nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒04‒09
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Women form social networks more selectively and less opportunistically than men By Friebel, Guido; Lalanne, Marie; Richter, Bernard; Schwardmann, Peter; Seabright, Paul
  2. Gender differences in honesty: The role of social value orientation By Grosch, Kerstin; Rau, Holger
  3. Gender and Peer Effects in Social Networks By Julie Beugnot; Bernard Fortin; Guy Lacroix; Marie-Claire Villeval
  4. Friends or Strangers? Strategic Uncertainty and Cooperation across Experimental Games of Strategic Complements and Substitutes By Gabriele Chierchia; Fabio Tufano; Giorgio Coricelli
  5. Do I care if you are paid? A field experiment on charitable donations By Gneezy, Uri; Rau, Holger; Samek, Anya; Zhurakhovska, Lilia
  6. Are the Rich More Selfish than the Poor, or Do They Just Have More Money? A Natural Field Experiment By James Andreoni; Nikos Nikiforakis; Jan Stoop
  7. Building trust by qualification in a market for expert services By Schneider, Tim; Bizer, Kilian
  8. Enforce Tax Compliance, but Cautiously: The Role of Trust in Authorities and Power of Authorities By Tsikas, Stefanos A.
  9. Choice of the Group Increases Intra-Cooperation By Babkina, Tatiana; Myagkov, Mikhail; Lukinova, Evgeniya; Peshkovskaya, Anastasiya; Menshikova, Olga; Berkman, Elliot T.
  10. Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany By Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
  11. 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 Perterle

  1. By: Friebel, Guido; Lalanne, Marie; Richter, Bernard; Schwardmann, Peter; Seabright, Paul
    Abstract: We test two hypotheses, based on sexual selection theory, about gender differences in costly social interactions. Differential selectivity states that women invest less than men in interactions with new individuals. Differential opportunism states that women's investment in social interactions is less responsive to information about the interaction's payoffs. The hypotheses imply that women's social networks are more stable and path dependent and composed of a greater proportion of strong relative to weak links. During their introductory week, we let new university students play an experimental trust game, first with one anonymous partner, then with the same and a new partner. Consistent with our hypotheses, we find that women invest less than men in new partners and that their investments are only half as responsive to information about the likely returns to the investment. Moreover, subsequent formation of students' real social networks is consistent with the experimental results: being randomly assigned to the same introductory group has a much larger positive effect on women's likelihood of reporting a subsequent friendship.
    Keywords: social networks,gender differences,trust game
    JEL: C91 D81 J16
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Grosch, Kerstin; Rau, Holger
    Abstract: This paper experimentally analyzes the determinants of the honesty norm in a lying game. The findings confirm common gender differences, i.e., men cheat significantly more than women. We detect a novel correlation between subjects' magnitude of concern they have for others (social value orientation) and their moral valuation of the norm honesty. The data suggest that individualistic subjects are less honest than prosocial ones. Interestingly, this difference can explain the gender differences we observe. First, we find that the distribution of social value orientation differs between gender, i.e., significantly more male subjects are characterized as individualistic subjects. Second, once we control for social value orientation the gender differential disappears.
    Keywords: experiment,gender differences,honesty,social value orientation
    JEL: C91 H26 J16
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Julie Beugnot (UBFC - Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, CRESE - Centre de REcherches sur les Stratégies Economiques - UFC - UFC - Université de Franche-Comté); Bernard Fortin (CIRANO - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations - UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal); Guy Lacroix (CIRANO - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations - UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal); Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Etienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    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 realeffort 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
    Date: 2017–03–01
  4. By: Gabriele Chierchia (Center for Mind/Brain Science, University of Trento; and Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Berlin); Fabio Tufano (School of Economics, University of Nottingham); Giorgio Coricelli (Center for Mind/Brain Science, University of Trento; and Department of Economics, University of Southern California)
    Abstract: It is commonly assumed that friendship should decrease strategic uncertainty in games involving tacit coordination. However, this has never been tested on two “opposite poles†of coordination, namely, games of strategic complements and substitutes. We present an experimental study having participants interacting with either a friend or a stranger in two classic games: (i.) the stag hunt game, which exhibits strategic complementarity; (ii.) the entry game, which exhibits strategic substitutability. Both games capture a frequent trade-off between a potentially high paying but uncertain action and a lower paying but safe alternative. We find that, relative to strangers, friends exhibit a propensity towards uncertainty in the stag hunt game, but an aversion to uncertainty in the entry game. Friends also “trembled†less than strangers in the stag hunt game but this advantage was lost in the entry game. We further investigate the role of interpersonal similarities and friendship qualities on friendship’s differential impact on uncertainty across games of strategic complements and substitutes.
    Keywords: coordination; entry game; friendship; strategic complementarity; strategic substitutability; stag hunt game; strategic uncertainty
    Date: 2017–03
  5. By: Gneezy, Uri; Rau, Holger; Samek, Anya; Zhurakhovska, Lilia
    Abstract: This study investigates how information on solicitors' compensation affects charitable giving in a door-to-door field experiment with more than 2,800 households. We vary whether solicitors are paid or not and the information about this compensation that potential donors receive. Relative to the treatment in which potential donors are not informed about the solicitor's compensation, donations increase by 16% when potential donors are informed that solicitors are paid, but are not effected when donors are informed that solicitors are unpaid. The effect is driven by female donors, who increase their donations by 88%. Our findings suggest that if charities pay their solicitors, it could be beneficial to communicate this information to donors.
