nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒06‒04
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Social Media and Protest Participation: Evidence from Russia By Enikolopov, Ruben; Makarin, Alexey; Petrova, Maria
  2. The Economic Implications of Social Capital on Hispanic Entrepreneurship By Torres, Ariana; Marshall, Maria; Delgado, Michael
  3. Civic capital and support for the welfare state By Cerqueti, Roy; Sabatini, Fabio; Ventura, Marco
  4. The Value of Social Capital in Cropland Leasing Relationships By Taylor, Mykel; Featherstone, Allen
  5. The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic By Toman Barsbai; Hillel Rapoport; Andreas Steinmayr; Christoph Trebesch
  6. Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do Online Social Networks Raise Social Comparisons? By Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
  7. Do I care if others lie? Current and future effects of delegation of lying By Serhiy Kandul; Oliver Kirchkamp
  8. Modelling Trading Networks and the Role of Trust By Rafael A. Barrio; Tzipe Govezensky; \'Elfego Ruiz-Guti\'errez; Kimmo K. Kaski
  9. Institutions and Growth in Europe By Masuch, Klaus; Moshammer, Edmund; Pierluigi, Beatrice

  1. By: Enikolopov, Ruben; Makarin, Alexey; Petrova, Maria
    Abstract: Do new communication technologies, such as social media, reduce collective action problem? This paper provides evidence that penetration of VK, the dominant Russian online social network, affected protest activity during a wave of protests in Russia in 2011. As a source of exogenous variation in network penetration, we use information on the city of origin of the students who studied together with the founder of VK, controlling for the city of origin of the students who studied at the same university several years earlier or later. We find that a 10% increase in VK penetration increased the probability of a protest by 4.6%, and the number of protesters by 19%. Additional results suggest that social media has affected protest activity by reducing the costs of coordination, rather than by spreading information critical of the government. In particular, VK penetration increased pro-governmental support and reduced the number of people who were ready to participate in protests right before the protests took place. Also, cities with higher fractionalization of network users between VK and Facebook experienced fewer protests. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that municipalities with higher VK penetration received smaller transfers from the central government after the occurrence of protests.
    Keywords: collective action; impact of technology adoption; political protests; social media
    JEL: D7 H0
    Date: 2016–05
  2. By: Torres, Ariana; Marshall, Maria; Delgado, Michael
    Abstract: This project assesses the effect of social capital, defined as the clustering of Hispanics, on the probability of Hispanic business creation. A big issue in the social capital literature is identification. We use new econometric procedures to try to address this possible endogeneity and draw causal conclusions on the effect of social interactions on individual economic behavior. This essay provide robust empirical evidence on the role of social capital on Hispanic entrepreneurship. We also tackle the constructs of Hispanic heterogeneity and find a potential indicator for the Hispanic entrepreneurial environment.
    Keywords: Hispanic, entrepreneurship, social capital, clustering, endogeneity, instrumental variable, Latino, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Cerqueti, Roy; Sabatini, Fabio; Ventura, Marco
    Abstract: We model the way the interplay between tax surveillance institutions and civic capital shapes taxpayers' support for welfare state. We show that, when tax surveillance is tight, rational civic-minded individuals express greater support for welfare spending than uncivic ones. We provide empirical evidence of these preferences using data from Italy, a country that has long posed a puzzle for public economists for its limited civic capital and large welfare state.
    Keywords: welfare state, redistribution, tax surveillance, social trust, civic capital, social capital
    JEL: D63 H10 H11 H5 H53 Z1 Z18
    Date: 2016–05–24
  4. By: Taylor, Mykel; Featherstone, Allen
    Abstract: In the U.S. economy, informal bargaining between persons for services or assets of relatively high value is common (e.g. used cars, houses). However, there is one example encountered frequently in agriculture: the cropland lease. Many farmers rent at least a portion of their cropland and typically no formal markets exist for pricing rental rates. This reliance on informal bargaining for the primary capital asset in farming suggests lease rates and the relationship between landowner and tenant have significant economic implications. Leasing relationships may be as long as a generation, with some land passing to the next generation without interruption. Does the existence of such a long-lived and close relationship affect the rates at which the land is leased? If so, cropland leases offer a unique test of the theory of social capital which posits that outcomes are a result of the interaction between traditional market behavior and social customs or norms. By characterizing the social aspects of cropland leasing relationships and their corresponding rental rates, this study analyzes the market for cropland to determine if lease rates are consistent with the theory of social capital. Data from a 2015 survey of Kansas farmers asking for contract terms and landowner characteristics were used to estimate a hedonic regression model. Empirical results support the hypothesis of a negative impact on rental rates from longer-term leasing relationships.
