nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒04‒30
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Women, Rails and Telegraphs: An Empirical Study of Information Diffusion and Collective Action By Camilo García-Jimeno; Angel Iglesias; Pinar Yildirim
  2. More Opportunity, More Cooperation? The Behavioral Effects of Birthright Citizenship on Immigrant Youth By Felfe, Christina; Kocher, Martin; Rainer, Helmut; Saurer, Judith; Siedler, Thomas
  3. The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States By Mayda, Anna Maria; Peri, Giovanni; Steingress, Walter
  4. Conformism, Social Norms and the Dynamics of Assimilation By Olcina, Gonzalo; Panebianco, Fabrizio; Zenou, Yves
  5. Social Interactions and Stigmatized Behavior: "Donating" Blood Plasma in Rural China By Chen, Xi; Sahn, David E.; Zhang, Xiaobo
  6. Media Coverage and Immigration Worries: Econometric Evidence By Christine Benesch; Simon Loretz; David Stadelmann; Tobias Thomas
  7. Anti-Muslim Discrimination in France: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Valfort, Marie-Anne
  8. The Hearts, Minds, and Sentiments: The Volunteers Program in the Immunization Program in Bangladesh and the Chagas Diseases Control Project of Honduras By Naoko Ueada
  9. The Effects of Official and Unofficial Information on Tax Compliance By Filomena Garcia; Luca David Opromolla; Andrea Vezzulli; Rafael Marques
  10. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Bertrand, Marianne; Cortes, Patricia; Olivetti, Claudia; Pan, Jessica
  11. Family Structure and the Turnout Gender Gap: Evidence from Italy By Bellettini, Giorgio; Ceroni, Carlotta Berti; Cantoni, Enrico; Monfardini, Chiara
  12. A Community Based Program Promotes Sanitation By Alzúa, María Laura; Djebbari, Habiba; Pickering, Amy J.

  1. By: Camilo García-Jimeno; Angel Iglesias; Pinar Yildirim
    Abstract: How do social interactions shape collective action, and how are they mediated by the availability of networked information technologies? To answer these questions, we study the Temperance Crusade, one of the earliest instances of organized political mobilization by women in the U.S. This wave of protest activity against liquor dealers spread between the winter of 1873 and the summer of 1874, covering more than 800 towns in 29 states. We first provide causal evidence of social interactions driving the diffusion of the protest wave, and estimate the roles played by information traveling along railroad and telegraph networks. We do this by relying on exogenous variation in the rail network links generated by railroad worker strikes and railroad accidents. We also develop an event-study methodology to estimate the complementarity between rail and telegraph networks in driving the spread of the Crusade. We find that railroad and telegraph-mediated information about neighboring protest activity were main drivers of the diffusion of the protest movement. We also find strong complementarities between both networks. Using variation in the types of protest activities of neighboring towns and in the aggregate patterns of the diffusion process, we also find suggestive evidence of social learning as a key mechanism behind the effect of information on protest adoption.
    JEL: D71 D83 N11 N31 N71 O18 Z12
    Date: 2018–04
  2. By: Felfe, Christina (University of St. Gallen, CESifo); Kocher, Martin (University of Vienna, IHS Vienna, University of Gothenburg); Rainer, Helmut (University of Munich, ifo Institute, CESifo); Saurer, Judith (ifo Institute); Siedler, Thomas (Universitaet Hamburg)
    Abstract: Inequality of opportunity, particularly when overlaid with racial, ethnic, or cultural differences, increases the social distance between individuals, which is widely believed to limit the scope of cooperation. A central question, then, is how to bridge such divides. We study the effects of a major citizenship reform in Germany — the introduction of birthright citizenship on January 1, 2000 — in terms of inter-group cooperation and social segregation between immigrant and native youth. We hypothesize that endowing immigrant children with citizenship rights levels the playing field between them and their native peers, with possible spill-overs into the domain of social interactions. Our unique setup connects a large-scale lab-in-the-field experiment based on the investment game with the citizenship reform by exploiting the quasi-random assignment of citizenship rights around its cut-off date. Immigrant youth born prior to the reform display high levels of cooperation toward other immigrants, but low levels of cooperation toward natives. The introduction of birthright citizenship caused male, but not female, immigrants to significantly increase their cooperativeness toward natives. This effect is accompanied by a near-closure of the educational achievement gap between young immigrant men and their native peers.
