nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒04‒02
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Recovering Social Networks from Panel Data: Identification, Simulations and an Application By De Paula, Áureo; Rasul, Imran; Souza, Pedro
  2. Gender and Peer Effects on Performance in Social Networks By Julie Beugnot Marie Claire Villeval; Bernard Fortin; Guy Lacroix; Marie Claire Villeval
  3. Was Obama Elected by the Internet? Broadband Diffusion and Voters' Behavior in US Presidential Elections By Valentino Larcinese; Luke Miner
  4. A Social Network Analysis of The Portuguese Connection in Panama Papers By Daniel Barbosa; Nuno Filipe; João Gama
  5. Will Urban Migrants Formally Insure their Rural Relatives? Family Networks and Rainfall Index Insurance in Burkina Faso By Harounan Kazianga; Zaki Wahhaj
  6. Online fundraising, self-image, and the long-term impact of ask avoidance By Adena, Maja; Huck, Steffen
  7. Quality of Judicial Institutions, Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Dishonesty By Naci H. Mocan; Samantha Bielen; Wim Marneffe
  8. Culture, Diversity, and the Welfare State By Klaus Gründler; Sebastian Köllner

  1. By: De Paula, Áureo; Rasul, Imran; Souza, Pedro
    Abstract: It is almost self-evident that social interactions can determine economic behavior and outcomes. Yet, information on social ties does not exist in most publicly available and widely used datasets. We present methods to recover information on the entire structure of social networks from observational panel data that contains no information on social ties between individuals. In the context of a canonical social interactions model, we provide sufficient conditions under which the social interactions matrix, endogenous and exogenous social effect parameters are all globally identified. We describe how high-dimensional estimation techniques can be used to estimate the model based on the Adaptive Elastic Net GMM method. We showcase our method in Monte Carlo simulations using two stylized and two real world network structures. Finally, we employ our method to study tax competition across US states. We find the identified network structure of tax competition differs markedly from the common assumption of tax competition between geographically neighboring states. We analyze the identified social interactions matrix to provide novel insights into the long-standing debate on the relative roles of factor mobility and yardstick competition in driving tax setting behavior across states. Most broadly, our method shows how the analysis of social interactions can be usefully extended to economic realms where no network data exists.
    Date: 2018–03
  2. By: Julie Beugnot Marie Claire Villeval; Bernard Fortin; Guy Lacroix; Marie Claire Villeval
    Abstract: We investigate whether peer effects at work differ by gender and whether gender differences in peer effects -if any- depend on work organization. We develop a social network model with gender heterogeneity that we test in a real-effort laboratory experiment. We compare sequential networks in which information flows from peers to the worker and simultaneous networks where it disseminates bi-directionally. We identify strong gender differences as females disregard their peers’ performance in simultaneous networks, while males are influenced by peers in both networks. Females may perceive the environment in simultaneous networks as being more competitive than in sequential networks.
    Keywords: Gender, Peer effects, Social Networks, Work effort, Experiments
    JEL: C91 J16 J24 J31 M52
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Valentino Larcinese; Luke Miner
    Abstract: What are the political consequences of the diffusion of broadband internet? We address this question by studying the 2008 US presidential election, the first political campaign where the internet played a key role. Drawing on data from the FEC and the FCC, we provide robust evidence that internet penetration in US counties is associated with an increase in turnout, an increase in campaign contributions to the Democrats and an increase in the share of Democratic vote. We then propose an IV strategy to deal with potential endogeneity concerns: we exploit geographic discontinuities along state borders with different right-of-way laws, which constitute the main determinant of the cost of building new infrastructure. IV estimates confirm a positive impact of broadband diffusion on turnout, while the pro-Democratic Party effect of the internet appears to be less robust.
