nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒08‒14
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Persistent Social Networks: Civil War Veterans who Fought Together Co-Locate in Later Life By Dora L. Costa; Matthew E. Kahn; Christopher Roudiez; Sven Wilson
  2. Bride Price and Female Education By Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
  3. Gender and Corruption: The Neglected Role of Culture By Julia Debski; Michael Jetter; Saskia Mösle; David Stadelmann
  4. Social participation and self-rated psychological health By Fiorillo, Damiano; Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe; Nappo, Nunzia
  5. New Evidence on Trust and Well-being By John F. Helliwell; Haifang Huang; Shun Wang
  6. Racism and judicial corruption in the US By Michael Jetter; Alejandro Mesa Osorio

  1. By: Dora L. Costa; Matthew E. Kahn; Christopher Roudiez; Sven Wilson
    Abstract: At the end of the U.S Civil War, veterans had to choose whether to return to their prewar communities or move to new areas. The late 19th Century was a time of sharp urban growth as workers sought out the economic opportunities offered by cities. By estimating discrete choice migration models, we quantify the tradeoffs that veterans faced. Veterans were less likely to move far from their origin and avoided urban immigrant areas and high mortality risk areas. They also avoided areas that opposed the Civil War. Veterans were more likely to move to a neighborhood or a county where men from their same war company lived. This co-location evidence highlights the existence of persistent social networks. Such social networks had long-term consequences: veterans living close to war time friends enjoyed a longer life.
    JEL: J61 N91 R23
    Date: 2016–07
  2. By: Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: Traditional cultural practices can play an important role in development, but can also inspire condemnation. The custom of bride price, prevalent throughout sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia as a payment by the groom to the family of the bride, is one example. In this paper, we show a perhaps surprising economic consequence of this practice. We revisit one of the best-studied historical development projects, the INPRES school construction program in Indonesia, and show that previously found small effects on female enrollment mask heterogeneity by bride price tradition. Ethnic groups that traditionally engage in bride price payments at marriage increased female enrollment in response to the program. Within these ethnic groups, higher female education at marriage is associated with a higher bride price payment received, providing a greater incentive for parents to invest in girls' education and take advantage of the increased supply of schools. However, we see no increase in education following school construction for girls from ethnicities without a bride price tradition. We replicate these findings in Zambia, where we exploit a similar school expansion program that took place in the early 2000s. While there may be significant downsides to a bride price tradition, our results suggest that any change to this cultural custom should likely be considered alongside additional policies to promote female education.
    JEL: I21 I25 O53 O55 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2016–07
  3. By: Julia Debski; Michael Jetter; Saskia Mösle; David Stadelmann
    Abstract: Empirical findings of a negative association between female participation in politics and the labor market, and levels of corruption have received great attention. We reproduce this correlation for 177 countries from 1998 to 2014. Once taking account of country-specific heterogeneity by fixed effects, the negative association disappears entirely in terms of statistical significance and magnitude. This suggests that female participation in politics and the labor market is not directly linked to lower corruption. Exploiting different dimensions of culture as country-specific characteristics, our analysis shows that power distance and masculinity systematically affect corruption. These two cultural characteristics are sufficient to fully mitigate any association between gender and corruption. Our findings point out the importance of culture and suggest that its omission causes a spurious correlation, leading to the erroneous claim that increased female participation in public life alone reduces corruption.
    Keywords: Gender; corruption; female participation; power distance; culture; development
    JEL: J16 D73 Z10
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Fiorillo, Damiano; Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe; Nappo, Nunzia
    Abstract: Although structural and cognitive social capital have been hypothesized to have positive influence on psychological health, few papers found positive correlation and causal relationship between social capital dimensions and psychological wellbeing. This longitudinal study investigates the effect of social participation in associations - member, active, member and active - on self-rated psychological health using five waves of the British Household Panel Survey that follows the same individuals between years 1991 and 1995. Self-rated psychological health is assessed by single items of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Using ordered logit fixed effect methods the paper shows that being member and active in associations increases all “positive” items of self-rated psychological health and decreases two main “negative” items of psychological wellbeing.
    Keywords: Social capital, social participation, psychological health, ordered logit fixed effect, British Household Panel Survey
    JEL: C23 D71 I1 I3 Z1
    Date: 2016–08–03
  5. By: John F. Helliwell; Haifang Huang; Shun Wang
    Abstract: This paper first uses data from three large international surveys – the Gallup World Poll, the World Values Survey and the European Social Survey – to estimate income-equivalent values for social trust, with a likely lower bound equivalent to a doubling of household income. Second, the more detailed and precisely measured trust data in the European Social Survey (ESS) show that social trust is only a part of the overall climate of trust. While social trust and trust in police are the most important elements, there are significant additional benefits from trust in three aspects of the institutional environment: the legal system, parliament and politicians. Thus estimates of the total well-being value of a trustworthy environment are larger than those based on social trust alone. Third, the ESS data show that living in a high-trust environment makes people more resilient to adversity. Being subject to discrimination, ill-health or unemployment, although always damaging to subjective well-being, is much less damaging to those living in trustworthy environments. These results suggest a fresh set of links between trust and inequality. Individuals who are subject to discrimination, ill-health or unemployment are typically concentrated towards the lower end of any national distribution of happiness. Thus the resilience-increasing feature of social trust reduces well-being inequality by channeling the largest benefits to those at the low end of the well-being distribution.
    JEL: I31 J15 O57
    Date: 2016–07
  6. By: Michael Jetter; Alejandro Mesa Osorio
    Abstract: Is racial hate reflected in the degree of judicial corruption? Using US state-level data, we find racial hate to be a positive and statistically powerful predictor of judicial corruption. This relationship prevails after the inclusion of the conventional control variables and regional fixed effects. In terms of magnitude, one standard deviation increase of racial hate relates to an increase of 70 percent of one standard deviation in corruption. Interestingly, no such relationship can be found for corruption in the executive or legislative branch.
    Keywords: corruption, racism
    JEL: D63 D73 H73 J15 J78
    Date: 2016–02–02

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