nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒02‒12
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Birthplace diversity, income inequality and education gradients in generalised trust: variations in the relevance of cognitive skills across 29 countries By Francesca Borgonovi; Artur Pokropek
  2. Heterogeneity and Networks By Goyal, S.
  3. Social Capital and Migration Intentions in Post-Communist Countries By Peter Huber; Stepan Mikula
  4. The social origins of inventors By Aghion, Philippe; Akcigit, Ufuk; Hyytinen, Ari; Toivanen, Otto
  5. Fishermen’s wives: On the cultural origins of violence against women By Vincent Leyaro; Pablo Selaya; Neda Trifkovic
  6. Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China By Xue, Melanie Meng; Koyama, Mark
  7. Trust and Trustworthiness in College: An Experimental Analysis By Francisco B. Galarza
  8. Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Self-employment: A Neighborhood Analysis of Enclave Size and Quality By Andersson, Martin; Larsson, Johan P.; Öner, Özge
  9. Understanding interpersonal violence: the impact of temperatures in Mexico By Francois Cohen, Fidel Gonzalez

  1. By: Francesca Borgonovi (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development); Artur Pokropek (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: The paper examines between-country differences in the mechanisms through which education could promote generalised trust using data from 29 countries participating in the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). Results indicate that education is strongly associated with generalised trust and that a large part of this association is mediated by individuals’ literacy skills, income and occupational prestige. However, education gradients in levels of generalised trust and in the extent to which they are due to social stratification mechanisms or cognitive skills mechanisms vary across countries. Social diversity, indicated by the presence and diversity of migrant populations and levels of income inequality, explain between country differences in the direct and indirect effects of education on trust. In particular, the relationship between literacy skills and generalised trust is stronger in the presence of more and more diverse migrant populations but is weaker in the presence of greater income inequality.
    Keywords: Trust, Education, PIAAC, Survey of Adult Skills, Resilience, Inequality, Diversity
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Goyal, S.
    Abstract: This chapter shows that networks can have large and differentiated effects on behavior and then argues that social and economic pressures facilitate the formation of heterogenous networks. Thus networks can play an important role in understanding the wide diversity in human behaviour and in economic outcomes.
    Date: 2018–02–06
  3. By: Peter Huber (WIFO); Stepan Mikula
    Abstract: We analyse the impact of social capital on the willingness to migrate in 28 post-communist and five western European comparator countries using the Life in Transition Survey. We find substantially lower levels of professional social capital among the older cohorts in post-communist than in the comparator countries. In addition, differences in endowments with professional social capital between the post-communist and comparator countries explain 1.5 to 3.9 percentage points of the total 4.0 to 17.0 percentage points difference in the willingness to migrate between the two country groups. Differences in local social capital, by contrast, contribute only little to explaining these differences. Furthermore, the robust positive relationship between the willingness to migrate and professional social capital is mainly due to a strong correlation between these variables among the young in all country groups. We therefore argue that future research should focus on explaining differences in the impact of social capital on migration decisions of different age groups.
    Keywords: Migration, social capital, transition countries
    Date: 2018–01–26
  4. By: Aghion, Philippe; Akcigit, Ufuk; Hyytinen, Ari; Toivanen, Otto
    Abstract: In this paper, we merge three datasets - individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data - to analyze the deterninants of an individual’s probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual’s IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. The impact of IQ is robust to controlling for unobserved family characteristics by focusing on potential inventors with brothers close in age. We also provide evidence on the importance of social family interactions, by looking at biological versus non-biological parents. Finally, we find a positive and significant interaction effect between IQ and father income, which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation
    Keywords: inventors; innovation; social mobility; IQ; education; parental background
    JEL: J18 O31
    Date: 2017–12–01
  5. By: Vincent Leyaro; Pablo Selaya; Neda Trifkovic
    Abstract: We study the roots of violence against women, and propose that it partly originates in cultural norms that derive from (a) characteristics of the traditional subsistence problem in different societies, and (b) differences in the sexual division of labor for solving that problem in each society. We construct this hypothesis on economics and anthropology research showing the potential of traditional livelihoods to shape persistent cultural norms at the local level, and arguing that this concept can be extended to explain outcomes at the domestic level. We test our main hypothesis by examining differences in the incidence of domestic violence across areas with different historical livelihoods in modern-day Tanzania, where we observe a large degree of spatial variation in both attitudes and actions of violence against women. Using rich individual survey and high-resolution georeferenced data, we find systematically less violence against women in traditionally sea-fishing areas vis-à-vis traditionally lake-fishing, agricultural, and pastoralist ones. Our results are consistent with anthropological accounts of the idea that women in sea-fishing societies tend to be comparatively more independent in decision-making, and to acquire skills that are complementary to demands in non-agrarian sectors. We interpret this as evidence for direct mechanisms helping to sustain egalitarian gender norms in general, and less violence against women in particular. By exploiting sub-national variation, this research allows us to move beyond studying the socio-economic and institutional determinants of violence against women, and to analyse the formation of specific cultural traits that explain where and why some women tolerate less violence against them.
