nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒06‒09
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Trust in banks By Fungáčová, Zuzana; Hasan, Iftekhar; Weill, Laurent
  2. Cooperation, Punishment and Organized Crime: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in Southern Italy By Nese, Annamaria; O'Higgins, Niall; Sbriglia, Patrizia; Scudiero, Maurizio
  3. Networks and the macroeconomy: an empirical exploration By Acemoglu, Daron; Akcigit, Ufuk; Kerr, William R.
  4. Social Networks and Housing Markets By Michael Bailey; Ruiqing Cao; Theresa Kuchler; Johannes Stroebel
  5. Image versus Information: Changing Societal Norms and Optimal Privacy By Ali, S. Nageeb; Benabou, Roland
  6. Social capital and debt contracting: evidence from bank loans and public bonds By Hasan, Iftekhar; Hoi, Chun-Keung (Stan); Wu, Qiang; Zhang, Hao
  7. Tie creation versus tie persistence in cluster knowledge networks By Sándor Juhász; Balázs Lengyel
  8. Who bears the burden of bribery? Evidence from Public Service Delivery in Kenya By Mbate, Michael
  9. Social Influence Bias in Online Ratings: A Field Experiment By S. Cicognani; P. Figini; M. Magnani
  10. Social diffusion of religious values within families: Conceptual and methodological considerations By Arránz Becker, Oliver; Lois, Daniel; Steinbach, Anja

  1. By: Fungáčová, Zuzana; Hasan, Iftekhar; Weill, Laurent
    Abstract: ​Trust in banks is considered essential for an effective financial system, yet little is known about what determines trust in banks. Only a handful of single-country studies discuss the topic, so this paper aims to fill the gap by providing a cross-country analysis on the level and determinants of trust in banks. Using World Values Survey data covering 52 countries during the period 2010–2014, we observe large cross-country differences in trust in banks and confirm the influence of several sociodemographic indicators. Our main findings include: women tend to trust banks more than men; trust in banks tends to increase with income, but decrease with age and education; access to television enhances trust, while internet access erodes trust; and religious, political, and economic values may affect trust in banks. Notably, religious individuals tend to put greater trust in banks, but differences are observed across denominations. The holding of pro-market economic views is also associated with greater trust in banks.
    Keywords: banking, trust, institutions, religion
    JEL: G21 O16 Z1
    Date: 2016–05–13
  2. By: Nese, Annamaria (University of Salerno); O'Higgins, Niall (ILO International Labour Organization); Sbriglia, Patrizia (University of Naples II); Scudiero, Maurizio (Ministry of Justice, Italy)
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of an experimental investigation which allows a deeper insight into the nature of social preferences amongst organized criminals and how these differ from "ordinary" criminals on the one hand and from the non‐criminal population in the same geographical area on the other. We provide experimental evidence on cooperation and response to sanctions by running Prisoner's Dilemma and Third Party Punishment games on three different pools of subjects; students, 'Ordinary Criminals' and Camorristi (Neapolitan 'Mafiosi'). The latter two groups being recruited from within prisons. We are thus able to separately identify 'Prison' and 'Camorra' effects. Camorra prisoners show a high degree of cooperativeness and a strong tendency to punish, as well as a clear rejection of the imposition of external rules even at significant cost to themselves. In contrast, ordinary criminals behave in a much more opportunistic fashion, displaying lower levels of cooperation and, in the game with Third Party punishment, punishing less as well as tending to punish cooperation (almost as much) as defection. Our econometric analyses further enriches the analysis demonstrating inter alia that individuals' locus of control and reciprocity are associated with quite different and opposing behaviours amongst different participant types; a strong sense of self‐determination and reciprocity both imply a higher propensity to cooperate and to punish for both students and Camorra inmates, but quite the opposite for ordinary criminals, further reinforcing the contrast between the behaviour of ordinary criminals and the strong internal mores of Camorra clans.
