nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒10‒15
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Risk-taking, Trust, and Traumatization of Refugees in Germany – A Field Experiment By El Bialy, Nora; Nicklisch, Andreas; Voigt, Stefan
  2. Who Runs? Honesty and Self-Selection into Politics By Fehrler, Sebastian; Fischbacher, Urs; Schneider, Maik
  3. The Swing Voter's Curse in Social Networks By Mechtenberg, Lydia; Büchel, Berno
  4. Explaining Central Bank Trust in an Inflation Targeting Country: The Case of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand By Bernd Hayo; Florian Neumeier
  5. Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali By Jacopo Bonan; Pietro Battiston; Jaimie Bleck; Philippe LeMay-Boucher; Stefano Pareglio; Bassirou Sarr; Massimo Tavoni
  6. Norms and Reform: Legalizing Homosexuality Improves Attitudes By Charles Kenny; Dev Patel
  7. Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-sex Relationships Different? By Chen, Shuai; van Ours, Jan

  1. By: El Bialy, Nora; Nicklisch, Andreas; Voigt, Stefan
    Abstract: We ran a number of experiments among refugees and Germans.In a first step, we ask whether refugees and Germans behave differently and find that risk preferences do not significantly differ between them. However, refugees are less trusting than Germans. In a second step, we seek to identify the factors determining the behavior of refugees and find that attributing a high importance to religion as well as having lived in a tent or container in Germany are associated with lower trust levels.
    JEL: C93 D74 O15 Z12
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Fehrler, Sebastian; Fischbacher, Urs; Schneider, Maik
    Abstract: We examine the incentives to self-select into politics. To this end, we set up a two-stage political competition model and test its key mechanisms in the lab. At the entry stage, potential candidates compete in a contest to become their party’s nominee. At the election stage, the nominated candidates campaign by making non-binding promises to voters. Confirming the model’s key predictions, we find that dishonest people over-proportionally self-select into the political race.
    JEL: C92 D71 D83
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Mechtenberg, Lydia; Büchel, Berno
    Abstract: We study private communication in social networks prior to a majority vote on two alternative policies. Some (or all) agents receive a private imperfect signal about which policy is correct. They can, but need not, recommend a policy to their neighbors in the social network prior to the vote. We show that communication can undermine effciency of the vote and hence reduce welfare in a common interest setting. We test the model in a lab experiment and find strong support for the predicted effects.
    JEL: D72 D83 D85 C91
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Bernd Hayo; Florian Neumeier
    Abstract: Employing data from a representative population survey conducted in New Zealand in 2016, this paper examines factors that influence, or are at least associated with, public trust in the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ). The large number of specifically designed questions allows studying the relationship between six dimensions and RBNZ trust: (i) economic situation, (ii) monetary policy knowledge, (iii) nonspecific trust, (iv) interest and information search, (v) politicians and government, and (vi) socio‐demographic indicators. Using ordered logit models, we find that at least one indicator from each of these six dimensions has a statistically significant conditional correlation with individuals’ trust in RBNZ. Satisfaction with own financial situation, objective knowledge about the RBNZ’s main policy objective, responsibility for interest rate setting, subjective knowledge about inflation, trust in government institutions, desire to be informed about RBNZ, age, and full‐time selfemployment have a positive relationship with RBNZ trust. The reverse is found for respondents who do not keep up with RBNZ and believe that politicians are long‐term oriented. In terms of economic relevance, institutional trust has the largest single impact on RBNZ trust and the subjective and objective knowledge indicators show a strong combined influence.
    JEL: E52 E58 Z10
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Jacopo Bonan (FEEM and CMCC); Pietro Battiston (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna); Jaimie Bleck (University of Notre Dame); Philippe LeMay-Boucher (Heriot Watt University); Stefano Pareglio (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and FEEM); Bassirou Sarr (Paris School of Economics); Massimo Tavoni (Politecnico di Milano and FEEM)
    Abstract: We investigate the role of social interaction in technology adoption by conducting a field experiment in neighborhoods of Bamako. We invited women to attend a training/marketing session, where information on a more efficient cooking stove was provided and the chance to purchase the product at market price was offered. We randomly provided an information nudge on a peer’s willingness to buy an improved cookstove. We find that women purchase and use the product more when they receive information on a peer who purchased (or previously owned) the product, particularly if she is viewed as respected. In general, we find positive direct and spillover effects of attending the session. We also investigate whether social interaction plays a role in technology diffusion. We find that women who participated in the session, but did not buy during the intervention, are more likely to adopt the product when more women living around them own it. We investigate the mechanisms and provide evidence supporting imitation effects, rather than social learning or constraint interaction.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption, Social Interaction, Cookstoves, Mali
    JEL: D03 M31 O13 O33
    Date: 2017–09
  6. By: Charles Kenny (Center for Global Development); Dev Patel (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: This analysis examines the relationship between legal reform and social norms surrounding homosexuality. We document three main findings. First, about a fifth of the variation in individual preferences can be explained at a country level. Second, using a difference-in-differences strategy, legalizing homosexuality improves how individuals view the tone of their communities. Third, we provide further evidence supporting a legal origins argument by examining former colonies. Countries that were colonized by the British Empire have significantly worse legal rights for same-sex couples than those under other colonial powers. We conclude that adopting legal reform can improve societal attitudes.
    Keywords: Homosexuality, Legal Reform, Social Norms, Colonialism
    JEL: J16
  7. By: Chen, Shuai (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); van Ours, Jan (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: Partnered individuals are happier than singles. This can be because partnership leads to more satisfactory subjective well-being or because happier people are more likely to find a partner. We analyze Dutch panel data to investigate whether there is a causal effect of partnership on subjective well-being. Our data allow us to distinguish between marriage and cohabitation and between same-sex partnerships and opposite-sex ones. Our results support the short-term crisis model and adaptation theory. We find that marital partnership improves well-being and that these benefits are homogeneous to sexual orientation. The well-being gains of marriage are larger than those of cohabitation. Investigating partnership formation and disruption, we discover that the well-being effects are symmetric. Finally, we find that marriage improves well-being for both younger and older cohorts while cohabitation only benefits younger cohort.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; Happiness; marriage; Cohabitation; sexuel orientation
    JEL: I31 J12 J16
    Date: 2017

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