nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒07‒23
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. I lie? We lie! Why? Experimental evidence on a dishonesty shift in groups By Kocher, Martin G.; Schudy, Simeon; Spantig, Lisa
  2. Civility vs. Incivility in Online Social Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach By Antoci, Angelo; Delfino, Alexia; Paglieri, Fabio; Panebianco, Fabrizio; Sabatini, Fabio
  3. The Choice of Honesty: An Experiment Regarding Heterogeneous Responses to Situational Social Norms By Rajna GIBSON BRANDON; Carmen TANNER; Alexander F. WAGNER
  4. Tweet-tales: moods of socio-economic crisis? By Grazia Biorci; Antonella Emina; Michelangelo Puliga; Lisa Sella; Gianna Vivaldo
  5. In God We Learn? Religions’ Universal Messages, Context-Specific Effects, and Minority Status By Pierre-Guillaume Méon; Ilan Tojerow
  6. Public Trust Among Citizen: Inner Cultural Questions By Chanida Jittaruttha
  7. Peer Pressure: Social Interaction and the Disposition Effect By Heimer, Rawley

  1. By: Kocher, Martin G.; Schudy, Simeon; Spantig, Lisa
    Abstract: Unethical behavior such as dishonesty, cheating and corruption occurs frequently in organizations or groups. Recent experimental evidence suggests that there is a stronger inclination to behave immorally in groups than individually. We ask if this is the case, and if so, why. Using a parsimonious laboratory setup, we study how individual behavior changes when deciding as a group member. We observe a strong dishonesty shift. This shift is mainly driven by communication within groups and turns out to be independent of whether group members face payoff commonality or not (i.e. whether other group members benefit from one’s lie). Group members come up with and exchange more arguments for being dishonest than for complying with the norm of honesty. Thereby, group membership shifts the perception of the validity of the honesty norm and of its distribution in the population.
    Keywords: dishonesty; lying; group decisions; communication; norms; experiment
    JEL: C91 C92 D03
    Date: 2016–07–14
  2. By: Antoci, Angelo; Delfino, Alexia; Paglieri, Fabio; Panebianco, Fabrizio; Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: Evidence is growing that forms of incivility –e.g. aggressive and disrespectful behaviors, harassment, hate speech and outrageous claims– are spreading in the population of social networking sites’ (SNS) users. Online social networks such as Facebook allow users to regularly interact with known and unknown others, who can behave either politely or rudely. This leads individuals not only to learn and adopt successful strategies for using the site, but also to condition their own behavior on that of others. Using a mean field approach, we define an evolutionary game framework to analyse the dynamics of civil and uncivil ways of interaction in online social networks and their consequences for collective welfare. Agents can choose to interact with others –politely or rudely– in SNS, or to opt out from online social networks to protect themselves from incivility. We find that, when the initial share of the population of polite users reaches a critical level, civility becomes generalized if its payoff increases more than that of incivility with the spreading of politeness in online interactions. Otherwise, the spreading of self-protective behaviors to cope with online incivility can lead the economy to non-socially optimal stationary states.
    Keywords: online incivility; evolutionary dynamics; self-protective behavior; social networks; dynamics of social interaction; social networking sites; Internet.
    JEL: C61 C63 D85 O3 O33 Z13
    Date: 2016–07–01
  3. By: Rajna GIBSON BRANDON (University of Geneva and Swiss Finance Institute); Carmen TANNER (University of Zurich); Alexander F. WAGNER (University of Zurich and Swiss Finance Institute)
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment in which we expose participants to situational social norms of approval or disapproval of lying. While participants on average conform to the situational pressure, the results highlight important differences in individual reactions. Situational norms crowd out intrinsic preferences for truthfulness; conversely, these preferences support resistance against "bad" norms. The extent and direction of the interaction of individual characteristics with situational norms and with economic incentives shed light on why people act truthfully. Out of several possible explanations, self-signaling under situational pressure provides the most convincing account of the evidence from the experiment.
    Keywords: Crowding-out, honesty, norm conformity, protected values, self-signaling, situational social norms.
    JEL: G02 G30 C91 M14
  4. By: Grazia Biorci (CNR-Ircres, Genova); Antonella Emina (CNR-Ircres, Moncalieri); Michelangelo Puliga (IMT School for Advanced studies Lucca); Lisa Sella (CNR-Ircres, Moncalieri); Gianna Vivaldo (IMT School for Advanced studies Lucca)
    Abstract: The widespread adoption of highly interactive social media like Twitter, Facebook and other platforms allow users to communicate moods and opinions to their social network. Those platforms represent an unprecedented source of information about human habits and socio-economic interactions. Several new studies have started to exploit the potential of these big data as fingerprints of economic and social interactions. The present analysis aims at exploring the informative power of indicators derived from social media activity, with the aim to trace some preliminary guidelines to investigate the eventual correspondence between social media indices and available labour market indicators at a territorial level. The study is based on a large dataset of about 4 million Italian-language tweets collected from October 2014 to December 2015, filtered by a set of specific keywords related to the labour market. With techniques from machine learning and user’s geolocalization, we were able to subset the tweets on specific topics in all Italian provinces. The corpus of tweets is then analyzed with linguistic tools and hierarchical clustering analysis. A comparison with traditional economic indicators suggests a strong need for further cleaning procedures, which are then developed in detail. As data from social networks are easy to obtain, this represents a very first attempt to evaluate their informative power in the Italian context, which is of potentially high importance in economic and social research.
