nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒04‒16
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. War and Social Attitudes By Travers Barclay Child; Elena Nikolova
  2. Personal Liberties, Religiosity, and Effort By Joan-Maria Esteban; Gilat Levy; Laura Mayoral
  3. Civility and Trust in Social Media By Antoci, Angelo; Bonelli, Laura; Paglieri, Fabio; Reggiani, Tommaso; Sabatini, Fabio
  4. Social capital, human capital and fertility By Coppier, Raffaella; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
  5. Group Size Effect and Over-Punishment in the Case of Third Party Enforcement of Social Norms By Kamei, Kenju
  6. Do farmers follow the herd? The influence of social norms in the participation to agri-environmental schemes By Philippe Le Coent; Raphaële Preget; Sophie Thoyer
  7. Social limits to redistribution and conspicuous norms By Ferrari, Luca
  8. Do emigrants self-select along cultural traits? Evidence from the MENA countries By Frédéric DOCQUIER; Aysit TANSEL; Riccardo TURATI
  9. Interacting collective action problems in the commons By Nicolas Querou

  1. By: Travers Barclay Child; Elena Nikolova (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies)
    Abstract: We study the long-run effects of conflict on social attitudes, with World War II in Central and Eastern Europe as our setting. Much of earlier work has relied on self-reported measures of victimization, which are prone to endogenous misreporting. With our own survey-based measure, we replicate established findings linking victimization to political participation, civic engagement, optimism, and trust. Those findings are reversed, however, when tested instead with an objective measure of victimization based on historical reference material. Thus, we urge caution when interpreting survey-based results from this literature as causal.
    Keywords: conflict, social attitudes, World War II
    Date: 2017–11
  2. By: Joan-Maria Esteban; Gilat Levy; Laura Mayoral
    Abstract: In this paper we study the role of religiosity in influencing the choice of labor effort. Many religions promote restrictions on personal liberties such as divorce, abortion, gender parity, or gay marriage, often regulated by law. We assume that the higher the degree of religiosity of an individual, the less he enjoys such personal liberties, and the less he likes to be in a society which allows them, while seculars enjoy such liberties. By standard consumer theory, the differential valuation induced by religiosity influences individual decisions on other dimensions as well, notably labour supply. We show empirically that this nexus holds and that the size of the effect is large. Specifically, we construct an index of personal liberties and find solid evidence in support of the joint effect of religiosity and liberties on labor effort. Our empirical results indicate that religiosity interacted with the legal level of liberties has a significant and strong negative effect on labor supply and that increases in the cap on liberties have a negative effect on the labor supply of the religious individuals and positive for the secular.
    Keywords: religiosity, personal liberties, labor supply
    JEL: Z12 J22
    Date: 2018–03
  3. By: Antoci, Angelo; Bonelli, Laura; Paglieri, Fabio; Reggiani, Tommaso; Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: Abstract Social media have been credited with the potential of reinvigorating trust by offering new opportunities for social and political participation. This view has been recently challenged by the rising phenomenon of online incivility, which has made the environment of social networking sites hostile to many users. We conduct a novel experiment in a Facebook setting to study how the effect of social media on trust varies depending on the civility or incivility of online interaction. We find that participants exposed to civil Facebook interaction are significantly more trusting. In contrast, when the use of Facebook is accompanied by the experience of online incivility, no significant changes occur in users' behavior. These results are robust to alternative configurations of the treatments.
    Keywords: social media, Facebook, online incivility, trust, social networks, cooperation, trust game
    JEL: C91 Z0 Z13
    Date: 2018–02–28
  4. By: Coppier, Raffaella; Sabatini, Fabio; Sodini, Mauro
    Abstract: Abstract We develop an overlapping generations model to study how the interplay between social and human capital affects fertility. In a framework where families face a trade-off between the quantity and quality of children, we incorporate the assumption that social capital plays a key role in the accumulation of human capital. We show how the erosion of social capital can trigger a chain of reactions leading households to base their childbearing decisions on quantity, instead of quality, resulting in higher fertility.