    Keywords: Citizenship, immigration, trust, experiment
    JEL: C93 D90 J15
    Date: 2018–04
  3. By: Mayda, Anna Maria; Peri, Giovanni; Steingress, Walter
    Abstract: In this paper we study the impact of immigration to the United States on the vote for the Republican Party by analyzing county-level data on election outcomes between 1990 and 2010. Our main contribution is to separate the effect of high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants, by exploiting the different geography and timing of the inflows of these two groups of immigrants. We find that an increase in the first type of immigrants decreases the share of the Republican vote, while an inflow of the second type increases it. These effects are mainly due to the local impact of immigrants on votes of U.S. citizens and they seem independent of the country of origin of immigrants. We also find that the pro-Republican impact of low-skilled immigrants is stronger in low-skilled and non-urban counties. This is consistent with citizens' political preferences shifting towards the Republican Party in places where low-skilled immigrants are more likely to be perceived as competition in the labor market and for public resources.
    Keywords: Economic and Fiscal Channels; Electoral Effects; Immigration; Republican Party
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2018–04
  4. By: Olcina, Gonzalo (Universidad de Valencia); Panebianco, Fabrizio (Bocconi University); Zenou, Yves (Monash University)
    Abstract: We consider a model where each individual (or ethnic minority) is embedded in a network of relation-ships and decides whether or not she wants to be assimilated to the majority norm. Each individual wants her behavior to agree with her personal ideal action or norm but also wants her behavior to be as close as possible to the average assimilation behavior of her peers. We show that there is always convergence to a steady-state and characterize it. We also show that different assimilation norms may emerge in steady state depending on the structure of the network. We then consider the role of cultural and government leaders in the assimilation process of ethnic minorities and an optimal tax/subsidy policy which aim is to reach a certain level of assimilation in the population.
    Keywords: assimilation, networks, social norms, peer pressure, cultural leader
    JEL: D83 D85 J15 Z13
    Date: 2018–03
  5. By: Chen, Xi (Yale University); Sahn, David E. (Cornell University); Zhang, Xiaobo (Peking University)
    Abstract: Despite the resultant disutility, some people, in particular, the poor, are engaged in behaviors that carry social stigma. Empirical studies on stigmatized behavior are rare, largely due to the formidable challenges of collecting data on stigmatized goods and services. In this paper, we add to this limited empirical evidence by examining the behavior of "donating" blood plasma in exchange for cash rewards in China. We do so using two primary data sets: the first is a three-wave, census‐type household survey that enables us to examine the evolving patterns and determinants of "donating" plasma. The second is data on detailed gift exchange records of all households. The data allow us to define reference groups, measure the intensity of social interactions, and identify peer effects using a novel network structure‐based instrumental variable strategy. We find that peer effects influence decisions to "donate" plasma. For example, a one‐standard‐deviation increase in income from "donating" plasma in the peer group increases the value of own plasma "donation" by 0.15 standard deviations. Families with sons have more incentives to "donate" plasma to offset the escalated costs of getting their sons married in a tight marriage market that favors girls.
    Keywords: social stigma, social networks, peer influence, plasma "donation", China
    JEL: O1 Z1 R2 D8
    Date: 2018–03
  6. By: Christine Benesch; Simon Loretz; David Stadelmann; Tobias Thomas
    Abstract: This paper empirically explores the link between mass media coverage of migration and immigration worries. Using detailed data on media coverage in Germany, we show that the amount of media reports regarding migration issues is positively associated with concerns about immigration among the German population. The association is robust to the inclusion of time-variant individual control variables and individual fixed-effects. We employ media spillovers from the neighboring country of Switzerland, which occur due to referendum decisions on immigration as an instrumental variable to address endogeneity concerns. The IV estimates suggest that media coverage has a causal impact on immigration worries. Exploring heterogeneous effects between respondents, the results reveal that the link between media reports and immigration worries is particularly relevant for women and respondents active in the workforce.
    Keywords: media; migration; news spillovers; political attitudes
    JEL: L8 D7 F2
    Date: 2018–04
  7. By: Valfort, Marie-Anne (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Relying on a correspondence study conducted in France before the 2015 attacks, this paper compares the callback rates of immigrants of Muslim and Christian culture who originate from the same country and whose religiosity varies from non-religious to religious. Based on responses to over 6,200 job ads, the results reveal an insignificant disadvantage for Muslims when they are not religious. However, Muslims lose further ground when they are religious, while the reverse occurs for Christians. Consequently, religious Muslims must submit twice as many applications as religious Christians before being called back by the recruiters. A follow-up survey confirms that the signal used to convey fictitious applicants' religiosity is not only viewed as relevant but that it is also correctly interpreted by employers.