    Keywords: experimental economics, economics of crime, models of identity, prisoner's dilemma, third party punishment
    JEL: A13 D63 D23 C92 K42 Z13
    Date: 2016–04
  3. By: Acemoglu, Daron; Akcigit, Ufuk; Kerr, William R.
    Abstract: The propagation of macroeconomic shocks through input-output and geographic networks can be a powerful driver of macroeconomic fluctuations. We first exposit that in the presence of Cobb-Douglas production functions and consumer preferences, there is a specific pattern of economic transmission whereby demand-side shocks propagate upstream (to input-supplying industries) and supply-side shocks propagate downstream (to customer industries) and that there is a tight relationship between the direct impact of a shock and the magnitudes of the downstream and the upstream indirect effects. We then investigate the short-run propagation of four different types of industry-level shocks: two demand-side ones (the exogenous component of the variation in industry imports from China and changes in federal spending) and two supply-side ones (TFP shocks and variation in knowledge/ideas coming from foreign patenting). In each case, we find substantial propagation of these shocks through the input-output network, with a pattern broadly consistent with theory. Quantitatively, the network-based propagation is larger than the direct effects of the shocks. We also show quantitatively large effects from the geographic network, capturing the fact that the local propagation of a shock to an industry will fall more heavily on other industries that tend to collocate with it across local markets. Our results suggest that the transmission of various di¤erent types of shocks through economic networks and industry interlinkages could have first-order implications for the macroeconomy.
    Keywords: economic fluctuations, geographic collocation, input-output linkages, networks, propagation, shocks
    JEL: E32
    Date: 2015–12–09
  4. By: Michael Bailey; Ruiqing Cao; Theresa Kuchler; Johannes Stroebel
    Abstract: We document that the recent house price experiences within an individual’s social network affect her perceptions of the attractiveness of property investments, and through this channel have large effects on her housing market activity. Our data combine anonymized social network information from Facebook with housing transaction data and a survey. We first show that in the survey, individuals whose geographically-distant friends experienced larger recent house price increases consider local property a more attractive investment, with bigger effects for individuals who regularly discuss such investments with their friends. Based on these findings, we introduce a new methodology to document large effects of housing market expectations on individual housing investment decisions and aggregate housing market outcomes. Our approach exploits plausibly-exogenous variation in the recent house price experiences of individuals’ geographically-distant friends as shifters of those individuals’ local housing market expectations. Individuals whose friends experienced a 5 percentage points larger house price increase over the previous 24 months (i) are 3.1 percentage points more likely to transition from renting to owning over a two-year period, (ii) buy a 1.7 percent larger house, (iii) pay 3.3 percent more for a given house, and (iv) make a 7% larger downpayment. Similarly, when homeowners’ friends experience less positive house price changes, these homeowners are more likely to become renters, and more likely to sell their property at a lower price. We also find that when individuals observe a higher dispersion of house price experiences across their friends, this has a negative effect on their housing investments. Finally, we show that these individual-level responses aggregate up to affect county-level house prices and trading volume. Our findings suggest that the house price experiences of geographically-distant friends might provide a valid instrument for local house price growth.
    JEL: D12 D14 D84 G12 R21
    Date: 2016–05
  5. By: Ali, S. Nageeb (Pennsylvania State University); Benabou, Roland (Princeton University)
    Abstract: We analyze the costs and benefits of using social image to foster virtuous behavior. A Principal seeks to motivate reputation-conscious agents to supply a public good. Each agent chooses how much to contribute based on his own mix of public-spiritedness, private signal about the value of the public good, and reputational concern for appearing prosocial. By making individual behavior more visible to the community the Principal can amplify reputational payoffs, thereby reducing free-riding at low cost. Because societal preferences constantly evolve, however, she knows only imperfectly both the social value of the public good (which matters for choosing her own investment, matching rate or legal policy) and the importance attached by agents to social esteem and sanctions. Increasing publicity makes it harder for the Principal to learn from what agents do (the "descriptive norm") what they really value (the "prescriptive norm"), thus presenting her with a tradeoff between incentives and information aggregation. We derive the optimal degree of privacy/publicity and matching rate, then analyze how they depend on the economy's stochastic and informational structure. We show in particular that in a fast-changing society (greater variability in the fundamental or the image-motivated component of average preferences), privacy should generally be greater than in a more static one.
    Keywords: social norms, privacy, transparency, incentives, esteem, reputation, shaming punishments, conformity, societal change, culture
    JEL: D62 D64 D82 H41 K42 Z13
    Date: 2016–05
  6. By: Hasan, Iftekhar; Hoi, Chun-Keung (Stan); Wu, Qiang; Zhang, Hao
    Abstract: We find that firms headquartered in U.S. counties with higher levels of social capital incur lower bank loan spreads. This finding is robust to using organ donation as an alternative social-capital measure and incremental to the effects of religiosity, corporate social responsibility, and tax avoidance. We identify the causal relation using companies with a social-capital-changing headquarter relocation. We also find that high-social-capital firms face loosened nonprice loan terms, incur lower at-issue bond spreads, and prefer bonds over loans. We conclude that debt holders perceive social capital as providing environmental pressure constraining opportunistic firm behaviors in debt contracting.
