nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒09‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Incarcerate one to calm the others? Spillover effects of incarceration among criminal groups By Philippe, Arnaud
  2. Strategic Behavior of Moralists and Altruists, By Alger, Ingela; Weibull, Jörgen W.
  3. Peer effects on perseverance By Buechel, Berno; Mechtenberg, Lydia; Petersen, Julia
  4. Information, belief elicitation and threshold effects in the 5X1000 tax scheme: a framed field experiment By Leonardo Becchetti; Vittorio Pelligra; Tommaso Reggiani
  5. The drunk side of trust: Social capital generation at gathering events By Giuseppe Attanasi; Stefania Bortolotti; Simona Cicognani; Antonio Filippin
  6. Institutional Responsiveness, Authoritarian Orientation and the Internet’s Impact on Institutional Trust Across East Asia By Kao, Lang; Huang, Yi-Hui Christine; Lu, Yuanhang
  7. The importance of considering optimal government policy when social norms matter for the private provision of public goods By Guy Meunier; Ingmar Schumacher
  8. Being online daters or not: Effects of individual factors, peers influence, and social reality By Peng, Kun; Cao, Bolin
  9. The Origins of Financial Development: How the African Slave Trade Continues to Influence Modern Finance By Ross Levine; Chen Lin; Wensi Xie
  10. Altruism and strategic giving in children and adolescents By Brocas, Isabelle; Carrillo, Juan D; Kodaverdian, Niree
  11. The trust factor in the digital economy: Why privacy and security is fundamental for successful ecosystems By van den Dam, Rob
  12. Why do women co-operate more in women’s groups? By James Fearon; Macartan Humphreys

  1. By: Philippe, Arnaud
    Abstract: This paper documents the effect of peers’ incarceration on an individual’s criminal activity within small criminal groups. Using established criminal groups, I built a 48-month panel that records the criminal status, Individual imprisonment status and imprisonment status of group members. Panel regressions with individual fixed effects allows me to document five facts. First, the incarceration of a peer is associated with a 5 per cent decrease in the arrest rate among groups composed of two persons. No effect is observed among bigger groups. Second, this effect is present even for incarceration following lone crimes, ruling out an explanation based on common shocks. Third, the probability of committing a group crime strongly decreases, and there is no shift to crime with other peers or lone crimes. Four, this general effect hides significant within-group heterogeneity. The results are consistent with the idea that ‘leaders’ are not affected by the incarceration of ‘followers’. Five, the effect seems to be driven by lower risky behaviour among offenders who remain free, and not by ‘criminal capital’ loss or deterrence.
    Date: 2017–09
  2. By: Alger, Ingela; Weibull, Jörgen W.
    Abstract: Does altruism and morality lead to socially better outcomes in strategic interactions than selfishness? We shed some light on this complex and non-trivial issue by examining a few canonical strategic interactions played by egoists, altruists and moralists. By altruists we mean people who do not only care about their own material payoffs but also about those to others, and by a moralist we mean someone who cares about own material payoff and also about what would be his or her material payoff if others were to act like himself or herself. It turns out that both altruism and morality may improve or worsen equilibrium outcomes, depending on the nature of the game. Not surprisingly, both altruism and morality improve the outcomes in standard public goods games. In infinitely repeated games, however, both altruism and morality may diminish the prospects of cooperation, and to different degrees. In coordination games, morality can eliminate socially inefficient equilibria while altruism cannot.
    Keywords: altruism; morality; Homo moralis; repeated games; coordination games
    JEL: C73 D01 D03
    Date: 2017–08
  3. By: Buechel, Berno; Mechtenberg, Lydia; Petersen, Julia
    Abstract: Successful performance – be it in school, at the job, or in sports activities – requires perseverance, i.e., persistent work on a demanding task. We investigate in a controlled laboratory experiment how an individual’s social environment affects perseverance. We find evidence for two kinds of peer effects: being observed by a peer can serve as a commitment device, while observing a peer can be informative. In particular, we show that successful peers affect perseverance positively if they communicate their success in a motivating way and negatively otherwise, while perseverance is unaffected by unsuccessful peers. Our experimental results suggest that peers affect perseverance indirectly, via influencing self-confidence. We turn to field data from an educational setting and find that students seem to be able to harness the power of peer effects, by selecting into groups that help them reach their goals.
