nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2017‒10‒22
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Spillover Effects of Institutions on Cooperative Behavior, Preferences, and Beliefs By Florian Engl; Arno Riedl; Roberto A. Weber
  2. Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies By Alessandro Gavazza; Mattia Nardotto; Tommaso Valletti
  3. Too Lucky to be True - Fairness Views under the Shadow of Cheating By Stefania Bortolotti; Ivan Soraperra; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
  4. The Diffusion of New Institutions: Evidence from Renaissance Venice's Patent System By Stefano Comino; Alberto Galasso; Clara Graziano
  5. Measures of interpersonal trust: Evidence on their cross-national validity and reliability based on surveys and experimental data By Ryan E. Carlin; Gregory J. Love; Conal Smith
  6. The value of political connections in the first German democracy: Evidence from the Berlin stock exchange By Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle; Opitz, Alexander
  7. Worldviews and Intergenerational Altruism: A Comparison of Turkish People Living in Turkey and Germany By K. Ali Akkemik; Mehmet Bulut; Marcus Dittrich; Koray Göksal; Kristina Leipold; Masao Ogaki
  8. The effect of information on social preferences towards an outgroup of refugees: A field experiment By Bajrami, Leon; Loschelder, David D.; Mechtel, Mario
  9. Partners in Crime: Diffusion of Responsibility in Antisocial Behaviors By Behnk, Sascha; Hao, Li; Reuben, Ernesto

  1. By: Florian Engl; Arno Riedl; Roberto A. Weber
    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
  2. By: Alessandro Gavazza; Mattia Nardotto; Tommaso Valletti
    Abstract: We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis suggests that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e., radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters' information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies and government size.
    Keywords: Internet, newspaper, media, elections, policy
    JEL: D72 C50 L86
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Stefania Bortolotti; Ivan Soraperra; Matthias Sutter; Claudia Zoller
    Abstract: The steady increase in inequality over the past decades has revived a lively debate about what can be considered a fair distribution of income. Public support for the extent of redistribution typically depends on the perceived causes of income inequality, such as differences in effort, luck, or opportunities. We study how fairness views and the extent of redistribution are affected by a hitherto overlooked, but relevant factor: immoral self-serving behavior that can lead to increased inequality. We focus on situations in which the rich have potentially acquired their fortunes by means of cheating. In an experiment, we let third parties redistribute resources between two stakeholders who could earn money either by choosing a safe amount or by engaging in a risky, but potentially more profitable, investment. In one treatment, the outcome of the risky investment is determined by a random move, while in another treatment stakeholders can cheat to obtain the more profitable outcome. Although third parties cannot verify cheating, we find that the mere suspicion of cheating changes fairness views of third parties considerably and leads to a strong polarization. When cheating opportunities are present, the share of subjects redistributing money from rich to poor stakeholders triples and becomes as large as the fraction of libertarians - i.e., participants who never redistribute. Without cheating opportunities, libertarian fairness views dominate, while egalitarian views are much less prevalent. These results indicate that fairness views and attitudes towards redistribution change significantly when people believe that income inequality is the result of cheating by the rich.
    Keywords: fairness views, redistribution, unethical behavior, inequality, experiment
    JEL: C91 D63 D81 H26
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Stefano Comino; Alberto Galasso; Clara Graziano
    Abstract: What factors affect the diffusion of new economic institutions? This paper examines this question exploiting the introduction of the first regularized patent system which appeared in the Venetian Republic in 1474. We begin by developing a model which links patenting activity of craft guilds with provisions in their statutes. The model predicts that guild statutes that are more effective at preventing outsider’s entry and at mitigating price competition lead to less patenting. We test this prediction on a new dataset which combines detailed information on craft guilds and patents in the Venetian Republic during the Renaissance. We find a negative association between patenting activity and guild statutory norms which strongly restrict entry and price competition. We show that guilds which originated from medieval religious confraternities were more likely to regulate entry and competition, and that the effect on patenting is robust to instrumenting guild statutes with their quasi-exogenous religious origin. We also find that patenting was more widespread among guilds geographically distant from Venice, and among guilds in cities with lower political connection which we measure exploiting a new database on noble families and their marriages with members of the great council. Our analysis suggests that local economic and political conditions may have a substantial impact on the diffusion of new economic institutions.
