nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒04‒16
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Humans' (incorrect) distrust of reflective decisions By Cabrales, Antonio; Espin, Antonio; Kujal, Praveen; Rassenti, Stephen
  2. Social Network Structure and The Trade-Off Between Social Utility and Economic Performance By Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
  3. Mapping the Dimensions of Social Capital By Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
  4. Long Term Effects of Buddhist Temples, Jizo Bodhisattvas and Shrines on a School Rute: The Effects on Income, Happiness and Health Thorough Social Capital By Takahiro Ito; Kohei Kubota; Fumio Ohtake
  5. Why Does Social Capital Increase Government Performance? The Role of Local Elections across Italian Municipalities By Alberto Batinti; Andrea Filippetti; Luca Andriani
  6. Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis By Becker, Sascha O.; Fetzer, Thiemo; Novy, Dennis
  7. Inherited Institutions: Cooperation in the Light of Democratic Legitimacy By Pascal Langenbach; Franziska Tausch
  8. Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia By Giampaolo Lecce; Laura Ogliari
  9. An Economic Approach to Alleviate the Crisis of Confidence in Science: With an Application to the Public Goods Game By Luigi Butera; John List
  10. Let the Girls Learn! It is not Only about Math… It's about Gender Social Norms By Nollenberger, Natalia; Rodríguez-Planas, Núria
  11. Public Goods and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from Deforestation in Indonesia By Alberto Alesina; Caterina Gennaioli; Stefania Lovo
  12. The Effect of Far Right Parties on the Location Choice of Immigrants: Evidence from Lega Nord Mayors By Bracco, Emanuele; De Paola, Maria; Green, Colin P.; Scoppa, Vincenzo
  13. Network Formation and Disruption - An Experiment. Are efficient networks too complex? By Sonja Brangewitz; Behnud Mir Djawadi; Angelika Endres; Britta Hoyer
  14. Forced gifts: The burden of being a friend: By Bulte, Erwin; Wang, Ruixin; Zhang, Xiaobo
  15. Making Friends in Violent Neighborhoods: Strategies among Elementary School Children By Anjanette M. Chan Tack; Mario Small

  1. By: Cabrales, Antonio; Espin, Antonio; Kujal, Praveen; Rassenti, Stephen
    Abstract: Recent experiments suggest that social behavior may be shaped by the time available for decision making. It is known that fast decision making relies more on intuition whereas slow decision making is affected by reflective processes. Little is known, however, about whether people correctly anticipate the effect of intuition vs. reflection on others' decision making. This is important in everyday situations where anticipating others' behavior is often essential. A good example of this is the extensively studied Trust Game where the trustor, by sending an amount of money to the trustee, runs the risk of being exploited by the trusteee's subsequent action. We use this game to study how trustors' choices are affected by whether trustees are externally forced to respond quickly or slowly. We also examine whether trustors' own tendency to stop and reflect on their intuitions (as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test) moderates how they anticipate the effect of reflection on the behavior of trustees. We find that the least reflective trustors send less money when trustees are forced to respond "reflectively" rather than "intuitively" , but we also argue that this is a wrong choice. In general, no group, including the ones with the largest number of reflective individuals, is good at anticipating the (positive) effect of forced delay on others' trustworthiness.
    Keywords: beliefs; dual-process; intuition; reflection; Trust; trustworthiness
    Date: 2017–04
  2. By: Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
    Abstract: Based on a novel computational multi-agent model, we identify the keymechanisms allowing the social network structure, summarized by four key socialcapital dimensions (network degree, centrality, bridging and bonding social capital), to affect individuals' social trust, willingness to cooperate, social utility and economicperformance. We then trace how the individual-level outcomes aggregate up to thesociety level. Model setup draws from socio-economic theory and empirical findings based on our novel survey dataset. Results include aggregate-level comparative staticsand individual-level correlations. We find, inter alia, that societies that either arebetter connected, exhibit a lower frequency of local cliques, or have a smaller share offamily-based cliques, record relatively better economic performance. As long as familyties are sufficiently valuable, there is a trade-off between aggregate social utility andeconomic performance, and small world networks are then socially optimal.