    Keywords: Self-control; Peer Effects; Social Networks; Experiment
    JEL: C91 D90 I21 J24
    Date: 2017–09–16
  4. By: Leonardo Becchetti; Vittorio Pelligra; Tommaso Reggiani
    Abstract: In this paper, we study by means of a framed field experiment on a representative sample of the population the effect on people's charitable giving of three, substantial and procedural, elements: information provision, belief elicitation and threshold on distribution. We frame this investigation within the 5X1000 tax scheme, a mechanism through which Italian taxpayers may choose to give a small proportion (0.5%) of their income tax to a voluntary organization to fund its activities. We find two main results: (i) providing information or eliciting beliefs about previous donations increases the likelihood of a donation, while thresholds have no effect; (ii) information about previous funding increases donations to organizations that received fewer donations in the past, while belief elicitation also increases donations to organizations that received most donations in the past, since individuals are more likely to donate to the organizations they rank first.
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Giuseppe Attanasi; Stefania Bortolotti; Simona Cicognani; Antonio Filippin
    Abstract: We present a case study to assess the relation between alcohol intake and trust generation at a cultural gathering event. Over a span of six editions (2012–2017), we interviewed and elicited blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of nearly 2,000 attendees of the final concert of “La Notte della Taranta Festival”, the biggest concert in Europe dedicated to traditional music (about 200,000 participants per year). Once controlling for the BAC of respondents, and for the belief about own and others’ BAC, we find that alcohol, consumption during the event is positively correlated with trust generation towards other attendees. Furthermore, looking at the amount of trust devoted to drinkers (the drunk side of trust), we find a positive correlation with both own measured BAC and own believed BAC. Considered together, we argue that these two results are indicative of endogenous group formation in terms of alcohol consumption: drinking during event attendance positively correlates with increased trust to other drinkers in the event audience.
    Keywords: Cultural event; Instantaneous social capital; Generalized trust; Blood alcohol concentration; Tourist.
    JEL: A13 D91 Z10
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Kao, Lang; Huang, Yi-Hui Christine; Lu, Yuanhang
    Abstract: A growing body of research documents the direct relationship between Internet use and institutional trust. However, the research gap remained as its mediating and moderating mechanism. Adopting a cultural-institutional perspective, this study seeks to answer: How does Internet use relate to institutional trust? Under what condition is the indirect association most potent? The present study examines whether authoritarian orientation and perceived institutional responsiveness mediate the relationship between Internet use and institutional trust, and whether the mediating process was moderated by level of democracy in East Asian countries/territories. A total of 20667 respondents from 14 East Asian countries/territories completed anonymous questionnaires. Results showed that the negative relationship between Internet use and institutional trust was mediated by authoritarian orientation and perceived institutional responsiveness. The indirect link through authoritarian orientation was stronger for the countries/territories with a low level of democracy. Vice versa, the indirect link through perceived institutional responsiveness was stronger for the countries/territories with a higher level of democracy.
    Keywords: Internet use,institutional trust,authoritarian orientation,institutional responsiveness
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Guy Meunier (INRA); Ingmar Schumacher (IPAG Business School)
    Abstract: Social pressure can help overcome the free rider problem associated with public good provision. In the social norms literature concerned with the private provision of public goods there seems to be an implicit belief that it is best to have all agents adhere to the `good' social norm. We challenge this view and study optimal government policy in a reference model (Rege, 2004) of public good provision and social approval in a dynamic setting. We discuss the problem with the standard crowding in and out argument and analyze the relationship with Pigouvian taxes. We show that even if complete adherence to the social norm maximizes social welfare it is by no means necessarily optimal to push society towards it. We stress the different roles of the social externality and the public good problem. We discuss the role of the cost of public funds and show how it can create path dependency, multiplicity of optimal equilibria and optimal paths, and discuss the role of parameter instability. We argue that extreme care must be taken when formulating policies and subsequent results will fully depend on this formulation.