    Keywords: social capital, cooperative norm, moral hazard, cost of bank loans, public bonds
    JEL: G21 G32 Z13
    Date: 2015–11–20
  7. By: Sándor Juhász; Balázs Lengyel
    Abstract: Knowledge networks in industrial clusters are frequently analyzed but we know very little about creation and persistence of ties in these networks. We argue that tie creation primarily depends on opportunities and thus the position ofactors in the network and in space; while tie persistence is influenced by the value of the tie. Accordingly, results from a Hungarian printing and paper product cluster suggest that reciprocity, triadic closure, and geographical proximity between firms increase the probability of tie creation. Tie persistence is positively affected by technological proximity between firms and the number of their extra-regional ties.
    Keywords: knowledge networks, clusters, network dynamics, stochastic actor-oriented models
    JEL: D85 L14 R11 O31
    Date: 2016–05
  8. By: Mbate, Michael
    Abstract: This paper empirically examines how an individual’s economic, social and political capital affects the propensity to make bribe payments in exchange for public services. Using an individual-level survey on bribes, the econometric results suggest that the burden of bribery is borne by the poor, but substantially decreases when institutions that constrain bureaucratic corruption are strong and effective. The results also show that bribery incidences decrease when social capital is high but increase when political networks are prevalent. These findings support the need to combine anti-corruption reforms with poverty reduction strategies in order to foster equity in public services provision in Kenya.
    Keywords: Poverty, Bribery, Institutions
    JEL: H41 O55
    Date: 2015–08
  9. By: S. Cicognani; P. Figini; M. Magnani
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to study the empirical phenomenon of rating bubbles, i.e. clustering on extremely positive values in e-commerce platforms and rating web sites. By means of a field experiment that exogenously manipulates prior ratings for a hotel in an important Italian tourism destination, we investigate whether consumers are influenced by prior ratings when evaluating their stay (i.e., social influence bias). Results show that positive social influence exists, and that herd behavior is asymmetric: information on prior positive ratings has a stronger influence on consumers’ rating attitude than information on prior mediocre ratings. Furthermore, we are able to exclude any brag-or-moan effect: the behavior of frequent reviewers, on average, is not statistically different from the behavior of consumers who have never posted ratings online. Yet, non-reviewers exhibit a higher influence to excellent prior ratings, thus lending support to the social influence bias interpretation. Finally, also repeat customers are affected by prior ratings, although to a lesser extent with respect to new customers.
    JEL: C93 D83 L86 Z31
    Date: 2016–02
  10. By: Arránz Becker, Oliver; Lois, Daniel; Steinbach, Anja
    Abstract: Family members create for each other the social context in which family behavior and personality development take place. The importance of social influence in families is evidenced empirically by family members' great similarity on a wide variety of characteristics. Focusing on intrafamily convergence on religiosity, the study discuses empirical methods of dyadic analysis and illustrates their use with an analysis of horizontal intracouple alignment and vertical intergenerational transmission. In addition to the finding that experiences during religious socialization in the parental home have a stronger impact than partner influences in adulthood, the analyses show that social context effects are stronger when the interaction dyad is more cohesive, as measured by, for example, relationship quality.
    Abstract: Familienmitglieder repräsentieren füreinander jeweils gegenseitig den sozialen Kontext, innerhalb dessen sich familiales Handeln und individuelle Persönlichkeitsentwicklung abspielen. Soziale Einflüsse in Familien äußern sich empirisch in einer überzufälligen Ähnlichkeit der Familienmitglieder hinsichtlich einer großen Bandbreite von Merkmalen. Der vorliegende Beitrag fokussiert auf die intrafamiliale Homogenisierung hinsichtlich Religiosität, wobei in einem empirischen Datenbeispiel horizontale Paar-Angleichungsprozesse sowie vertikale intergenerationale Transmissionsprozesse untersucht werden. Neben dem Befund, dass Sozialisationserfahrungen im Elternhaus bedeutsamer sind als spätere Partnereinflüsse, zeigen die Analysen, dass soziale Kontexteffekte umso stärker ausfallen, je größer die Kohäsion in der jeweiligen Interaktionsdyade ist; hier operationalisiert über die Beziehungsqualität.
    Keywords: Intergenerational Transmission,Homogamy,Religion,Dyadic Analysis,Socialization,Social Context,Intergenerationale Transmission,Homogamie,Religion,Dyadische Datenanalyse,Sozialisation,sozialer Kontext
    Date: 2016

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