic non-monetary incentive schemes based on grading rules on students' effort, using experimental data. We randomly assigned students to a tournament scheme that fosters competition between paired up students, a cooperative scheme that promotes information sharing and collaboration between students and a baseline treatment in which students can neither compete nor cooperate. In line with theoretical predictions, we find that competition induces higher effort with respect to cooperation, whereas cooperation does not increase effort with respect to the baseline treatment. Nonetheless, we find a strong gender effect since this result holds only for men while women do not react to this type of non-monetary incentives.
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Werner, Katharina
    Abstract: A long-standing - although not uncontested - view is that violent conflicts reduce average levels of trust. Other theoretical and empirical work emphasizes discriminatory effects, namely that conflicts may enhance ingroup trust and erode out-group trust. The present study combines a trust game and a questionnaire to investigate the impact of direct and indirect conflict exposure on trust between Muslim and Christian students in postconflict Maluku, Indonesia. Reduced average levels of trust are found for subjects who were indirectly exposed to the conflict. Discriminatory effects are related to direct exposure: Directly exposed subjects trust in-group members much more than out-group members. The rationale may be the following: Directly exposed subjects made negative experiences with outgroup members, but also experienced solidarity within their group during the conflict. Indirectly exposed subjects, on the other hand, heard about negative experiences of others without being sufficiently involved to have made such distinct experiences with in-group and out-group members. Unable to distinguish friend from foe, they reduce trust toward everyone.
    Keywords: trust,conflict,direct exposure,indirect exposure,religion,discrimination
    JEL: C93 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Fabian Kosse; Thomas Deckers; Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch; Armin Falk
    Abstract: This study presents descriptive and causal evidence on the role of social environment for the formation of prosociality. In a first step, we show that socio-economic status (SES) as well as the intensity of mother-child interaction and mothers' prosocial attitudes are systematically related to elementary school children's prosociality. In a second step, we present evidence on a randomly assigned variation of the social environment, providing children with a mentor for the duration of one year. Our data include a two-year follow-up and reveal a significant and persistent increase in prosociality in the treatment relative to the control group. Moreover, enriching the social environment bears the potential to close the observed developmental gap in prosociality between low and high SES children. Our findings suggest that the program serves as a substitute for prosocial stimuli in the family environment.
    Keywords: Formation of preferences, prosociality, social preferences, trust, social inequality
    JEL: D64 C90
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Patricia Justino; Bruno Martorano
    Abstract: This paper analyses the role of perceptions of inequality and distributive beliefs in motivating people to engage in protests. The paper focuses on the case of Latin America, where an interesting paradox has been observed: despite considerable reductions in inequality, most countries in Latin America have experienced increases in protests and civil unrest in the last decade. In order to understand this paradox, we analyse the relationship between inequality and protests in recent years in Latin America, using micro-level data on individual participation in protests in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The results show that civil protests are driven by distributive beliefs and not by levels of inequality because individual judgments and reactions are based on own perceptions of inequality that may or may not match absolute levels of inequality. The results also point to the important role of government policy in affecting perceptions of inequality and ensuring social and political stability.
    Keywords: Perception of inequality, inequality, distributive beliefs, protests, Latin America
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco
    Abstract: Online social networks, such as Facebook, disclose an unprecedented volume of personal information amplifying the occasions for social comparisons, which can be a cause of frustration. We test the hypothesis that the use of social networking sites (SNS) increases social comparisons as proxied by people’s dissatisfaction with their income and we compare the effect of SNS in Western and Eastern European countries. After controlling for the possibility of reverse causality, our results suggest that SNS users have a higher probability to compare their achievements with those of others. In Western countries, this leads individuals to a lower satisfaction with their economic conditions. The opposite holds in Eastern countries, where upward comparisons seemingly strengthen the hope that an improvement in individuals’ economic conditions will occur (so called “tunnel effect”). We conclude that SNS can be a strong engine of frustration for their users depending on the institutional and economic circumstances.
    Keywords: Social Networks, Social Networking Sites, Social Comparisons, Satisfaction with Income, Relative Deprivation, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, D83, I31, O33, Z1, Z13,
    Date: 2016–04–30
  6. By: Holm, Hakan J. (Department of Economics, Lund University); Samahita, Margaret (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We investigate whether taking a selfie affects our willingness to cooperate and what factors affect our willingness to publish certain information on the web. Consistent with behavioral addiction theories, taking a selfie has a strong negative impact on cooperation among subjects who take selfies frequently, but not on other subjects. We also find that adding a selfie to information about the subject's degree of cooperation will increase the subject's unwillingness to publish her information. This selfie premium is significantly negatively correlated with the subject's degree of cooperation. Furthermore, we find lower heterogeneity in the premium demanded for publishing a subject's degree of cooperation when it is accompanied by a selfie, as subjects become less concerned about hiding or promoting their contribution.