    Keywords: government policy, optimal policy, public goods, social norms,
    JEL: H23
    Date: 2017–09
  8. By: Peng, Kun; Cao, Bolin
    Abstract: This study aimed to bolster knowledge regarding the factors affecting adoption behaviors of online dating sites. We held the view that the adoption of online dating sites is not only a diffusion of innovation process but also an outcome of the interactions among individual, peers and society. Using the data collected from a telephone interview by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project in U.S., this study explored the role of perceived usefulness, perceived peer influence and perceived social reality in the adoption process. As a result, perceived usefulness of online dating sites was found to be the principal factor in influencing one’s choice of online dating sites. Also, perceived peer influence had been considered as another influential factor in this adoption process. However, perceived social reality had shown no impacts towards this adoption decision.
    Keywords: online dating sites (ODS),adoption,perceived usefulness,peer influence,social reality
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Ross Levine; Chen Lin; Wensi Xie
    Abstract: We assess how the African slave trade—which had enduring effects on social cohesion—continues to influence financial systems. After showing that the intensity with which people were enslaved and exported from Africa during the 1400 – 1900 period helps account for overall financial development, household access to credit, and firm access to finance, we evaluate three potential mechanisms linking the slave trade to modern finance—information sharing institutions, trust in financial institutions, and the quality of legal institutions. We discover that the slave trade is strongly, negatively related to the information sharing and trust mechanisms but not to the legal mechanism.
    JEL: G21 N27 O16 O55
    Date: 2017–09
  10. By: Brocas, Isabelle; Carrillo, Juan D; Kodaverdian, Niree
    Abstract: We conduct a laboratory experiment to investigate the evolution of altruism and strategic giving from childhood to adulthood. 334 school-age children and adolescents (from K to 12th grade) and 48 college students participated in a one-shot dictator game and a repeated alternating version of the same dictator game. Each dictator game featured the choice between a fair split (4; 4) and a selfish split (6; 1) between oneself and an anonymous partner. We find that altruism (fair split in the one-shot game) increases with age in children and drops after adolescence, and cannot alone account for the development of cooperation in the repeated game. Older subjects reciprocate more and also better anticipate the potential gains of initiating a cooperative play. Overall, children younger than 7 years of age are neither altruistic nor strategic while college students strategically cooperate despite a relatively low level of altruism. Participants in the intermediate age range gradually learn to anticipate the long term benefits of cooperation and to adapt their behavior to that of their partner. A turning point after which cooperation can be sustained occurs at about 11-12 years of age.
    Keywords: altruism; developmental decision-making; repeated games; strategic giving
    Date: 2017–09
  11. By: van den Dam, Rob
    Abstract: The volume of personal data collected by organizations is considerable and growing. But as more data is collected and transacted, the likelihood of a breach escalates. Cyberattacks are increasingly common and the volume and severity of data breaches and abuse continue to increase. With more and larger breaches in the news, consumers have become worried about – and suspicious of – the organizations that collect, store and use their data. And as digital ecosystems and the Internet of Things further expand, protecting customer data is more urgent than ever before.
    Date: 2017
  12. By: James Fearon; Macartan Humphreys
    Abstract: We examine a public goods game in 83 communities in northern Liberia. Women contributed substantially more to a small-scale development project when playing with other women than in mixed-gender groups, where they contributed at about the same levels as men. We try to explain this composition effect using a structural model, survey responses, and a second manipulation. Results suggest women in the all-women condition put more weight on co-operation regardless of value of public good, fear of discovery, or desire to match others’ behaviour. Game players may have stronger motivation to signal public-spiritedness when primed to consider themselves representatives of the women of the community.
    Date: 2017

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.
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