nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒03‒12
eighteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Demand and Supply of Populism By Luigi Guiso; Helios Herrera; Massimo Morelli; Tommaso Sonno
  2. Historical Roots of Political Extremism: The Effects of Nazi Occupation of Italy By Fontana, Nicola; Nannicini, Tommaso; Tabellini, Guido
  3. Gender and Peer Effects in Social Networks By Beugnot, Julie; Fortin, Bernard; Lacroix, Guy; Villeval, Marie Claire
  4. Social Networks and Peer Effects at Works By Julie Beugnot; Bernard Fortin; Guy Lacroix; Marie Claire Villeval
  5. Community through digital connectivity? Communication infrastructure in multicultural London: final report By Myria Georgiou; Wallis Motta; Sonia Livingstone
  6. Media Capture through Favor Exchange By Szeidl, Adam; Szucs, Ferenc
  7. Does the reliability of institutions affect public good contributions? Evidence from a laboratory experiment By Jahnke, Björn; Fochmann, Martin; Wagener, Andreas
  8. Let's stay in touch - Evidence on the role of social learning in local tax interactions By Blesse, Sebastian; Martin, Thorsten
  9. The chips are down: The influence of family on children's trust formation By Giulietti, Corrado; Rettore, Enrico; Tonini, Sara
  10. Doing it once is good, doing it twice is even better. On the dynamics of altruistic behavior By Timme, Florian; Sass, Markus
  11. Girls Helping Girls: The Impact of Female Peers on Grades and Educational Choices By Schone, Pal; von Simson, Kristine; Strom, Marte
  12. Gender Differences in the Link between Income and Trust Levels: Evidence from Longitudinal Data By Bilson, Jessica R.; Jetter, Michael; Kristoffersen, Ingebjørg
  13. The Effect of Unemployment on Social Participation of Spouses: Evidence from Plant Closures in Germany By Lars Kunze; Nicolai Suppa
  14. Religious Pluralism and the Transmission of Religious Values through Education By Cohen-Zada, Danny; Elder, Todd E.
  15. Discrimination as favoritism: The private benefits and social costs of in-group favoritism in an experimental labor market. By David L. Dickinson; David Masclet; Emmanuel Peterle
  16. Migration, communities-on-the-move and international innovation networks: An empirical analysis of Spanish regions By D'Ambrosio, Anna; Montresor, Sandro; Parrilli, Mario Davide; Quatraro, Francesco
  17. Risk and Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from Stochastic Public Good Games By Vesely, Stepan; Wengström, Erik
  18. Peer Effects and Risk-Taking Among Entrepreneurs: Lab-in-the-Field Evidence By Steeve Marchand; Maria Adelaida Lopera

  1. By: Luigi Guiso (EIEF and CEPR); Helios Herrera (Warwick University); Massimo Morelli (Bocconi University and CEPR); Tommaso Sonno (Université Catholique de Louvain)
    Abstract: We define as populist a party that champions short-term protection policies without regard for their long-term costs. First, we study the demand for populism: we analyze the drivers of the populist vote using individual level data from multiple waves of surveys in Europe. Individual voting preferences are infl uenced directly by different measures of economic insecurity and by the decline in trust in traditional parties. However, economic shocks that undermine voters' security and trust in parties also discourage voter turnout, thus mitigating the estimated demand of populism when ignoring this turnout selection. Economic insecurity affects intentions to vote for populist parties and turnout incentives also indirectly because it causes trust in parties to fall. Second, we study the supply side: we find that populist parties are more likely to appear when the drivers of demand for populism accumulate, and more so in countries with weak checks and balances and with higher political fragmentation. The non-populist parties' policy response is to reduce the distance of their platform from that of new populist entrants, thereby magnifying the aggregate supply of populist policies.
