nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒01‒29
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Distrust and Political Turnover By Nunn, Nathan; Qian, Nancy; Wen, Jaya
  2. Better Together? Social Networks in Truancy and the Targeting of Treatment By Bennett, Magdalena; Bergman, Peter
  3. Gender and Peer Effects in Social Networks By Julie Beugnot; Bernard Fortin; Guy Lacroix; Marie-Claire Villeval
  4. Are practicing Catholics more tolerant of other religions than the rest of the world? Comparative analyses based on World Values Survey data By Tausch, Arno
  5. Inferring the Ideological Affiliations of Political Committees via Financial Contributions Networks By Yiran Chen; Hanming Fang
  6. Knowledge Interactions in Regional Innovation Networks: Comparing Data Sources By Michael Fritsch; Mirko Titze; Matthias Piontek
  7. Norms in bargaining: evidence from government formation in Spain By Thomas Fujiwara; Carlos Sanz
  8. What Motivates Japan’s International Volunteers? Categorizing Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) By Okabe Yasunobu; Shiratori Sakiko; Suda Kazuya
  9. Do emigrants self-select along cultural traits? Evidence from the MENA countries By Docquier, Frédéric; Tansel, Aysit; Turati, Riccardo

  1. By: Nunn, Nathan; Qian, Nancy; Wen, Jaya
    Abstract: We present findings that document one way in which a society's culture can affect political outcomes. Examining an annual panel of democratic countries over six decades, we show that severe economic downturns are more likely to cause political turnover in countries that have lower levels of generalized trust. The relationship is only found among democracies and for regular leader turnover, which suggests that the underlying mechanism works through leader accountability and the electoral process. Moreover, we find that the effects of trust on turnover are greatest during years with regularly-scheduled elections, and within democracies with a parliamentary system, a fully free media, and greater stability. The estimates suggest that generalized trust affects political institutions by influencing the extent to which citizens attribute economic downturns to the mistakes of politicians.
    Keywords: Political Turnover; Recession; Trust
    JEL: D72 P16 P17 P51
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Bennett, Magdalena (Columbia University); Bergman, Peter (Columbia University)
    Abstract: Truancy correlates with many risky behaviors and adverse outcomes. We use detailed administrative data on by-class absences to construct social networks based on students who miss class together. We simulate these networks and use permutation tests to show that certain students systematically coordinate their absences. Leveraging a parent-information intervention on student absences, we find spillover effects from treated students onto peers in their network. We show that an optimal-targeting algorithm that incorporates machine-learning techniques to identify heterogeneous effects, as well as the direct effects and spillover effects, could further improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the intervention subject to a budget constraint.
    Keywords: social networks, peer effects, education
    JEL: I21 D85
    Date: 2018–01
  3. By: Julie Beugnot (Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, CRESE); Bernard Fortin (Université Laval, CRREP, CIRANO); Guy Lacroix (Université Laval, CRREP, CIRANO); Marie-Claire Villeval (Université de Lyon, CNRS, GATE, IZA)
    Abstract: We investigate whether peer effects at work differ by gender and whether the gender difference in peer effects –if any- depends on work organization, precisely the structure of social networks. We develop a social network model with gender heterogeneity that we test by means of a real effort laboratory experiment. We compare sequential networks in which information on peers flows exclusively downward (from peers to the worker) and simultaneous networks where it disseminates bi-directionally along an undirected line (from peers to the worker and from the worker to peers). We identify strong gender differences in peer effects, as males’ effort increases with peers’ performance in both types of network, whereas females behave conditionally. While they are influenced by peers in sequential networks, females disregard their peers’ performance when information flows in both directions. We reject that the difference between networks is driven by having one’s performance observed by others or by the presence of peers in the same session in simultaneous networks. We interpret the gender difference in terms of perception of a higher competitiveness of the environment in simultaneous than in sequential networks because of the bi-directional flow of information.
    Keywords: Gender, peer effects, social networks, work effort, experiment
    JEL: C91 J16 J24 J31 M52
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Tausch, Arno
    Abstract: Our article developed a new Indicator of Global Tolerance, and analyzed the performance of the practicing Roman Catholics in comparison to the national performances. Based on the latest survey wave of the World Values Survey (2015) we first show how much religious tolerance or intolerance shapes public opinion in the individual countries of the world. We then ask ourselves whether or not active, practicing Roman Catholics, who attend Church Services each Sunday (in Catholic jargon the Dominicantes) are more or less tolerant than overall society concerning our chosen five tolerance indicators. For the 59 states of the world there are complete data. While e.g. in Sweden and the United States 30% or less of the population have no confidence in people with a religious denomination other than their own, these percentages in Algeria; Armenia; Yemen; Kyrgyzstan; Libya; Morocco; Mexico; Palestine (occupied territories); Peru; Romania; Tunisia; and Uzbekistan are over 70% each. Among the ten states with the lowest general religious tolerance, based on our five indicators, there are nine predominantly Muslim states. The disappointing results for Germany both at the national level and at the level of the practicing Roman Catholics and the German Muslim community bode ill for the future capability of Germany to integrate the millions of refugees, which came to Germany since the beginnings of the European Refugee Crisis in the fall of 2015.