    Keywords: social network structure, social trust, willingness to cooperate, economicperformance, computational multi-agent model
    JEL: C63 D85 J31 L14 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  3. By: Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
    Abstract: We provide a novel survey dataset of a representative sample of the Polish population (n = 1000), allowing for a detailed quantification of Bourdieu's (1986) definition of social capital as the aggregate of resources accessible to individuals through their social networks. Based on this data, we create an empirical 'map' of four distinct dimensions of social capital: network degree (number of social ties), network centrality, bridging social capital (ties with dissimilar others), and bonding social capital (ties with similar others, primarily with kin). Construction of the 'map' is based on mutual correlations among the four social capital dimensions as well as their diverse links with immediate outcomes – individuals' social trust and willingness to cooperate - and ultimate outcomes: individual incomes, life satisfaction and happiness.
    Keywords: social capital, social network structure, social trust, willingness to cooperate, new survey dataset
    JEL: D85 J31 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Takahiro Ito; Kohei Kubota; Fumio Ohtake
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of social capital, such as general trust, reciprocity, and altruism, on labor market outcomes, such as income, occupational status, and promotion, and health and happiness by conducting a survey among individuals. To cope with the endogeneity of social capital, we used indicator variables to map temples, Jizo bodhisattvas, and shrines on the individuals’ school route or near their home during elementary school days. The results show that instrumental variables work well and that social capital does not affect labor market outcomes but increases happiness and health levels.
    Date: 2017–03
  5. By: Alberto Batinti (School of Public Economics and Administration, Shanghai University of Finance); Andrea Filippetti (National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy); Luca Andriani (Department of Management, Birkbeck, University of London)
    Abstract: There is wide consensus that social capital increases government performance. However, the very mechanism underlying the relationship between social capital and well-performing governments remains unclear. In this paper we focus on the budgetary composition of local governments and find that the joint effect of larger social capital and higher quality in government’s spending improves the re-election chances of incumbent policy makers. By looking at 8,000 Italian municipalities over the period 2003-2012, we show that incumbent mayors who carry out a forward-looking and transparent fiscal agenda are more likely to be reelected where the level of local social capital is larger. In contextswith larger social capital, we obtain a non-trivial average effect of a 54% larger probability to be reelected when a more forward-looking agenda is in place. Thus, the good conduct of incumbent mayors is rewarded, but only in contexts with more social capital. Twin estimates considering a more transparent fiscal agenda are not significantbut show the predicted sign and the comparable size of a 31% larger probability. Our evidence is robust when controlling for the political budget cycle, and provides ground for further exploration of the electoral mechanism as an important channel to explain the connection between social capital and good government performance.
    Date: 2017–04
  6. By: Becker, Sascha O.; Fetzer, Thiemo; Novy, Dennis
    Abstract: On 23 June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. We analyze vote and turnout shares across 380 local authority areas in the United Kingdom. We find that exposure to the EU in terms of immigration and trade provides relatively little explanatory power for the referendum vote. Instead, we find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their education profiles, their historical dependence on manufacturing employment as well as low income and high unemployment. At the much finer level of wards within cities, we find that areas with deprivation in terms of education, income and employment were more likely to vote Leave. Our results indicate that a higher turnout of younger voters, who were more likely to vote Remain, would not have overturned the referendum result.
    Keywords: austerity; EU; globalisation; migration; political economy; Referendum; Scotland; UK; voting
    JEL: D72 N44 R23 Z13
    Date: 2017–04
  7. By: Pascal Langenbach (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Franziska Tausch (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate whether the procedural history of a sanctioning institution affects cooperation in a social dilemma. Subjects inherit the institutional setting from a previous generation of subjects who either decided on the implementation of the institution democratically by majority vote or were exogenously assigned a setting. In order to isolate the impact of the voting procedure, no information about the cooperation history is provided. In line with existing empirical evidence, we observe that in the starting generation cooperation is higher (lower) with a democratically chosen (rejected) institution, as compared to the corresponding, randomly imposed setting. In the second generation, the procedural history only partly affects cooperation. While there is no positive democracy effect when the institution is implemented, the vote-based rejection of the institution negatively affects cooperation in the second generation. The effect size is similar to that in the first generation.
