nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2016‒10‒16
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Mobile Messaging for Offline Social Interactions: A Large Field Expeiment By Ginger Zhe Jin; Guodong Gao; Tianshu Sun
  2. Voting to Tell Others By Gautam Rao; John List; Stefano DellaVigna; Ulrike Malmendier
  3. Beyond the personal-anonymous divide: Agency relations in powers of attorney in France, 18th–19th centuries By Fabien Eloire; Claire Lemercier; Veronica Aoki Santarosa
  4. Who Becomes a Politican? By Dal Bó, Ernesto; Finan, Frederico; Folke, Olle; Persson, Torsten; Rickne, Johanna
  5. Trust-building in international business ventures By Alexandra Gerbasi; Dominika Latusek
  6. Gender Differences in Compliance: The Role of Social Value Orientation By Grosch, Kerstin; Rau, Holger A.
  7. The Concept of ‘Friendship’ in Late 18th – Early 19th Century Russia: Social Cohesion Reconsidered By Maiia Lavrinovich
  8. Does Social Interaction Improve Learning Outcomes? Field Evidence from Massive Open Online Education By Dennis Zhang; Gad Allon; Jan Van Mieghem

  1. By: Ginger Zhe Jin; Guodong Gao; Tianshu Sun
    Abstract: While much research has examined the role of technology in moderating online user connections, how IT motivates offline interactions among users is much less understood. Using a randomized field experiment involving 80,000 participants, we study how mobile messaging can leverage recipients' social ties to encourage blood donation. There are three main findings: first, both behavior intervention (in the form of reminder message) and economic reward (in the form of individual or group reward) increase donations, but only the messages with group reward are effective in motivating more donors to donate with their friend(s); second, group reward tends to attract different types of donors, especially those who are traditionally less active in online social setting; and third, across all treatments, message recipients donate a greater amount of blood if their friends are present. Structural estimation further suggests that rewarding group donors is four times more cost-effective than rewarding individual donors. Based on the structural estimates, we perform policy simulations on the optimal design of mobile messaging. The method of combining structural model and randomized field experiment opens new frontiers for research on leveraging IT to mobilize a user's social network for social good.
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Gautam Rao; John List; Stefano DellaVigna; Ulrike Malmendier
    Abstract: Why do people vote? We design a field experiment to estimate a model of voting 'because others will ask'. The expectation of being asked motivates turnout if individuals derive pride from telling others that they voted, or feel shame from admitting that they did not vote, provided that lying is costly. In a door-to-door survey about election turnout, we experimentally vary (i) the informational content and use of a flyer pre-announcing the survey, (ii) the duration and payment for the survey, and (iii) the incentives to lie about past voting. The experimental results indicate significant social image concerns. For the 2010 Congressional election, we estimate a value of voting 'to tell others' of about $15, contributing 2 percentage points to turnout. Lastly, we evaluate a get-out-the-vote intervention in which we tell potential voters that we will ask if they voted.
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Fabien Eloire (CLERSE - Centre lillois d'études et de recherches sociologiques et économiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lille, Sciences et Technologies); Claire Lemercier (CSO - Centre de sociologie des organisations - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Veronica Aoki Santarosa (University of Michigan [Ann Arbor])
    Abstract: Powers of attorney are often interpreted as evidence of trust among the parties involved, and as such, of the existence of personal links between principals and their proxies. We build a novel dataset of notarized powers of attorney capturing a wide variety of agency relationships in four large French commercial cities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to test hypotheses on the relational basis of economic relationships. We find little support for the idea of an evolution from personal to anonymous relationships during our period. Rather, our results point to the complementarity of embeddedness and formality, and suggest an increase over time in the importance of relationships based on repeated interactions, and a broad homophily driving merchants to choose fellow merchants as proxies.
    Keywords: proxy form,power of attorney,trust,agency relations,procuration,mandat,confiance
    Date: 2016–08–01
  4. By: Dal Bó, Ernesto (University of California at Berkeley); Finan, Frederico (University of California at Berkeley); Folke, Olle (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Persson, Torsten (Institute for International Economic Studies); Rickne, Johanna (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: Can a democracy attract competent leaders, while attaining broad representation? Economic models suggest that free-riding incentives and lower opportunity costs give the less competent a comparative advantage at entering political life. Also, if elites have more human capital, selecting on competence may lead to uneven representation. We examine patterns of political selection among the universe of municipal politicians in Sweden using extraordinarily rich data on competence traits and social background for the entire population. We document four new facts: First, politicians are on average signi cantly smarter and better leaders than the population they represent. Second, the representation of social background, whether measured by intergenerational earnings or social class, is remarkably even. Third, there is at best a weak tradeo in selection between competence and representation. Fourth, both material and intrinsic motives matter in selection, as does screening by political parties.
