nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒08‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Learned Generosity? A Field Experiment with Parents and Their Children By Anya Samek; Avner Ben-Ner; John List; Louis Putterman
  2. Dishonesty: From Parents to Children By Anya Samek; Daniel Houser; Joachim Winter; John List; Marco Piovesan
  3. Multilevel Transmission of Cultural Attitudes and Entrepreneurial Intention: Evidence from High-School Students By Annie Tubadji; Enrico Santarelli; Roberto Patuelli
  4. Caring Alone? Social Capital and the Mental Health of Caregivers By Lars Thiel
  5. Social Norms and Teenage Smoking: The Dark Side of Gender Equality By Rodríguez-Planas, Núria; Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna
  6. Gender, Institutions, and Economic Development: Findings and Open Research and Policy Issues By Stephan Klasen
  7. Politicians, bureaucrats, and tax morale: What shapes tax compliance attitudes? By Gabriel Leonardo; Jorge Martinez-Vazquez
  8. Social Networks and Housing Market Investments By Johannes Stroebel
  9. The impact of trust, risk and disaster exposure on microinsurance demand: Results of a DCE analysis in Cambodia By Fiala, Oliver; Wende, Danny
  10. How Do Suggested Donations Affect Charitable Gifts? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Public Broadcasting By Anya Samek; David Reiley

  1. By: Anya Samek; Avner Ben-Ner; John List; Louis Putterman
    Abstract: An active area of research within the social sciences concerns the underlying motivation for sharing scarce resources and engaging in other pro-social actions. We develop a theoretical framework that sheds light on the developmental origins of social preferences by providing mechanisms through which parents transmit preferences for generosity to their children. Then, we conduct a field experiment with nearly 150 3-5 year old children and their parents, measuring (1) whether child and parent generosity is correlated, (2) whether children are influenced by their parents when making sharing decisions and (3) whether parents model generosity to children. We observe no correlation of independently measured parent and child sharing decisions at this young age. Yet, we find that apart from those choosing an equal allocation of resources between themselves and another child, children adjust their behaviors to narrow the gap with their parent's or other adult's choice. We find that fathers, and parents of initially generous children, increase their sharing when informed that their child will be shown their choice.
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Anya Samek; Daniel Houser; Joachim Winter; John List; Marco Piovesan
    Abstract: Acts of dishonesty permeate life. Understanding their origins, and what mechanisms help to attenuate such acts is an underexplored area of research. This study takes an economics approach to explore the propensity of individuals to act dishonestly across different contexts. We conduct an experiment that includes both parents and their young children as subjects, exploring the roles of moral cost and scrutiny on dishonest behavior. We find that the highest level of dishonesty occurs in settings where the parent acts alone and the dishonest act benefits the child. In this spirit, there is also an interesting, quite different, effect of children on parents' behavior: parents act more honestly under the scrutiny of daughters than under the scrutiny of sons. This finding sheds new light on the origins of the widely documented gender differences in cheating behavior observed among adults, where a typical result is that females are more honest than males.
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Annie Tubadji (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy); Enrico Santarelli (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy); Roberto Patuelli (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)
    Abstract: Intention toward any occupational choice can be widely categorized as a rational choice process combined with a subjective attitude function. There is extensive literature dealing with the formation of intention toward entrepreneurship in adolescents, in particular as a result of either parental (vertical) transmission of social capital or network effects from peers or neighbours (the latter two being two different levels of horizontal transmission varying in proximity in terms of bonding and bridging). We contribute to this literature by considering the joint effect of all these three levels simultaneously, in order to avoid an underspecification of the model due to omission of important cultural factors. We hypothesize that such three levels identify a mechanism where the individual perception of their importance interacts with their objective characteristics. With data for second-year high-school students, and employing empirical triangulation through Logit and 3SLS methods, we find evidence for a strong parental effect and of secondary peer effects on student intention. We also detect clear endogenous effects from the neighbourhood and the overall cultural context. Moreover, entrepreneurship is confirmed to be perceived, even by students, as a buffer for unemployment and social mobility.
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Lars Thiel
    Abstract: This study analyzes the role of social capital in buffering the negative relationship between informal-care provision and mental health. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and fixed-effect regression models, we show that those individuals who socialize more frequently enjoy better mental health. We also find that stronger social ties moderate the negative association between caregiving and mental well-being. The protective role of social capital appears to be particularly strong for caregivers with high time commitments or those who regularly perform voluntary work. The moderating role of social activities can neither be explained by the caregiver's observed characteristics correlated with social capital, nor by features of the caregiving process. However, the results might be driven by insuficient overlap in covariates between carers and non-carers, and the simultaneity between caring decisions and social activities. We relate our results to recent policy initiatives that aim to improve the carer's well-being. Utilization of caregiver-support services is still rather low. Our findings suggest that caregivers may prefer informal support provided by family, friends, or neighbors to public caregiver benefits. To corroborate this hypothesis, further research regarding the (causal) buffering effects of social capital in the context of informal care is needed.