    Keywords: selfie; cooperation; social media; social image
    JEL: C90 C91 D80 D82
    Date: 2016–05–05
  7. By: Philipp Möhlmeier (BiGSEM - Bielefeld University - Center for Mathematical Economics); Agnieszka Rusinowska (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Emily Tanimura (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In a network formation framework, where payoffs reflect an agent's ability to access information from direct and indirect contacts, we integrate negative externalities due to connectivity associated with two types of effects: competition for the access to information, and rivalrous use of information. We consider two separate models to capture the first and the second situations, respectively. In the first model, we assume that information is a non-rivalrous good but that there is competition for the access to information, for example because an agent with many contacts must share his time between them and thus has fewer opportunities to pass on information to each particular contact. The main idea is that the probability that each neighbor receives the information decreases with the number of contacts the sender has. In the second model, we assume that there is not competition for the access to information but that the use of information is rivalrous. In this case, it is assumed that when people receive the information before me, the harmful effect is greater than when others receive the information at the same time as myself. Our results concern pairwise stability and efficiency in both models and allow us to compare and contrast the effects of two kinds of competition for information.
    Abstract: Dans un cadre de formation de réseau, où les gains reflètent la capacité d'un agent pour accéder aux informations de contacts directs et indirects, nous intégrons des externalités négatives dues à la connectivité associé à deux types d'effets : la concurrence pour l'accès à l'information, et l'utilisation de la rivalité de l'information. Nous considérons deux modèles distincts pour capturer la première et la seconde situation, respectivement. Dans le premier modèle, nous supposons que l'information est un bien non-rivalité, mais qu'il existe une concurrence pour l'accès à l'information, par exemple en raison d'un agent avec de nombreux contacts qui doit partager son temps entre eux et a donc moins d'occasions de transmettre des informations à chaque contact. L'idée principale est que la probabilité que chaque voisin reçoit l'information diminue avec le nombre de contacts qu'a l'expéditeur. Dans le second modèle, nous supposons qu'il n'y a pas de concurrence pour l'accès à l'information, mais que l'utilisation de l'information est compétitive. En outre, il est supposé que les personnes qui reçoivent l'information avant moi ont un effet plus néfaste sur mon utilité que les personnes qui reçoivent l'information en même temps que moi. Nos résultats concernent la stabilité par paire et l'efficacité dans les deux modèles et nous permettent de comparer et contraster les effets de deux types de concurrence pour obtenir des informations.
    Keywords: network formation,connections model,negative externalities,pairwise stability,efficiency,formation de réseaux,modèle des connexions,information,externalités négatives,stabilité,efficacité
    Date: 2016–04
  8. By: Tjøtta, Sigve (Department of Economics, University of Bergen)
    Abstract: Is more money better than less? Not always. It depends on the situation. If more money for oneself means less money for a stranger, the majority of participants in dictator games choose less money for themselves. But if they really are alone - and thus do not have to share with a stranger - will they always choose to receive more money instead of less? Here, I report results from seven experiments. On average, one-third of a total of 3,351 participants chose to receive less money instead of more. In one experiment even a majority choose to receive less money. In four of the experiments the participants also faced the corresponding dictator experiment where there is an explicit anonymous recipient of the foregone money. There is a high positive correlation between “giving” as a dictator and when alone. This result opens up possibilities for broader interpretations that go beyond social the preference interpretation of giving in the dictator game.
    Keywords: More or less Money; Dictator game; Distributional and non-distributional norms
    JEL: D01 D03 D63
    Date: 2016–05–13
  9. By: Marcel Fafchamps; Mans Soderbom; Monique vanden Boogaart
    Abstract: Using a large administrate dataset covering the universe of phone calls and airtime transfers in a country over a four year period, we examine the pattern of adoption of airtime transfers over time. We start by documenting strong network effects: increased usage of the new airtime transfer service by social neighbors predicts a higher adoption probability. We then seek to narrow down the possible sources of these network effects by distinguishing between network externalities and social learning. Within social learning, we also seek to differentiate between learning about existence of the new product from learning about its quality or usefulness. We find robust evidence suggestive of social learning both for the existence and the quality of the product. In contrast, we find that network effects turn negative after first adoption, suggesting that airtime transfers are strategic substitutes among network neighbors.
    JEL: D12 D83 O33
    Date: 2016–05
  10. By: Kröll, Markus; Rustagi, Devesh
    Abstract: We examine the role of motivation for honesty for cheating in informal milk markets with asymmetric information in India. Using a novel experimental design that combines a die task with Bluetooth technology, we contrast reported with actual outcomes to construct precise measures of motivation for honesty at the level of an individual milkmen. We then buy milk from the same milkmen to obtain objective measures of the percentage of water added to the milk sold. Our findings reveal that dishonest milkmen cheat by adding much more water to milk than honest milkmen, which widens with the degree of dishonesty. Additionally analyses reveal that difficulties in ex-post verification of milk quality limit the scope of reputation and product differentiation in mitigating cheating and that market structure allows for the co-existence of honest and dishonest milkmen. Our study offers a new tool to measure precisely motivation for honesty, as well as its importance in mitigating cheating in markets that are vital for human health and nutrition.
    Keywords: motivation for honesty,asymmetric information,cheating,informal markets,die game,milk,India
    JEL: C93 D82 O12 O17
    Date: 2016

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