    Keywords: farmland, leasing, rental rates, social capital, Farm Management, Land Economics/Use,
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Toman Barsbai (Kiel Institute for the World Economy - Kiel Institute for the World Economy); Hillel Rapoport (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics); Andreas Steinmayr (University of Munich); Christoph Trebesch (CESifo - Center for Economic Studies and Ifo for Economic Research - CESifo Group Munich, University of Munich)
    Abstract: Migration contributes to the circulation of goods, knowledge, and ideas. Using community and individual-level data from Moldova, we show that the emigration wave that started in the late 1990s strongly affected electoral outcomes and political preferences in Moldova during the following decade, eventually contributing to the fall of the last Communist government in Europe. Our results are suggestive of information transmission and cultural diffusion channels. Identification relies on the quasiexperimental context and on the differential effects arising from the fact that emigration was directed both to more democratic Western Europe and to less democratic Russia.
    Keywords: Emigration,political institutions,elections,social networks,information transmission,cultural diffusion
    Date: 2016–05
  6. By: Fabio Sabatini (Sapienza University of Rome and LCSR National Research University Higher School of Economics); Francesco Sarracino (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg (STATEC), Agence pour la normalisation et l’ économie de la connaissance (ANEC) and LCSR National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    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 circumstancesKeywords: Social Networks, Social Networking Sites, Social Comparisons, Satisfaction with Income, Relative Deprivation
    JEL: D83 I31 O33 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2016–04
  7. By: Serhiy Kandul (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena); Oliver Kirchkamp (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to find out why people are telling the truth: is it a desire to respect trust, to avoid losses for others, or a mere distaste for lying per se? To answer this question we study a sender-receiver game where it is possible to delegate the act of lying and where it is possible to take pro-social actions in a subsequent dictator game. We examine how delegation affects the outcomes of people's current and future ethical decisions. We find that a non-trivial fraction of participants delegate their decision. However, delegation is associated with higher transfers in the subsequent dictator game
    Keywords: Sender-Receiver games, moral balancing, guilt aversion
    JEL: C72 D82
    Date: 2016–05–18
  8. By: Rafael A. Barrio; Tzipe Govezensky; \'Elfego Ruiz-Guti\'errez; Kimmo K. Kaski
    Abstract: We present a simple dynamical model for describing trading interactions between agents in a social network by considering only two dynamical variables, namely money and goods or services, that are assumed conserved over the whole time span of the agents' trading transactions. A key feature of the model is that agent-to-agent transactions are governed by the price in units of money per goods, which is dynamically changing, and by a trust variable, which is related to the trading history of each agent. All agents are able to sell or buy, and the decision to do either has to do with the level of trust the buyer has in the seller, the price of the goods and the amount of money and goods at the disposal of the buyer. Here we show the results of extensive numerical calculations under various initial conditions in a random network of agents and compare the results with the available related data. In most cases the agreement between the model results and real data turns out to be fairly good, which allow us to draw some general conclusions as how different trading strategies could affect the distribution of wealth in different kinds of societies.
    Date: 2016–05
  9. By: Masuch, Klaus; Moshammer, Edmund; Pierluigi, Beatrice
    Abstract: This paper provides empirical evidence in support of the view that the quality of institutions is an important determinant of long-term growth of European countries. When also taking into account the initial level of GDP per capita and government debt, cross-country institutional differences can explain to a great extent the relative long-term GDP performance of European countries. It also shows that an initial government debt level above a threshold (e.g. 60-70%) coupled with institutional quality below the EU average tends to be associated with particularly poor long-term real growth performance. Interestingly, the detrimental effect of high debt levels on long-term growth seems cushioned by the presence of very sound institutions. This might be because good institutions help to alleviate the debt problem in various ways, e.g. by ensuring sufficient fiscal consolidation in the longer-run, allowing for better use of government expenditures and promoting sustainable growth, social fairness and more efficient tax administration. The quality of national institutions seems to enhance the long-term GDP performance across a large sample of countries, also including OECD countries outside Europe. The paper offers some evidence that, in the presence of good institutions, conditions for catching-up seem generally good also for euro-area and fixed exchange rate countries. Looking at sub-groupings, it seems that sound institutions may be particularly important for long-term growth in the countries where the exchange rate tool is no longer available (and where also sovereign debt is high), and less so in the countries with flexible exchange rate regimes. However, this result is preliminary and requires further research. The empirical findings on the importance of institutions are robust to various measures of output growth, different measures of institutional indicators, different sample sizes, different country groupings and to the inclusion of additional control variables. Overall, the results tend to support the call for structural reforms in general and reforms enhancing the efficiency of public administration and regulation, the rule of law and the fight against rent-seeking and corruption in particular.
    Date: 2016–04

This nep-soc issue is ©2016 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.