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Fontana, Nicola (London School of Economics); Nannicini, Tommaso (Bocconi University); Tabellini, Guido (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: The Italian civil war and the Nazi occupation of Italy occurred at a critical juncture, just before the birth of a new democracy and when, for the first time in a generation, Italians were choosing political affiliations and forming political identities. In this paper we study how these traumatic events shaped the new political system. We exploit geographic heterogeneity in the intensity and duration of the civil war, and the persistence of the battlefront along the "Gothic line" cutting through Northern-Central Italy. We find that the Communist Party gained votes in the post-war elections where the Nazi occupation and the civil war lasted longer, mainly at the expense of the centrist and catholic parties. This effect persists until the early 1990s. Evidence also suggests that this is due to an effect on political attitudes. Thus, the foreign occupation and the civil war left a lasting legacy of political extremism and polarization on the newborn Italian democracy.
    Keywords: political extremism, path dependence, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: D72 C21
    Date: 2017–02
  3. By: Beugnot, Julie (Université de Franche Comté); Fortin, Bernard (Université Laval); Lacroix, Guy (Université Laval); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: We investigate whether peer effects at work differ by gender and whether the gender difference in peer effects – if any – depends on work organization, precisely the structure of social networks. We develop a social network model with gender heterogeneity that we test by means of a real-effort laboratory experiment. We compare sequential networks in which information on peers flows exclusively downward (from peers to the worker) and simultaneous networks where it disseminates bi-directionally along an undirected line (from peers to the worker and from the worker to peers). We identify strong gender differences in peer effects, as males' effort increases with peers' performance in both types of network, whereas females behave conditionally. While they are influenced by peers in sequential networks, females disregard their peers' performance when information flows in both directions. We reject that the difference between networks is driven by having one's performance observed by others or by the presence of peers in the same session in simultaneous networks. We interpret the gender difference in terms of perception of a higher competitiveness of the environment in simultaneous than in sequential networks because of the bi-directional flow of information.
    Keywords: gender, peer effects, social networks, work effort, experiment
    JEL: C91 J16 J24 J31 M52
    Date: 2017–02
  4. By: Julie Beugnot (CRESE EA3190, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, F-25000 Besançon, France); Bernard Fortin (Department of economics, Université Laval, CRREP and CIRANO, Canada); Guy Lacroix (Department of economics, Université Laval, CRREP, IZA and CIRANO, Canada); Marie Claire Villeval (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France; IZA, Bonn, Germany)
    Abstract: This paper extends the standard work effort model by allowing workers to interact through networks. We investigate experimentally whether peer performances and peer contextual effects influence individual performances. Two types of network are considered. Participants in Recursive networks are paired with participants who played previously in isolation. In Simultaneous networks, participants interact in real-time along an undirected line. Mean peer effects are identified in both cases. Individual performances increase with peer performances in the recursive network. In the simultaneous network, endogenous peer effects vary according to gender : they are large for men but not statistically different from zero for women.
    Keywords: Peer effects, social networks, work effort, piece rate, experiment
    JEL: C91 J16 J24 J31 M52
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Myria Georgiou; Wallis Motta; Sonia Livingstone
    Abstract: This project, supported by an LSE Seed grant, examines the role that communication plays in promoting and hindering community among London’s diverse populations. While symbolic and structural resources such as education, local institutions and property have been systematically studied as community-building resources, communication infrastructures are little studied and their potential as a community asset largely unrecognised. Yet with over half of the world population now inhabiting cities (UN 2010), how people communicate across or withdraw from difference in urban societies matters greatly. For London, the most culturally diverse city in the world and one of the most connected (Massey 2005), these questions are pressing. How does London’s rich communication infrastructure enable Londoners to communicate with each other? Does this in turn contribute to social capital and building community? Or does it segregate people across cultural and generational lines? By focusing on a highly culturally diverse part of London – Harringay, North London – this study examines the role of communication infrastructure in bridging, bonding and separating the different groups occupying the same locale. It focuses on communication assets – the resources that enhance urban dwellers’ social capital, sense of belonging and mutual understanding. Its main research question is: In what ways does communication infrastructure mobilise Haringey’s diverse population in building social capital and community? Conceptually, we juxtapose the original theory of communication infrastructure developed by Ball-Rokeach and her research team under the Metamorphosis project with Bourdieu’s social capital. The communication infrastructure theory takes an ecological approach to understanding the role of communication of all kinds in promoting or undermining belonging, civic engagement and collective efficacy (Ball-Rokeach, Kim and Matei, 2001; Kim and Ball-Rokeach, 2006). We explore this theory alongside and vis-à-vis Bourdieu’s (1985, 1992) conception of social capital as the sum of resources that accrue to the possession of durable networks of sustained (institutionalised) relations and recognition. These approaches provide interesting parallels in how practices of communication and sociability support groups’ efforts to gain access to resources that will advance their symbolic and material power. Our particular focus is on how different local groups mobilise knowledge and information resources for work, education, health and leisure. The project adopts a multi-method approach, which includes creative and participatory tools for data collection, locale mapping and community sharing alongside established methods in social sciences.