    Keywords: internet diffusion, political economy of the media, United States elections, turnout, campaign contributions
    JEL: D72 L86
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Daniel Barbosa (NOS); Nuno Filipe (Lipor); João Gama (FEP)
    Abstract: Panama Papers refers to a recent scandal of fraudulent financial transactions. This paper presents an economic network analysis of Portuguese companies and individuals with connections to offshore companies. Using Social Network Analysis techniques was possible to characterize the level of connections, the number of communities and the actors that play a central role in the network. We were able to assess the Portuguese network and identify its central actors of the network, i.e., companies with high influence in the network, in which any eventual investigation of legal compliance by Portuguese authorities should be focused on.
    Keywords: Panama Papers; Social Network Analysis; Offshores; Money Laundering
    JEL: D85
    Date: 2017–08
  5. By: Harounan Kazianga; Zaki Wahhaj
    Abstract: We present findings from a pilot study exploring whether and how existing ties between urban migrants and rural farmers may be used to provide the latter improved access to formal insurance. Urban migrants in Ouagadougou (the capital of Burkina Faso) originating from nearby villages were offered, at the prevailing market price, a rainfall index insurance product that can potentially protect their rural relatives from adverse weather shocks. The product had an uptake of 22% during the two-week subscription window. Uptake rates were higher by 17-22 percentage points among urban migrants who were randomly offered an insurance policy that would make pay-outs directly to the intended beneficiary rather than the subscriber. We argue that rainfall index insurance can complement informal risk-sharing networks by mitigating problems of informational asymmetry and self-control issues.
    Keywords: Microinsurance markets; Indexed insurance; Rainfall; Migration; Informal insurance networks
    JEL: O15 O16 G21
    Date: 2018–03
  6. By: Adena, Maja; Huck, Steffen
    Abstract: We provide the first field evidence for the role of pure self-image, independent of social image, in charitable giving. In an online fundraising campaign for a social youth project run on an opera ticket booking platform we document how individ-uals engage in self-deception to preserve their self-image. In addition, we provide evidence on stark adverse long-run effects of the fundraising campaign for ticket sales. “Avoiding the ask,” opera customers who faced more insistent online fund-raising buy fewer tickets in the following season. Our results suggest that fund-raising management should not decide in isolation about their campaigns, even if very successful. Rather broader operational concerns have to be considered.
    Keywords: online fundraising,quasi-experiment,self-image
    JEL: D64 D03 D12 C93 L31
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Naci H. Mocan; Samantha Bielen; Wim Marneffe
    Abstract: We investigate the extent to which the quality of judicial institutions has an impact on individuals’ propensity for criminal and dishonest behavior and on their views regarding the acceptability of dishonesty and law-breaking. We use micro data on residents of 25 European countries and employ alternative measures of judicial quality. Acknowledging that the quality of judicial institutions is endogenous, we employ as an instrument the procedures with which prosecutors and judges are appointed to their posts in each country. The results reveal that an increase in the quality of judicial institutions, such as an improvement in judicial independence or the impartiality of the courts, has a deterrent effect on dishonest and criminal acts. A higher quality judicial system makes individuals less likely to find acceptable a variety dishonest and illicit behaviors, suggesting that institutions help shape the beliefs of the society.
    JEL: H0 J0 K4 K42 P48 Z1
    Date: 2018–03
  8. By: Klaus Gründler; Sebastian Köllner
    Abstract: We show that culture and diversity strongly influence welfare systems around the globe. To disentangle culture from institutions, we employ regional instruments as well as data on the prevalence of the pathogen Toxoplasma Gondii, linguistic differences, and the frequency of blood types. The generosity of the welfare system is higher in countries with loose family ties and individualistic attitudes, high prevalence of trust and tolerance, and low acceptance of unequally distributed power. Apart from their direct effects, these traits also exert indirect impact by influencing the transmission of inequality to redistribution. Finally, we show that redistribution and diversity are linked non-linearly: moderate levels of diversity impede redistribution, while higher levels offset the negative effect.
    Keywords: culture, redistribution, diversity
    JEL: H11 I38 Z10 D31
    Date: 2018

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