    Keywords: Big data, social media, Twitter, hierarchical clustering, unemployment
    JEL: C4 C49 C55 C81 E24
    Date: 2016–07
  5. By: Pierre-Guillaume Méon; Ilan Tojerow
    Abstract: Pierre-Guillaume Méon and Ilan TojerowWe study the relationship between major religious denominations and individuals’ levels of education, using the World Values Survey. In a first step, running country-by-country regressions, we report first-time evidence that no single denomination has a universal effect on education. Each denomination has a positive and statistically significant effect in some countries, a negative and statistically significant effect in others, and a statistically insignificant effect elsewhere. In a second step, we relate the sign of the impact of a denomination in a country to whether the denomination is a minority in that country. We find that denominations that are a minority in a country are more likely to be associated with a higher level of education, and less likely to be associated with a lower level of education in that country. In both steps, the findings are independent from the specification of the regressions used in the first stage to determine the sign of the impact of denominations on educational outcomes. The finding of the second step is moreover robust to defining minority denominations using various thresholds. It is robust to controlling for whether the denomination is a state religion, for the country’s level of democracy, per capita GDP, or level of education, to introducing denomination- and country- fixed effects, and to controlling for the identity of the largest other denomination in the country.
    Keywords: religion; education; minority
    JEL: I20 O50 Z10
    Date: 2016–07–15
  6. By: Chanida Jittaruttha (Chulalongkorn University)
    Abstract: The new democratic governments often inherited a citizenry with low levels of trust in public institutions and with the habit of relying on inter-personal relations, not public institutions and laws. Public administration scholars generally agree that public ethics are a prerequisite to public trust and a keystone of good governance. Lewis and Cartron (1996, p. 699) stated that “Public service is a public trust. If there is anything unique about public service, it derives from this proposition†. When people think of public ethics, honesty is an important substantive value with a close connection to trust for it implies both truth - telling and responsible behavior that seeks to abide by the rules (Rose - Ackerman, 2001). Fair and reliable public services inspire public trust and create a favorable environment for businesses, thus contributing to well - functioning markets and economic growth (OECD, 2000; 2004). This article aimed to study the level of public trust among Thai citizens which were perceived on ethics of government and officials (Yingluck’s government period). Both questionnaires and interview schedule were synthesized from relevant literatures to explore a field. The findings are as follows: (1) citizen perception on the ethics of honesty of government and officials is at very low level, (2) citizen trust in government and officials was shown at a low level among three realms of trust perception - trustworthiness/ basis trust/ trust culture, (3) relationship between the ethics of government and officials and citizen trust were positively correlated in the same direction at high level (r=.928), (4) apparent behaviors of government and officials’ honesty have disparity from those expected ones at very high level (sig .876) and (5) major barriers of public trust were caused by unethical norms and behaviors, distrust culture, bureaucracy and parliament intervention, unethical leader, mega-project corruption, illegal policy such as ‘amnesty bill’ (6) alignments to cultivate public trust are incorruptibility, public interest and justice preservation, transparency and accountability, respect for the worth, dignity, and diversity, commitment to excellence and to maintaining the public trust. The article postulates sufficient evidence to conclude that citizen trust on the ethics of government and officials is at low level. It highlights where existing measures match the theories and shows a number of trust deficiency, especially over the content of the trust belief correlated with the ethics of honesty and the possible alignments for re contributing public trust among citizen.
    Keywords: Public Trust, Ethics of Honesty, Corruption, Inner Cultural Questions
  7. By: Heimer, Rawley (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
    Abstract: Social interaction contributes to some traders’ disposition effect. New data from an investment-specific social network linked to individual-level trading records builds evidence of this connection. To credibly estimate causal peer effects, I exploit the staggered entry of retail brokerages into partnerships with the social trading web platform and compare trader activity before and after exposure to these new social conditions. Access to the social network nearly doubles the magnitude of a trader’s disposition effect. Traders connected in the network develop correlated levels of the disposition effect, a finding that can be replicated using workhorse data from a large discount brokerage.
    Keywords: Social Network; Investments; Disposition Effect; Influence;
    JEL: G01 G11
    Date: 2016–07–14

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