    JEL: L91 L96
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Szeidl, Adam; Szucs, Ferenc
    Abstract: We uncover the full circle of favors leading to media capture in Hungary. We first document favors from politicians to the media. Exploiting changes in government and media ownership, we show that under right-wing---but not left-wing---governments, state-owned firms heavily tilted advertising to connected newspapers and billboards, relative to the advertising composition of private firms or circulation shares. We then document two forms of media bias as return favors. We show that the connected newspaper had lower corruption coverage than the opposition newspaper before, but not after, a public breakdown in its relationship to the politician which also lead to the termination of advertising favors. And we show that billboard companies, after they became right-connected, selectively hosted the political campaigns of the right-wing party. Using a structural model we infer the welfare cost of advertising misallocation to be a third of the advertising budget, and estimate that each dollar spent on media capture cost 1.9 dollars to taxpayers. Our results suggest that the mechanism underlying media capture was a misallocation-inducing relational contract.
    Keywords: advertising; favor exchange; media bias; media capture; Misallocation; relational contract
    JEL: D61 D72 D73 L82 P16
    Date: 2017–02
  7. By: Jahnke, Björn; Fochmann, Martin; Wagener, Andreas
    Abstract: Reliable institutions - i.e., institutions that live up to the norms that agents expect them to keep - foment cooperative behavior. We experimentally confirm this hypothesis in a public goods game with a salient norm that cooperation was socially demanded and corruption ought not to occur. When nevertheless corruption attempts came up, groups that were told that "the system" had fended off the attempts made considerably higher contributions to the public good than groups that only learned that the attempt did not aect their payoffs or that were not at all exposed to corruption.
    JEL: H41 A13 C91
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Blesse, Sebastian; Martin, Thorsten
    Abstract: This paper exploits detailed information on local political and socioeconomic networks and a reform of local fiscal equalization in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to identify the role of learning in local tax rate interactions. Using this policy change in spatial lag IV regressions, we find that institutions like counties and jointly used administrations yield significant positive tax interactions whereas geographical neighbors do not react to each other. Common local media trigger tax policy interactions as well. Short-lived reform effects support our findings that social learning within certain networks intensifies tax rate interactions via coordination of local decision makers.
    JEL: H20 H71 H77
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Giulietti, Corrado; Rettore, Enrico; Tonini, Sara
    Abstract: Understanding the formation of trust at the individual level is a key issue given the impact that it has been recognized to have on economic development. Theoretical work highlights the role of the transmission of values such as trust from parents to their children. Attempts to empirically measure the strength of this transmission relied so far on the cross-sectional regression of the trust of children on the contemporaneous trust of their parents. We introduce a new identification strategy which hinges on a panel of parents and their children drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Our results show that: 1) a half to two thirds of the observed variability of trust is pure noise irrelevant to the transmission process; 2) this noise strongly biases the parameter estimates of the OLS regression of children's trust on parents' trust; however an instrumental variable procedure straightforwardly emerges from the analysis; 3) the dynamics of the component of trust relevant to the transmission process shed light on the structural interpretation of the parameters of this regression; 4) the strength of the flow of trust that parents pass to their children as well as of the sibling correlations due to other factors are easily summarized by the conventional R2 of a latent equation. In our sample, approximately one fourth of the variability of children's trust is inherited from their parents while two thirds are attributable to the residual sibling correlation.