    Keywords: charitable giving,field experiment,information
    Date: 2017
  6. By: James Andreoni; Nikos Nikiforakis; Jan Stoop
    Abstract: The growing concentration of resources among the rich has re-ignited a discussion about whether the rich are more selfish than others. While many recent studies show the rich behaving less pro-socially, endogeneity and selection problems prevent safe inferences about differences in social preferences. We present new evidence from a natural field experiment in which we “misdeliver” envelopes to rich and poor households in a Dutch city, varying their contents to identify motives for returning them. Our raw data indicate the rich behave more pro-socially. Controlling for pressures associated with poverty and the marginal utility of money, however, we find no difference in social preferences. The primary distinction between rich and poor is simply that the rich have more money.
    JEL: C93 D63 D64
    Date: 2017–03
  7. By: Schneider, Tim; Bizer, Kilian
    Abstract: Markets for credence goods are classified by experts alone being able to identify consumers' problems and determine appropriate services for solution. Examining a market where experts have to invest in costly diagnosis to correctly identify problems and consumers being able to visit multiple experts for diagnosis, we introduce heterogeneously qualified experts. We assume that high skilled experts can identify problems with some probability even with low effort, e.g. due to education or experience. In a laboratory experiment we show that, against our theoretical predictions, this does not lead to a drop in experts' willingness for high diagnostic effort. However, consumers generally distrust experts' diagnosis effort as they buy less often after their first recommendation than it would be optimal and show frequently other non-optimal behavior patterns, e.g. receiving recommendations but do not buy service. Our results indicate that, at some level, introducing higher qualified experts increases the quality of diagnosis, as well as consumers' trust resulting in more and quicker service purchases.
    Keywords: credence goods,expert market,second opinions,diagnostic effort,qualification,laboratory experiment
    JEL: C70 C91 D40
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Tsikas, Stefanos A.
    Abstract: The "Slippery Slope Framework" hypothesizes that (an individual's) tax compliance is determined by both the tax authority's powerfulness and its trustworthiness, and that the two dimensions moderate each other. By employing a within-country fixed effects analysis for 25 European countries, this paper tests the conjecture that a slippery slope exists also on the aggregate level. Results show that both trust and power are positively correlated with higher tax compliance. Trust and power also moderate each other: the lower trust, the greater the compliance-increasing impact of power. However, the positive effect decreases with increasing coercion. Strong deterrence policies may eventually damage tax compliance.
    Keywords: Tax compliance; Slippery Slope Framework; trust; power; institutions
    JEL: E62 H26 H30
    Date: 2017–03
  9. By: Babkina, Tatiana; Myagkov, Mikhail; Lukinova, Evgeniya; Peshkovskaya, Anastasiya; Menshikova, Olga; Berkman, Elliot T.
    Abstract: This research investigates how variation in sociality, or the degree to which one feels belonging to a group, affects the propensity for participation in collective action. By bringing together rich models of social behavior from social psychology with decision modeling techniques from economics, these mechanisms can ultimately foster cooperation in human societies. While variation in the level of sociality surely exists across groups, little is known about whether and how it changes behavior in the context of various economic games. Specifically, we found some socialization task makes minimal group members behavior resemble that of an established group. Consistent with social identity theory, we discovered that inducing this type of minimal sociality among participants who were previously unfamiliar with each other increased social identity, and sustained cooperation rates in the newly formed groups to the point that they were comparable to those in the already established groups. Our results demonstrate that there are relatively simple ways for individuals in a group to agree about appropriate social behavior, delineate new shared norms and identities.
    Keywords: collective action, group formation, cooperation
    JEL: C01 D0 D23 D50
    Date: 2016–07–18
  10. By: Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
    Abstract: Can television have a mitigating effect on xenophobia? To examine this question, we exploit the fact that individuals in some areas of East Germany – due to their geographic location – could not receive West German television until 1989. We conjecture that individuals who received West German television were exposed more frequently to foreigners and thus have developed less xenophobia than people who were not exposed to those programs. Our results show that regions that could receive West German television were less likely to vote for right-wing parties during the national elections from 1998 to 2013. Only recently, the same regions were also more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Moreover, while counties that hosted more foreigners in 1989 were also more likely to vote for right-wing parties in most elections, we find counties that recently hosted more foreign visitors showed less xenophobia, which is in line with intergroup contact theory.
    Keywords: Mass media, Television, Xenophobia, Attitudes towards foreigners, East Germany, Natural experiment
    JEL: D72 L82 P30
    Date: 2017
  11. By: David L. Dickinson (Appalachian State University, IZA, ESI); David Masclet (Université de Rennes 1, CREM, CNRS); Emmanuel Perterle (Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, CRESE)
    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.
    Keywords: Discrimination, Experimental Economics, Social identity, Conflicts.
    JEL: C9 J24 J70
    Date: 2017–03

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