    Keywords: Informal care, social capital, mental health
    JEL: I10 J14 Z13
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Rodríguez-Planas, Núria (Queens College, CUNY); Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: This paper is the first to provide evidence that cultural attitudes towards gender equality affect behaviors with potentially devastating health consequences, and that they do so differently for male and female teenagers. In particular, we show that descending from more gender-equal societies makes girls relatively more prone to smoke than boys. Using data from over 6,000 second-generation immigrant teenagers coming from 45 different countries of ancestry and living in Spain, we find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the likelihood that immigrant girls smoke relative to boys, even after we control for parental, sibling, and peer smoking. Importantly, we uncover similar patterns when analyzing other risky behaviors such as drinking or smoking marijuana. This reinforces the idea that more gender-equal social norms may come at an extra cost to women's health, as they increasingly engage in risky behaviors (beyond smoking) traditionally more prevalent among men.
    Keywords: culture and institutions, smoking, risky behaviors, gender equality, gender gap index
    JEL: I10 I12 J15 J16 Z13
    Date: 2016–08
  6. By: Stephan Klasen (Georg-August University Göttingen)
    Abstract: Gender relations are a key institution governing important aspects of production and reproduction of societies. They are guided by formal institutions as well as informal norms and values. As this survey shows, there is great regional heterogeneity in gender inequality in formal and informal social institutions. The literature on long‐term drivers of gender gaps suggests that those gender gaps are related to long‐standing and regularly reproduced gender norms and values related to differences in women's economic opportunities and constraints. The paper also shows that these gender gaps not only affect gender equity but overall development outcomes such as economic growth and reductions in mortality. This is best documented in the case of gender gaps in education but there is also evidence for the negative effects gender of gaps in employment, political and economic empowerment, access to resources, and social institutions on development outcomes. The paper then shows that there has been a large and heterogeneous change in gender gaps. While gender gaps in education (and legal rights) have closed very rapidly, gender gaps in labor force participation, health, political participation, and time use have closed much less rapidly, and there has been virtually progress in reducing occupational and sectoral segregation, unexplained gender pay gaps, and violence against women. The paper presents some hypotheses that might explain this differential performance and also contribute to understanding regional dynamics, before pointing towards a forward‐looking research agenda on better understanding the linkages between institutions and their change, gender inequality, and economic development.
    Keywords: gender; institutions; economic development
    JEL: D63 J71 O15
    Date: 2016–08–09
  7. By: Gabriel Leonardo (International Center for Public Policy. Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University); Jorge Martinez-Vazquez (International Center for Public Policy. Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University)
    Abstract: What actions do governments take that may affect individual trust? Although the literature on tax morale has reported a positive relationship between trust in government and tax morale, it is less known what is that government does to elicit trust among taxpayers. Which government organizations are most likely to produce those actions? This paper examines how governments elicit tax morale by testing the proposition that trust in government is built by the way citizens are treated when receiving their share of public goods and services from government institutions charged with the delivery of those goods and services, known as the output side (Rothstein, 2005). We use data from close to forty countries in the 2005-2007 wave of the World Values Survey (WVS) and after controlling for the level of political rights and civil liberties, we find that trust in administrative (output) government institutions positively influences tax morale, especially in the case of people living in democratic countries.
    Date: 2016–08
  8. By: Johannes Stroebel (New York University)
    Abstract: We document that the house price experience within individuals' social networks affect their housing market expectations, and through this channel have large effects on individual and aggregate housing market outcomes
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Fiala, Oliver; Wende, Danny
    Abstract: Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity and have devastating impacts on individuals, both humanitarian and economic, particularly in developing countries. Microinsurance is seen as one promising instrument of disaster risk management, however the level of demand for respective projects remains low. Using behavioural games and a discrete choice experiment, this paper analyses the demand for hypothetical microinsurance products in rural Cambodia and contributes significant household level evidence to the current research. A general preference for microinsurance can be found, with demand significantly affected by price, provider, requirements for prevention and combinations with credit. Furthermore, financial literacy, risk aversion, levels of trust and previous disaster experience impact the individual demand for flood insurance in rural Cambodia.
    Keywords: microinsurance,trust,risk,discrete choice experiment,Cambodia
    JEL: Q10 Q50 Q54 O10 C25
    Date: 2016
  10. By: Anya Samek; David Reiley
    Abstract: Direct mail fundraisers commonly provide a set of suggested donation amounts to potential donors, in addition to the option of writing in an amount. Yet little systematic evidence exists about the causal effects of suggested donation amounts on giving behavior. To this end, we conducted a field experiment on a direct mail solicitation to nearly 15,000 members of three public broadcasting stations. We varied (1) the vector of suggested amounts, and (2) whether the suggested amounts were fixed or varied as a proportion of the individual's previous donation. We find that increasing the vector of suggested amounts by about 20 percent statistically significantly reduces the overall probability of giving by about 15 percent. The overall impact on revenue is less clear, but appears to be somewhat negative. Higher suggested amounts also lead to write in amounts representing a greater proportion of donations. We attribute our result to the apparent cognitive cost of writing in a preferred amount that differs from a suggested amount. A second field experiment, in which we alter only one of the suggested amounts, gives evidence consistent with that theory and with the idea that donors prefer to give round numbers, as we see donors significantly more likely to give amounts of $90 or higher when suggested $100 versus $95.
    Date: 2015

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