    Keywords: Trust,Intergenerational transmission,Siblings correlations,Cultural transmission
    JEL: J62 P16 Z1
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Timme, Florian; Sass, Markus
    Abstract: We study a series of dictator games repeated a number of times at considerably large time intervals. The experimental design is such that reputation and learning effects can be ruled out. Treatments differ with respect to the number of repetitions, the time span between repetitions and observability of behavior. We observe in all treatments a strong tendency towards more selfish behavior over the course of the repeated experiment. We argue that this behavior can be rationalized if giving in dictator games is driven by a social norm that approves repeated gifts more than a single altruistic act. We report experimental evidence for the existence of such a norm using the norm elicitation method introduced by Krupka and Weber (2013).
    JEL: C91 C73 B41
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Schone, Pal (Institute for Social Research, Oslo); von Simson, Kristine (Institute for Social Research, Oslo); Strom, Marte (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)
    Abstract: We use idiosyncratic variation in gender composition across cohorts within Norwegian lower-secondary schools to analyze the impact of female peers on students' grades and choices of STEM subjects. We find that more female peers in lower secondary increases girls' probability of choosing STEM-courses in upper secondary, and the effect on choices is larger than the effect on grades. Survey evidence suggests that a potential mechanism is an improved classroom environment. Boys' performance is negatively affected by more female peers. They also start upper secondary later and more often choose vocational studies.
    Keywords: gender, education, peer effects
    JEL: I21 J16
    Date: 2017–02
  12. By: Bilson, Jessica R. (University of Western Australia); Jetter, Michael (University of Western Australia); Kristoffersen, Ingebjørg (University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of individual income on interpersonal trust levels, using longitudinal survey data for 22,219 Australians over the 2005-2014 period. Our results produce two key insights. First, we demonstrate the importance of accounting for individual-level fixed effects, as the income coefficient goes from positive and statistically significant in a pooled regression to negative and statistically significant in a fixed effects panel model. Second, this negative effect of income on trust holds only for men, and not for women. This result appears to be concentrated among males who are young and moving from no income to positive income, but employment status is not the driving factor. Further, we explore a potential channel via psychological characteristics and find evidence of men reporting greater levels of neuroticism and fretfulness following an increase in income but, again, women do not. In turn, neuroticism and fretfulness are robust predictors of decreased trust levels; these additional findings are based on cross-sectional variation only, since both these variables are available in only one of the survey waves to date.
    Keywords: gender differences, income levels and trust, interpersonal trust, neuroticism
    JEL: D01 D31 J16 Z10
    Date: 2017–02
  13. By: Lars Kunze; Nicolai Suppa
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of an individual’s unemployment on the level of social participation of their spouse. Using German panel data, it is shown that unemployment has a strong negative effect on public social activities of both directly and indirectly affected spouses. Private social activities of either spouse, however, are only found to increase, if the indirectly affected spouse is not working. Conflict prevention strategies or habituation may help to rationalise this finding. Our results imply that active labour market policies should account for spillovers effects within couples and adopt a family perspective.
    Keywords: Unemployment, social participation, plant closure, entropy balancing, SOEP
    JEL: J64 I31
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Cohen-Zada, Danny (Ben Gurion University); Elder, Todd E. (Michigan State University)
    Abstract: We analyze the role of formal religious education in the intergenerational transmission of religious values. We first develop a model of school choice in which the demand for religious schooling is driven partly by the desire of parents to limit their children's exposure to the influences of competing religions. The model predicts that when a religious group's share of the local population grows, the fraction of that group's members whose children attend religious schools declines. In addition, it shows that if the motivation to preserve religious identity is sufficiently strong, the fraction of all children that attend a given denomination's school is an inverse u-shaped function of the denomination's market share. Finally, the model implies that the overall demand for religious schooling is an increasing function of both the local religiosity rate and the level of religious pluralism, as measured by a Herfindahl Index. Using both U.S. county-level data and individual data from ECLS-K and NELS:88, we find evidence strongly consistent with all of the model's predictions. Our findings also illustrate that failing to control for the local religiosity rate, as is common in previous studies, may lead a researcher to erroneously conclude that religious pluralism has a negative effect on participation.