    Keywords: A13 - Relation of Economics to Social Values Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology Z12 - Religion
    JEL: A13 Z1 Z12
    Date: 2017–11–21
  5. By: Yiran Chen; Hanming Fang
    Abstract: About two thirds of the political committees registered with the Federal Election Commission do not self identify their party affiliations. In this paper we propose and implement a novel Bayesian approach to infer about the ideological affiliations of political committees based on the network of the financial contributions among them. In Monte Carlo simulations, we demonstrate that our estimation algorithm achieves very high accuracy in recovering their latent ideological affiliations when the pairwise difference in ideology groups' connection patterns satisfy a condition known as the Chernoff-Hellinger divergence criterion. We illustrate our approach using the campaign finance record in 2003-2004 election cycle. Using the posterior mode to categorize the ideological affiliations of the political committees, our estimates match the self reported ideology for 94.36% of those committees who self-reported to be Democratic and 89.49% of those committees who self reported to be Republican.
    JEL: D72 D85 P16
    Date: 2017–12
  6. By: Michael Fritsch (FSU Jena); Mirko Titze (Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), Germany); Matthias Piontek (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: The value of social network analysis is critically dependent on the comprehensive and reliable identification of actors and their relationships. We compare regional knowledge networks based on different types of data sources, namely, co-patents, co-publications, and publicly subsidized collaborative R&D projects. Moreover, by combining these three data sources, we construct a multilayer network that provides a comprehensive picture of intraregional interactions. By comparing the networks based on the data sources, we address the problems of coverage and selection bias. We observe that using only one data source leads to a severe underestimation of regional knowledge interactions, especially those of private sector firms and independent researchers. The key role of universities that connect many regional actors is identified in all three types of data.
    Keywords: Knowledge interactions, social network analysis, regional innovation systems, data sources
    JEL: O30 R12 R30
    Date: 2018–01–08
  7. By: Thomas Fujiwara (Princeton, CIFAR, and NBER); Carlos Sanz (Banco de España)
    Abstract: Theories of multilateral bargaining and coalition formation applied to legislatures predict that parties’ seat shares determine their bargaining power. We present findings that are difficult to reconcile with this prediction. We use data from 2,898 municipal Spanish elections in which two parties tie in the number of seats. The party with slightly more general election votes is substantially more likely to appoint the mayor (form the government). Since tied parties should, on average, have equal bargaining power, this identifies the effect of being the most voted due to a norm prescribing that “the most voted should form government.” The effect of being most voted is comparable in size to the effect of obtaining an additional seat. This norm binds behavior even when the second and third most voted parties can form a winning coalition that prefers the most voted not to appoint the mayor. Voters punish, in future elections, second most voted parties that appoint mayors, suggesting that they enforce the norm. We document a similar second-versus-third most voted effect and provide suggestive evidence of similar norms from 28 national European parliaments. A model where elections play a dual role (aggregating information and disciplining incumbents) and different equilibria (norms) can occur is consistent with our results and yields additional predictions.
    Keywords: keyword, bargaining, elections, government formation, political economy, regression discontinuity
    JEL: C7 D7 D9
    Date: 2017–11
  8. By: Okabe Yasunobu; Shiratori Sakiko; Suda Kazuya
    Abstract: The literature on international volunteer motivation has highlighted mainly Western cases, while almost ignoring Asian volunteers. Through an analysis of the motivations of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs), this study aims to identify who they are and to contribute to our understanding of individual behavior in relation to international volunteering. This is the first quantitative study of their motivation, and we surveyed them using a series of questionnaires. We obtained 1507 responses from the volunteers, and a cluster analysis of the revealed motives categorized them into six types, labeled as: (I) curious; (II) business-minded; (III) development assistance; (IV) quest for oneself; (V) change-oriented; and (VI) altruist. The results show that each of these groups tend to have a different set of motives, and these can be characterized according to their socio-demographic and behavioral information. The results confirm that JOCVs have the same altruistic and egoistic motivations that have been observed in the Western studies. From a practical perspective, our six clusters of volunteers match the three purposes of the JOCV program, and show that, to a certain extent, the program has been successful in recruiting young Japanese people. Moreover, the classifications will be helpful when the JOCV Secretariat managers wish to target specific types of volunteers for special recruiting and training.
    Keywords: Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs), motivation, international volunteers, typology, cluster analysis
    Date: 2017–12
  9. By: Docquier, Frédéric; Tansel, Aysit; Turati, Riccardo
    Abstract: This paper empirically investigates whether emigrants from MENA countries self-select on cultural traits such as religiosity and gender-egalitarian attitudes. To do so, we use Gallup World Poll data on individual opinions and beliefs, migration aspirations, short-run migration plans, and preferred destination choices. We find that individuals who intend to emigrate to OECD, high-income countries exhibit significantly lower levels of religiosity than the rest of the population. They also share more gender-egalitarian views, although the effect only holds among the young (aged 15 to 30), among single women, and in countries with a Sunni minority. For countries mostly affected by Arab Spring, since 2011 the degree of cultural selection has decreased. Nevertheless, the aggregate effects of cultural selection should not be overestimated. Overall, self-selection along cultural traits has limited (albeit non negligible) effects on the average characteristics of the population left behind, and on the cultural distance between natives and immigrants in the OECD countries.
    Keywords: International migration, self-selection, cultural traits, gender-egalitarian attitudes, religiosity, MENA region.
    JEL: F22 J61 O15 Z10
    Date: 2017–11–17

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