    Keywords: patents, competition, guilds, institutions
    JEL: O33 O34 K23
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Ryan E. Carlin (Georgia State University); Gregory J. Love (University of Mississippi); Conal Smith (OECD)
    Abstract: Interpersonal trust (i.e. trust in other people) is an issue of high interest to both policy-makers and researchers seeking to understand what drives social and economic outcomes. However, for trust to usefully inform policy and analysis it is necessary to have valid and reliable measures of it. Despite a large body of evidence on the relationship between trust and other social and economic outcomes, evidence on the validity of trust from experimental data is conflicting. In particular, while many studies find no correlation between survey measures of trust and experimental measures at an individual level, other studies suggest a significant, if modest, correlation at the country level. This article examines the relationship between survey and experimental measures of trust in others using a large dataset containing aggregate experimental and survey measures of trust from 167 studies conducted in 36 countries. Importantly, the dataset also includes individual measures of both survey and behavioural trust in seven countries, and data from two panel studies with repeated survey measures of trust. Using these multiple data sources, the paper investigates the degree to which survey measures of interpersonal trust are valid at both an individual and cross-country level. The paper shows the existence of a significant correlation between survey and experimental measures of interpersonal trust at the country-level. Evidence on measurement errors in existing small-scale studies underscores the importance of developing better quality data from both surveys and experiments.
    Keywords: Interpersonal trust, measurement, trust game
    JEL: C83 C91 Z10
    Date: 2017–10–19
  6. By: Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle; Opitz, Alexander
    Abstract: In this paper, we provide the first overview over all political connections for all firms listed on the Berlin stock exchange in 1924 and for the same sample of firms four years later. In contrast to anecdotal evidence which suggest that these political connections had a positive effect on firms' performance, an event study based on the election in December 1924 and May 1928 shows only little evidence that political connections had a positive impact on firm value. These results complement previous research emphasizing that political connections might have mattered less in democracies. Indeed, this seems true for Germany's first democracy - even though it was a very unstable one.
    Keywords: Political Connections,Interwar Germany,Stock Market Performance
    Date: 2017
  7. By: K. Ali Akkemik; Mehmet Bulut; Marcus Dittrich; Koray Göksal; Kristina Leipold; Masao Ogaki
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine and compare the impact of cultural differences on intergenerational altruism in Turkish people living in Turkey and in Germany, using the anthropological concept of worldview. Data were gathered from four surveys: nationwide surveys in Turkey and Germany, an online survey of Turkish people living in Germany, and a survey conducted as an experiment in a mosque attended by Turkish people in Germany. We find striking differences in parenting attitudes between Turkish people living in Turkey and those who live in Germany. Turkish people living in Germany tend to resemble German people in their parenting attitudes. We also find that differences in confidence attached to worldview beliefs, differences in religiosity, and the subjective probabilities attached to worldview beliefs (such as “All humans evolved from another living organism†) between Turkish people living in Turkey and those in Germany have statistically significant explanatory power for these differences in parenting attitudes.
    Keywords: intergenerational altruism, worldviews, religion, tough love, spoiling love
    JEL: Z10 Z12 D64
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Bajrami, Leon; Loschelder, David D.; Mechtel, Mario
    Abstract: Previous research has shown that individuals discriminate against outgroup members in economic decision-tasks (e.g., Chen and Li 2009, Hett et al. 2017, see also Social Identity Theory, Tajfel and Turner 1979). In this paper, we examine senders’ economic decisions in a dictator game, given that the receiver belongs to a refugee outgroup. First, we find that providing stylized information about the perspective of the receiver influences senders’ social preferences. Second, we show that political preferences matter substantially. Our data reveal that senders’ political orientation moderates the effect of information on their social preferences: While the information treatment strengthens social preferences towards outgroup members for more left-wing oriented participants, the treatment effect on participants who favor more right-wing parties is even negative. Our experiment allows to derive policy implications on how attitudes towards refugees could be altered.
    Keywords: outgroup discrimination,social identity,social preferences,refugees,information,field experiment
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Behnk, Sascha (University of Zurich); Hao, Li (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville); Reuben, Ernesto (New York University, Abu Dhabi)
    Abstract: Using a series of sender-receiver games, we find that two senders acting together are willing to behave more antisocially towards the receiver than single senders. This result is robust in two contexts: when antisocial messages are dishonest and when they are honest but unfavorable. Our results suggest that diffusion of responsibility is the primary reason for the increased antisocial behavior as our experimental design eliminates competing explanations. With a partner in crime, senders think that behaving antisocially is more acceptable and experience less guilt. Importantly, we identify a crucial condition for the increased antisocial behavior by groups: the partner in crime must actively participate in the decision-making. Our results have important implications for institutional design and promoting prosocial behaviors.
    Keywords: diffusion of responsibility, antisocial behavior, moral norms, guilt aversion
    JEL: D70 D91 C92 D63
    Date: 2017–09

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