    Keywords: fertility, quantity-quality trade-off, human capital, education, social capital, trust
    JEL: I25 J13 Z0 Z13
    Date: 2018–03–11
  5. By: Kamei, Kenju
    Abstract: One of the important topics in public choice is how people’s free-riding behavior could differ by group size in collective action dilemmas. This paper experimentally studies how the strength of third party punishment in a prisoner’s dilemma could differ by the number of third parties in a group. Our data indicate that as the number of third party punishers increases in a group, the average punishment intensity per third party punisher decreases. However, the decrease rate is very mild and therefore the size of total punishment in a group substantially increases with an increase in group size. As a result, third party punishment becomes a sufficient deterrent against a player selecting defection in the prisoner’s dilemma when the number of third party punishers is sufficiently large. Nevertheless, when there are too many third party punishers in a group, a defector’s expected payoff is far lower than that of a cooperator due to strong aggregate punishment, while some cooperators are even hurt through punishment. Therefore, the group incurs a huge efficiency loss. Such over-punishment results from third party punishers’ conditional punishment behaviors: their punishment intensity is positively correlated with their beliefs on the peers’ punitive actions. Some possible ways to coordinate punishment among peers even when group size is very large, thus enabling the efficiency loss to be mitigated, are also discussed in the paper.
    Keywords: experiment, cooperation, third party punishment, dilemma, group size effect
    JEL: C92 D72 H41
    Date: 2018–02–17
  6. By: Philippe Le Coent; Raphaële Preget; Sophie Thoyer
    Abstract: This article analyses the role played by social norms in farmers’ decisions to enroll into an agri-environmental scheme (AES). First, it develops a simple theoretical model highlighting the interplay of descriptive and injunctive norms in farmers’ utility functions. Second, an empirical valuation of the effect of social norms is provided based on the results of a stated preference survey conducted with 98 wine-growers in the South of France. Proxies are proposed to capture and measure the weight of social norms in farmers’ decision to sign an agri-environmental contract. Our empirical results indicate that the injunctive norm seems to play a stronger role than the descriptive norm.
    Date: 2018–01
  7. By: Ferrari, Luca
    Abstract: In this article the author considers an economy in which individuals are matched into pairs and the desirability of an individual depends on her position on the distribution of wealth. The author assumes that individuals show their relative standing by consuming a conspicuous good and he shows that there exist different social norms supporting different matching arrangements. In addition, individuals have to vote over a redistributive policy and the author shows that, despite the desirability of the full redistributive outcomes, under some economic conditions the medium class is able to match with the higher class in exchange of a minimum level of redistribution of wealth which keeps the lower class far from economic and social opportunities.
    Keywords: social status,conspicuous consumption,matching,redistribution of wealth,income inequality,social organizations
    JEL: D11 D31 D62
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Frédéric DOCQUIER (Université Catholique de Louvain); Aysit TANSEL (Middle East Technical University (Turkey)); Riccardo TURATI (IRES - Université Catholique de Louvain)
    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 O15 J61 Z10
    Date: 2018–03
  9. By: Nicolas Querou
    Abstract: We consider a setting where agents are subject to two types of collective action problems, any group user’s individual extraction inducing an externality on others in the same group (intra-group problem), while aggregate extraction in one group induces an externality on each agent in other groups (intergroup problem). One illustrative example of such a setting corresponds to a case where a common-pool resource is jointly extracted in local areas, which are managed by separate groups of individuals extracting the resource in their respective location. The interplay between both types of externality is shown to affect the results obtained in classical models of common-pool resources. We show how the fundamentals affect the individual strategies and welfare compared to the benchmark commons problems. Finally, different initiatives (local cooperation, inter-area agreements) are analyzed to assess whether they may alleviate the problems, and to understand the conditions under which they do so
    Date: 2018–02

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