    Keywords: Endogeneity, Voting, Institutions, Social dilemma, Public good, Inherited rules
    JEL: C92 D02 D71 D72 H41
    Date: 2017–01
  8. By: Giampaolo Lecce; Laura Ogliari
    Abstract: The economic impact of exported institutions depends on the underlying cultural environment of the receiving country. We present evidence that cultural proximity between the exporting and the receiving country positively affects the adoption of new institutions and the resulting long-term economic outcomes. We obtain this result by combining new information on pre-Napoleonic kingdoms with county-level census data from nineteenthcentury Prussia. This environment allows us to exploit a quasi-natural experiment generated by radical Napoleonic institutional reforms and deeply rooted cultural heterogeneity across Prussian counties. We show that counties that are culturally more similar to France, in terms of either religious affiliation or historical exposure to French culture, display better long-term economic performance. We analyze a range of alternative explanations and suggest that our findings are most easily explained by cultural proximity facilitating the adoption of new institutions. Keywords: Institutions, Institutional Transplants, Culture, Economic Growth JEL classification: N13, N43, O47, Z10, Z12
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Luigi Butera; John List
    Abstract: Novel empirical insights by their very nature tend to be unanticipated, and in some cases at odds with the current state of knowledge on the topic. The mechanics of statistical inference suggest that such initial findings, even when robust and statistically significant within the study, should not appreciably move priors about the phenomenon under investigation. Yet, a few well-conceived independent replications dramatically improve the reliability of novel findings. Nevertheless, the incentives to replicate are seldom in place in the sciences, especially within the social sciences. We propose a simple incentive-compatible mechanism to promote replications, and use experimental economics to highlight our approach. We begin by reporting results from an experiment in which we investigate how cooperation in allocation games is affected by the presence of Knightian uncertainty (ambiguity), a pervasive and yet unexplored characteristic of most public goods. Unexpectedly, we find that adding uncertainty enhances cooperation. This surprising result serves as a test case for our mechanism: instead of sending this paper to a peer-reviewed journal, we make it available online as a working paper, but we commit never to submit it to a journal for publication. We instead offered co-authorship for a second, yet to be written, paper to other scholars willing to independently replicate our study. That second paper will reference this working paper, will include all replications, and will be submitted to a peer- reviewed journal for publication. Our mechanism allows mutually-beneficial gains from trade between the original investigators and other scholars, alleviates the publication bias problem that often surrounds novel experimental results, and accelerates the advancement of economic science by leveraging the mechanics of statistical inference.
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Nollenberger, Natalia (IE University); Rodríguez-Planas, Núria (Queens College, CUNY)
    Abstract: Using PISA test scores from 11,527 second-generation immigrants coming from 35 different countries of ancestry and living in 9 host countries, we find that the positive effects of country-of-ancestry gender social norms on girls' math test scores relative to those of boys: (1) expand to other subjects (namely reading and science); (2) are shaped by beliefs on women's political empowerment and economic opportunity; and (3) are driven by parents' influencing their children's (especially their girls') preferences. Our evidence further suggest that these findings are driven by cognitive skills, suggesting that social gender norms affect parent's expectations on girls' academic knowledge relative to that of boys, but not on other attributes for success--such as non-cognitive skills. Taken together, our results highlight the relevance of general (as opposed to math-specific) gender stereotypes on the math gender gap, and suggest that parents' gender social norms shape youth's test scores by transmitting preferences for cognitive skills.
    Keywords: gender gap in math, reading and science, immigrants, beliefs and preferences, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, culture and institutions
    JEL: I21 I24 J16 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  11. By: Alberto Alesina; Caterina Gennaioli; Stefania Lovo
    Abstract: This paper shows that the level of deforestation in Indonesia is positively related to the degree of ethnic fractionalization at the district level. To identify a casual relation we exploit the exogenous timing of variations in the level of ethnic heterogeneity due to the creation of new jurisdictions. We provide evidence consistent with a lower control of politicians, through electoral punishment, in more ethnically fragmented districts. Our results bring a new perspective on the political economy of deforestation. They are consistent with the literature on (under) provision of public goods and social capital in ethnically diverse societies and suggest that when the underlying communities are ethnically fractionalized decentralisation can reduce deforestation by delegating powers to more homogeneous communities.
    Keywords: Deforestation, Ethnic Diversity, Corruption, Indonesia.