    Keywords: cultural transmission, school choice, religious pluralism, religious identity
    JEL: I21 Z12
    Date: 2017–02
  15. By: David L. Dickinson; David Masclet; Emmanuel Peterle
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine labor market favoritism in a unique laboratory experiment design that can shed light on both the private benefits and spillover costs of employer favoritism (or discrimination). Group identity is induced on subjects such that each laboratory « society » consists of eight individuals each belonging to one of two different identity groups. In some treatments randomly assigned employer-subjects give preference rankings of potential worker-subjects who would make effort choices that impact employer payoffs. Though it is common knowledge that group identity in this environment provides no special productivity information and cannot facilitate communication or otherwise lower costs for the employer, employers preferentially rank in-group members. In such instances, the unemployed workers are aware that an intentional preference ranking resulted in their unemployment. Unemployed workers are allowed to destroy resources in a final stage of the game, which is a simple measure of the spillover effects of favoritism in our design. Though we find evidence that favoritism may privately benefit a firm in terms of higher worker effort, the spillover costs that result highlight a reason to combat favoritism/discrimination. This result also identifies one potential micro-foundation of societal unrest that may link back to labor market opportunity. Key Words: Discrimination, Experimental Economics, Social identity, Conflicts
    JEL: C90 C92 J15 J16
    Date: 2017
  16. By: D'Ambrosio, Anna; Montresor, Sandro; Parrilli, Mario Davide; Quatraro, Francesco (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of migration on innovation networks between regions and foreign countries. We posit that immigrants (emigrants) act as a transnational knowledge bridge between the host (home) regions and their origin (destination) countries, reinforcing their networking in innovation and facilitating their co-inventorship. We argue that the social capital of both the hosting and the moving communities reinforces such a bridging role, along with the already recognised effect of language commonality and migrants’ human capital. By combining patent data with national data on residents and electors abroad, we apply a gravity model to the co-inventorship between Spanish provinces (NUTS3 regions) and a number of foreign countries, in different periods of the last decade. Both immigrants and emigrants are found to affect this kind of innovation networking. The social capital of both the moving and the hosting communities actually moderate this impact in a positive way. The effect of migration is stronger for more skilled migrants and with respect to non-Spanish speaking countries, pointing to a language-bridging role of migrants. Overall, individual and community aspects combine in accounting for the impact of migration on international innovation networks.
    Date: 2017–01
  17. By: Vesely, Stepan (Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Wengström, Erik (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: Outcomes in social dilemmas often have a stochastic component. We report experimental findings from public good games with both correlated and independent risk across players. We find that the presence of both types of risk prevents the decay of cooperation typically observed in the standard deterministic public good game. The results further suggest that it is greater relative importance of social norms or warm glow giving, rather than risk sharing opportunities that foster cooperation in our stochastic public good game.
    Keywords: risk pooling; risk sharing; social norms; linear public goods game; cooperation decay; stable cooperation
    JEL: D03 D80 H41
    Date: 2017–03–02
  18. By: Steeve Marchand; Maria Adelaida Lopera
    Abstract: We study how social interactions influence entrepreneurs' attitudes toward risk. We conduct two risk-taking experiments within workshops organized for young Ugandan entrepreneurs. Between the two experiments, the entrepreneurs participate in a networking activity where they build relationships and discuss with each other. We collect detailed data on peer network formation and on participants' choices before and after the networking activity. Our design implicitly controls for homophily effects (i.e. the tendency of individuals to develop relationships with people who have similar characteristics). We find that risk aversion is affected by social conformity. Participants tend to become more (less) risk averse in the second experiment if the peers they discuss with are on average more (less) risk averse in the first experiment. This suggests that social interactions play a role in shaping risk preferences.
    Keywords: preference, risk aversion, entrepreneur, social norms
    JEL: D03 D81 M13 Z13
    Date: 2017

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