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Xue, Melanie Meng; Koyama, Mark
    Abstract: This paper explores the impact of autocratic rule on social capital—defined as the beliefs, attitudes, norms and perceptions that support cooperation. Political repression is a distinguishing characteristic of autocratic regimes. Between 1660–1788, individuals in imperial China were persecuted if they were suspected of holding subversive attitudes towards the state. A difference-in-differences approach suggests that in an average prefecture, exposure to those literary inquisitions led to a decline of 38% in local charities—a key proxy of social capital. Consistent with the historical panel results, we find that in affected prefectures, individuals have lower levels of generalized trust in modern China. Taking advantage of institutional variation in 20th c. China, and two instrumental variables, we provide further evidence that political repression permanently reduced social capital. Furthermore, we find that individuals in prefectures with a legacy of literary inquisitions ar are more politically apathetic. These results indicate a potential vicious cycle in which autocratic rule becomes self-reinforcing through causing a permanent decline in social capital.
    Keywords: Social Capital, Institutions, Autocracy, China
    JEL: D71 D73 N45 Z1 Z10
    Date: 2018–01–25
  7. By: Francisco B. Galarza (Universidad del Pací fico)
    Abstract: We use experimental data to examine the effect of ethnicity (foreign, indigenous, and mestizo) and gender on trust and trustworthiness in Peru. We find that, compared to the foreign group, the indigenous group is more trusted (positive discrimination), while the mestizo group is less trustworthy (negative discrimination). Likewise, subjects reciprocate more in favor of males. We further analyze whether cognitive ability, the Big Five Personality Traits, and the social dominance orientation scale (SODS) can predict trust and trustworthiness. We find that the Cognitive Reflection Test score is positively correlated with trust, while the cumulative college GPA is negatively correlated with trustworthiness. And neuroticism is correlated with trusting behavior, while the SODS is (negatively) correlated with the trustworthiness ratio.
    Keywords: Trust, trustworthiness, cognitive reection, personality traits, social dominance, discrimination, experiments
    JEL: C72 C91 J15
    Date: 2018–01
  8. By: Andersson, Martin (Blekinge Institute of Technology); Larsson, Johan P. (Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum); Öner, Özge (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We explore the effects of neighborhood-level ethnic enclaves on the propensity of immigrants to use business ownership as a vehicle to transcend from labor market outsiders to insiders. We exploit an exogenously partitioned grid of geocoded 1–by–1 km squares to approximate neighborhoods, and match it with Swedish full-population data from 2011–2012 to study immigrants from the Middle East. We demonstrate a robust tendency for people to leave non-employment for self-employment if many members of the neighborhood ethnic diaspora are business owners, while we observe weak effects emanating from business ownership in other groups. Net of these effects, the overall scale of the enclave, measured by local concentration of co-ethnic peers, negatively influences the propensity to become self-employed. The results are consistent with the argument that it is not the scale, but the quality of local ethnic enclaves that influence labor market outcomes for immigrants.
    Keywords: Ethnic enclave; Segregation; Immigrant entrepreneurship; Self-employment; Labor market sorting; Integration
    JEL: J15 L26 P25
    Date: 2017–12–22
  9. By: Francois Cohen, Fidel Gonzalez
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of temperature on criminality in Mexico and question conventional wisdom that high temperatures impact human psychology. Using high-frequency data, we find a linear effect of temperatures on criminality, inconsistent with the belief that only high temperatures cause disturbances. A significant share of weather-related crimes can be explained by higher alcohol consumption (9%) and changes in time allocation during weekends (17%). Also 28% of weather related crimes are committed at night, and temperatures are mild, and a third is driven by short term displacements, causing no additional victims.
    Date: 2018–01

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