    JEL: D73 H0 L73
    Date: 2016–12
  12. By: Bracco, Emanuele (Lancaster University); De Paola, Maria (University of Calabria); Green, Colin P. (Lancaster University); Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: Immigration has increasingly taken centre-stage in the political landscape. Part of this has been rise in far-right, anti-immigration parties in a range of countries. Existing evidence suggests that the presence of immigrants has a substantial effect on the political views of the electorate, generating an advantage to these parties with anti-immigration or nationalist platforms. This paper explores a closely related but overlooked issue: how immigrant behavior is influenced by these parties. We focus on immigrant location decisions in Northern Italy which has seen the rise of the anti-immigration party Lega Nord. We construct a dataset of mayoral elections in Italy for the years 2002-2014, and calculate the effect of electing a mayor belonging to, or supported by Lega Nord. To identify this relationship we focus on mayors who have been elected with narrow margins of victory in a Regression Discontinuity framework. The election of Lega Nord mayor discourages immigrants from moving into the municipality.
    Keywords: immigration, geographical mobility, voting behavior, political economy, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: J15 J61 D72
    Date: 2017–03
  13. By: Sonja Brangewitz (Paderborn University); Behnud Mir Djawadi (Paderborn University); Angelika Endres (Paderborn University); Britta Hoyer (Paderborn University)
    Abstract: We experimentally study the emergence of networks under a known external threat. To be more specific, we deal with the question if subjects in the role of a strategic Designer are able to form safe and efficient networks while facing a strategic Adversary who is going to attack their networks. This investigation relates theoretical predictions by Dziubinski and Goyal (2013) to actual observed behaviour. Varying the costs for protecting nodes, we designed and tested two treatments with different predictions for the equilibrium network. Furthermore, the in fluence of the subjects' farsightedness on their decision- making process was elicited and analysed. We find that while subjects are able to build safe networks in both treatments, equilibrium networks are only built in one of the two treatments. In the other treatment, predominantly safe networks are built but they are not efficient. Additionally, we find that farsightedness -as measured in our experiment- has no in fluence on whether subjects are able to build safe or efficient networks.
    Keywords: Networks, Experiment, Network Design, Network Defence, Network Disruption
    Date: 2017–04
  14. By: Bulte, Erwin; Wang, Ruixin; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: In many developing countries, gift expenses account for a substantial share of total household expenditures. As incomes rise, gift expenses are escalating in several developing countries. We develop a theoretical model to demonstrate how (unequal) income growth may trigger “gift competition†and drive up the financial burden associated with gift exchange. We use unique census-type panel data from rural China to test our model predictions and demonstrate that (1) the value of gifts responds to the average gift in the community, (2) the escalation of gift giving may have adverse welfare implications (especially for the poor), and (3) escalating gift expenses crowd out expenditures on other consumption items.
    Keywords: CHINA; EAST ASIA; ASIA, household expenditure; developing countries; income; rural communities; welfare, gift competition; reciprocity; subjective well-being; inequality, O10 Economic Development: General; I30 Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: General; D10 Household Behavior: General,
    Date: 2017
  15. By: Anjanette M. Chan Tack (University of Chicago); Mario Small (Harvard University)
    Abstract: While many studies have examined friendship formation among children in conventional contexts, comparatively fewer have examined how the process is shaped by neighborhood violence. The literature on violence and gangs has identified coping strategies that likely affect friendships, but most children in violent neighborhoods are not gang members and not all friendship relations involve gangs. We examine the friendship formation process based on in-depth interviews with 72 students, parents, and teachers in two elementary schools in violent Chicago neighborhoods. All students were African American boys and girls ages 11 to 15. We find that while conventional studies depict friendship formation among children as largely affective in nature, the process among the students we observed was, instead, primarily strategic. The children’s strategies were not singular but heterogeneous and malleable in nature. We identify and document five distinct strategies: protection-seeking, avoidance, testing, cultivating questioners, and kin-reliance. Girls were as affected as boys were, while they also reported additional preoccupations associated with sexual violence. We discuss implications for theories of friendship formation, violence, and neighborhood effects.
    Keywords: friendship formation, networks, violence, neighborhood effects, Child Development
    JEL: R23 J15 J16 K14
    Date: 2017–04

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