    Keywords: Political Selection; Political Representation; Family Background; Competence
    JEL: H10 H70
    Date: 2016–09–15
  5. By: Alexandra Gerbasi (MTS - Management Technologique et Strategique - Grenoble École de Management (GEM)); Dominika Latusek (Department of Management - Kozminski University)
    Abstract: Purpose: This article investigates collaboration and coordination practices in the organization whose members come from two countries that differ dramatically in generalized trust: Poland and the United States. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative field study conducted in Silicon Valley-based American-Polish start-up joint venture. Findings: There are three mechanisms can facilitate collaboration in organizations that differ in generalized trust: frequent interaction that may form a basis for knowledge-based trust, professional cultures that provide common platform for communication, and the presence of intermediaries that possess understanding and ability to communicate of both cultures. Practical implications: The findings can be applied in the context of offshoring projects in knowledge intensive industries. Originality/value: Research presented in this paper investigates collaboration of parties from low-trust and high-trust cultures within one business venture.
    Keywords: United States,social capital,cross-cultural management,trust,Interorganizational collaboration,software development,Poland
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Grosch, Kerstin; Rau, Holger A.
    Abstract: This paper experimentally analyzes the determinants of compliance in a cheating game. The results show that men are less compliant than women. We demonstrate that social value orientation predicts differences in cheating and explains the gender differences. Individualistic men cheat more than all social types of both gender.
    Keywords: Experiment, Gender Di erences, Honesty, Social Value Orientation, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Labor and Human Capital, C91, H26, J16,
    Date: 2016–09
  7. By: Maiia Lavrinovich (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper examines social differences within the concept of ‘friendship’ in late 18th – early 19th century Russia in order to ‘reassemble’ friendship as a social phenomenon in this period. Ubiquitously, the voluminous correspondence of the Russian aristocracy is interpreted as “friendly” disregarding any social dimension and ignoring the social station of the correspondents. The 18th century was a critical period in Russia being an age of radical modernization. New social and cultural models were appropriated and, as a result of westernization, the Latin tradition was assimilated too. In early modern Europe, the concept of ‘friendship’ was applied to allegedly equal relationships, as the words cliens, patronus, clientela were not in use any more, but clients were described as amici, or friends by their patrons. The paper analyzes the correspondence of several Russian aristocrats with their clients – social inferiors. The grandees refer to these relations as ‘friendly’ and call them friendship or amitie (bien sincere or parfait) emphasizing their value for them. From the letters of their correspondents, it comes to light that the social inferiors tended to be wary and not to use these notions assessing their relationships, thus remaining in the conceptual framework of the patron-client relationships. Under the impact of the ‘emotional turn’ of early sentimentalism, the concept of friendship, like that of social cohesion, was used by the grandees as a means to reinterpret the relationships of dominance in the patron-client relations as voluntary and predicated on selfless devotion whereas their clients preferred to avoid sensitivity still resorting to more traditional and apprehensible flattery and obsequiousness
    Keywords: Russia, 18th century, friendship, correspondence, Alexander Vorontsov, Nikolai Sheremetev, Alexei Malinovskii, social hierarchy, emotional community
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Dennis Zhang; Gad Allon; Jan Van Mieghem
    Abstract: This paper studies how service providers can design social interaction among participants and quantify the causal impact of that interaction on service quality. We focus on education and analyze whether encouraging social interaction among students improves learning outcomes in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are a new service delivery channel with universal access at reduced, if not zero, cost. We analyze three randomized experiments in a MOOC with more than 30; 317 students from 183 countries. Two experiments study large-group interaction by encouraging a random subset of students to visit the course discussion board. The majority of students treated in these experiments had higher social engagement, higher quiz completion rates, and higher course grades. Using these treatments as instrumental variables, we estimate that one additional board visit causally increases the probability that a student finishes the quiz in the subsequent week by up to 4:3%. The third experiment studies small-group interaction by encouraging a random subset of students to conduct one-on-one synchronous discussions. Students who followed through and actually conducted pairwise discussions increased their quiz completion rates and quiz scores by 10% in the subsequent week. Combining results from these three experiments, we provide recommendations for designing social interaction mechanisms to improve service quality.
    Date: 2016

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.
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