nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒03‒12
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. A war is forever: The long-run effects of early exposure to World War II on trust? By Conzo, Pierluigi; Salustri, Francesco
  2. The effects of physical activity on social interactions: The case of trust and trustworthiness By Di Bartolomeo Giovanni; Stefano Papa
  3. Whom can you trust? Reputation and Cooperation in Networks By Maia King;
  4. Communication in Context: Interpreting Promises in an Experiment on Competition and Trust By Casella, Alessandra; Kartik, Navin; Sanchez, Luis; Turban, Sébastien
  5. Motivational crowding out effects in charitable giving: Experimental evidence By Müller, Stephan; Rau, Holger A.
  6. Nudges in network By Benjamin Ouvrard; Anne Stenger
  7. Pay-What-You-Want to support independent information - A field experiment on motivation By Alessandra Casarico; Mirco Tonin

  1. By: Conzo, Pierluigi; Salustri, Francesco (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper sheds lights on the historical roots of trust across European regions. We embrace a life-course perspective and estimate the effect of early exposure to World War II on present levels of trust among Europeans aged above 50. Our identification strategy combines the variation in place and time of conflict episodes with the variation in the respondents’ month-year of birth and region of residence during the war. We focus on the pre-school period, which is a crucial stage of life for the formation of persistent trust attitudes. Our evidence provides support to this hypothesis. Individuals exposed to war episodes in the first six years of life display lower levels of trust in the adulthood. The gap persists when controlling for region and date-of-birth fixed effects, current and past socio-economic status, parental investment in human capital and other socio-demographic and economic controls, including current mental and physical health. Placebo results corroborate the validity of our findings.
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Di Bartolomeo Giovanni; Stefano Papa
    Abstract: There is no doubt that physical activity improves health conditions; however, does it also affect the way people interact? Beyond the obvious effects related to team games or sharing common activities such as attending a gym, we wonder whether physical activity has in itself some effect on social behavior. Our research focuses on the potential effects of physical activity on trust and trustworthiness. Specifically, we compare the choices of subjects playing an investment game who were previously exposed to short-time physical activity to others who are not exposed to it, but involved in different simple tasks. On average, we find that subjects exposed to physical activity exhibit more trust and pro-social behaviors than those who are not exposed. These effects are not temporary.
    Date: 2017–11
  3. By: Maia King (Queen Mary University of London (PhD candidate), University of Oxford);
    Abstract: Community enforcement is an important device for sustaining efficiency in some repeated games of cooperation. We investigate cooperation when information about players' reputations spreads to their future partners through links in a social network that connects them. We nd that information supports cooperation by increasing trust between players, and obtain the `radius of trust': an endogenous network listing the potentially cooperative relationships between pairs of players in a community. We identify two aspects of trust, which relate to the network structure in different ways. Where trust depends on the shadow of punishment, players are trusted if others can communicate about them. This is linked to 2-connectedness of the network and the length of cycles within it. Where trust relates to knowledge of a player's type, players are trusting if they are more likely to receive information through their network connections. Both aspects of trust are linked to new centrality measures that we construct from the probabilities of node-to-node information transmission in networks, for which we provide a novel and simple method of calculation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, community enforcement, information transmission, networks, im-perfect private monitoring, repeated games, reputation, trust
    JEL: C73 D83 D85 L14 Z13
    Date: 2017–12–12
  4. By: Casella, Alessandra; Kartik, Navin; Sanchez, Luis; Turban, Sébastien
    Abstract: How much do people lie, and how much do people trust communication when lying is possible? An important step towards answering these questions is understanding how communication is interpreted. This paper establishes in a canonical experiment that competition can alter the shared communication code: the commonly understood meaning of messages. We study a Sender-Receiver game in which the Sender dictates how to share $10 with the Receiver, if the Receiver participates. The Receiver has an outside option and decides whether to participate after receiving a non-binding offer from the Sender. Competition for play between Senders leads to higher offers but has no effect on actual transfers, expected transfers, or Receivers' willingness to play. The higher offers signal that sharing will be equitable without the expectation that they should be followed literally: under competition "6 is the new 5".
    Keywords: Bargaining; cheap talk; Dictator Game; Guilt-aversion; Lying; trust game
    JEL: C9 D64 D83 D9
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: Müller, Stephan; Rau, Holger A.
    Abstract: This paper tests motivational crowding out in the domain of charitable giving. A novelty is that our experiment isolates alternative explanations for the decline of giving such as strategic considerations of decision makers. Moreover, preference elicitation allows us to focus on the reaction of donors characterized by different degrees of intrinsic motivation. In the charitable-giving setting subjects donate money to the German "Red Cross" in two consecutive stages. The first dictator game is modified, i.e., donors face with equal probability an ex post reimbursement or a subsequent pay. The second game is a standard dictator game where we control for the decline of giving. We find that subjects with a high degree of intrinsic motivation, who received a reimbursement, reduce their donations more than four times as much as equally motivated individuals who did not experience a payment.
    Keywords: Altruism,Dictator Game,Experiment,Motivational Crowd Out
    JEL: D02 D03 C91
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Benjamin Ouvrard (UMR INRA – AgroParisTech, Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, 54042 Nancy Cedex, France); Anne Stenger (UMR INRA – AgroParisTech, Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, 54042 Nancy Cedex, France; Department of Economics, BETA-CNRS, University of Strasbourg, 61, avenue de la Forêt Noire 67085 Strasbourg Cedex)
    Abstract: This paper presents a model of voluntary contributions for a local public good, with individuals in a fixed network (complete, circle, line and star), based on the model of Bramoulle and Kranton (2007). We first characterize the equilibrium conditions in the absence of external incentives. We then consider the introduction of an informational nudge (announcement of the socially optimal contribution), both under complete and incomplete information regarding individuals' positions in the network. We show that, regardless of the regulator's level of information, an informational nudge may induce higher levels of aggregate contributions in circle and complete networks, and reduces strategic uncertainty, as long as individuals' sensitivity to the nudge (or their interest in the public good that is provided) is high enough. However, in star and line networks, the level of information available to the contributions or reduce strategic uncertainty. Our main conclusion is therefore that a nudge policy should target specific individuals in specific networks. Moreover, we consider a "second best" nudge for line networks under incomplete information because the socially efficient profile of contributions may be complex to implement in such a situation.
    Keywords: nudge; network, local public goods, information disclosure
    JEL: C72 D83 H41
    Date: 2017–02
  7. By: Alessandra Casarico (Bocconi University, Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management); Mirco Tonin (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, Faculty of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Pay-what-you-want schemes can be a useful tool to finance high quality and independent news media without restricting readership, therefore guaranteeing maximum diffusion. We conduct a field experiment with the Italian information site to explore how to structure a campaign in a way that maximises readers' willingness to contribute. We compare messages stressing two possible motivations to contribute, namely the public good component of the news or the importance of the individual contributions. We also test the effect of including information about the tax allowance associated with donations. While the particular motivation stressed does not have a significant impact, information about tax allowances surprisingly reduces overall donations, due to a reduction in the number of (small) donors. Stable unsubscriptions from the newsletter suggest that the campaign does not have an adverse effect on readers.
    Keywords: Field experiment; Pay-what-you-want; Tax allowances; Media
    JEL: C93 D64 H41
    Date: 2018–03

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