nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒06‒25
five papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Roots of Autocracy By Galor, Oded; Klemp, Marc
  2. Culture, Compliance, and Confidentiality: Taxpayer Behavior in the United States and Italy By James Alm; Michele Bernasconi; Susan Laury; Daniel J. Lee; Sally Wallace
  3. Spillover Effects of Institutions on Cooperative Behavior, Preferences, and Beliefs By Engl, Florian; Riedl, Arno; Weber, Roberto A.
  4. The Role of Social Capital in Competition and Gender-matching Environments-Evidence from East Asian Countries By Seo-Young Cho
  5. I (Don't) Like You! But Who Cares? Gender Differences in Same Sex and Mixed Sex Teams By Gerhards, Leonie; Kosfeld, Michael

  1. By: Galor, Oded (Brown University); Klemp, Marc (Brown University)
    Abstract: Exploiting a novel geo-referenced data set of population diversity across ethnic groups, this research advances the hypothesis and empirically establishes that variation in population diversity across human societies, as determined in the course of the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, contributed to the differential formation of pre-colonial autocratic institutions within ethnic groups and the emergence of autocratic institutions across countries. Diversity has amplified the importance of institutions in mitigating the adverse effects of non-cohesiveness on productivity, while contributing to the scope for domination, leading to the formation of institutions of the autocratic type.
    Keywords: autocracy, economic growth, diversity, institutions, Out-of-Africa Hypothesis of Comparative Development
    JEL: O1 O43 Z10
    Date: 2017–06
  2. By: James Alm (Tulane University); Michele Bernasconi (Department of Economics, Cà Foscari University Of Venice); Susan Laury (Georgia State University); Daniel J. Lee (Rice University); Sally Wallace (Georgia State University, African Tax Institute and the University of Pretoria RSA)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of confidentiality of taxpayer information on the level of compliance in two countries with very different levels of citizen trust in government – the United States and Italy. Using identical laboratory experiments conducted in the two countries, we analyze the impact on tax compliance of “Full Disclosure” (e.g., release of photos of tax evaders to all subjects, along with information on the extent of their noncompliance) and of “Full Confidentiality” (e.g., no public dissemination of photos or noncompliance). Our empirical analysis applies a two-stage strategy that separates the evasion decision into its extensive (e.g., “participation”) and intensive (e.g. “amount”) margins. We find strong support for the notion that public disclosure acts as an additional deterrent to tax evaders, and that the deterrent effect is concentrated in the first stage of the two-stage model (or whether to evade or not). We also find that the deterrent effect is similar in the U.S. and in Italy, despite what appear to be different social norms of compliance in the two countries.
    Keywords: H2, H3
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Engl, Florian (university of cologne); Riedl, Arno (General Economics 1 (Micro)); Weber, Roberto A. (university of zurich)
    Abstract: Institutions are an important means for fostering prosocial behaviors, but in many contexts their scope is limited and they govern only a subset of all socially desirable acts. We use a laboratory experiment to study how the presence and nature of an institution that enforces prosocial behavior in one domain affects behavior in another domain and whether it also alters prosocial preferences and beliefs about others' behavior. Groups play two identical public good games. We vary whether, for only one game, there is an institution enforcing cooperation and vary also whether the institution is imposed exogenously or arises endogenously through voting. Our results show that the presence of an institution in one game generally enhances cooperation in the other game thus documenting a positive spillover effect. These spillover effects are economically substantial amounting up to 30 to 40 percent of the direct effect of institutions. When the institution is determined endogenously spillover effects get stronger over time, whereas they do not show a trend when it is imposed exogenously. Additional treatments indicate that the main driver of this result is not the endogeneity but the temporal trend of the implemented institution. We also find that institutions of either type enhance prosocial preferences and beliefs about others' prosocial behavior, even toward strangers, suggesting that both factors are drivers of the observed spillover effects.
    Keywords: public goods, institutions, spillover effect, social preferences, beliefs
    JEL: C92 D02 D72 H41
    Date: 2017–06–13
  4. By: Seo-Young Cho (Philipps-University Marburg)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of social capital in determining one’s competitiveness. The analysis exploits the data of the PISA test in math because competitive occupational choices often require high quantitative skills. The empirical results highlight that a higher level of trust in school promotes one’s competition, participation, and motivation in math. However, this positive effect of trust maintains mainly in mixed-sex environments but not in single-sex competitions. The trust effect is exhausted in gender-matching environments, probably because single-sex matches reduce unfairness caused by gender discrimination. In addition to that, the effects of social capital are heterogeneous across countries. This country-asymmetric effect implies that the role of social capital is culturally defined and mediated.
    Keywords: gender; competitiveness; math studies; social capital; trust; trustworthiness; gender matching environments; institutions; survey; and East Asia.
    JEL: I24 J16 O17 O53
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Gerhards, Leonie (University of Hamburg); Kosfeld, Michael (Goethe University Frankfurt)
    Abstract: We study the effect of likability on female and male team behavior in a lab experiment. Extending a two-player public goods game and a minimum effort game by an additional pre-play stage that informs team members about their mutual likability we find that female teams lower their contribution to the public good in case of low likability, while male teams achieve high levels of cooperation irrespective of the level of mutual likability. In mixed sex teams, both females' and males' contributions depend on mutual likability. Similar results are found in the minimum effort game. Our results offer a new perspective on gender differences in labor market outcomes: mutual dislikability impedes team behavior, except in all-male teams.
    Keywords: gender differences, likability, experiment, team behavior
    JEL: C90 J16
    Date: 2017–06

This nep-soc issue is ©2017 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.