    Keywords: religion, religiosity, Islam, discrimination, France, correspondence study
    JEL: C93 J15 J71 Z12
    Date: 2018–03
  8. By: Naoko Ueada
    Abstract: This paper argues that the work of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) brought about sustained developments in social capital in the host communities and contributed to motivating people to change their individual behavior. A mixed-methods approach using semi-structured interviews and surveys was used to examine how Volunteers worked to instill “norms”, “trust,” and affect changes of “sentiment” among people in two developing countries, Bangladesh and Honduras. Specifically, the paper is concerned with the activities undertaken by the JOCV within the Polio Control/EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization) programs in Bangladesh from 1999 to 2015, and the Chagas Disease Vector Control program carried out in Honduras from 2003 to 2011. The key findings of the study include: In Bangladesh, the JOCV contributed to improving the motivation of field workers, demonstrating that their “trust” for enlarging the acceptance of vaccinations has increased as a result of their work; this then resulted in vaccinations becoming the new “norm” for the community. In this respect, the increased “trust” and changing “norms” contributed to the 2004 polio free declaration in the country by altering social capital. In Honduras, the JOCV promoted the creation of an “exchange of responses” between health administrations and communities by stimulating the intrinsic motivation of the people concerned and generating positive sentiment among them. As a result, three common “sentiments” were identified among local Community Health Volunteers: happiness, a sense of achievement, and pride. This indicates that the JOCV created and altered social capital that supported self-sustained vector control.In both Bangladesh and Honduras, the Volunteers accompanied their local colleagues during fieldwork, spoke the same language, and shared common successes and failures. Cooperation between JOCV and local colleagues was an important factor in altering the hearts, minds, and sentiments of the local partners and communities, and contributed to the achievement of the important goal of disease control. This paper argues that more attention should be focused on the heart, mind, and sentimental aspects of the individual aid workers.
    Keywords: Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), social capital, sentiment, Polio/Expanded Program on Immunization, Chagas Disease Control
    Date: 2018–03
  9. By: Filomena Garcia (Indiana University, and UECE); Luca David Opromolla (Banco de Portugal, CEPR, CESifo, and UECE); Andrea Vezzulli (University of Insubria); Rafael Marques (ISEG-School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: The administration of tax policy has shifted its focus from enforcement to complementary instru-ments aimed at creating a social norm of tax compliance. In this paper we provide an analysis of the effects of the dissemination of information regarding the past degree of tax evasion at the social level on the current individual tax compliance behavior. We build an experiment where, for given levels of audit probabilities, fines and tax rates, subjects have to declare their income after receiving either a communication of the official average tax evasion rate or a private message from a group of ran-domly matched peers about their tax behavior. We use the experimental data to estimate a dynamic econometric model of tax evasion. The econometric model extends the Allingham–Sandmo–Yitzhaki tax evasion model to include self-consistency and endogenous social interactions among taxpayers. We find four main results. First, tax compliance is very persistent. Second, the higher the official past tax evasion rate the higher the degree of persistence: evaders are more likely to evade again, and compli-ant individuals are more likely to comply again. Third, when all peers communicate to have evaded (complied) in the past, both evaders and compliant individuals are more likely to evade (comply). Fourth, while both treatments, and especially the unofficial information treatment, are associated, in the context of our experiment, with a significantly larger growth in evasion intensity, the aggregate effect depends on the characteristics of the population. In countries with inherently low levels of tax evasion, official information can have beneficial effects by consolidating the behavior of compliant individuals. However, in countries with inherently high levels of tax evasion, official information can have detrimental effects by intensifying the behavior of evaders. In both cases, the impact of official information is magnified in the presence of strong peer effects.
    Keywords: Tax morale, Information, Tax evasion, Experiment, Peer Effects
    Date: 2018–04
  10. By: Bertrand, Marianne (University of Chicago); Cortes, Patricia (Boston University); Olivetti, Claudia (Boston College); Pan, Jessica (National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: In most of the developed world, skilled women marry at a lower rate than unskilled women. We document heterogeneity across countries in how the marriage gap for skilled women has evolved over time. As labor market opportunities for women have improved, the marriage gap has been growing in some countries but shrinking in others. We discuss the comparative statics of a theoretical model in which the (negative) social attitudes toward working women might contribute to the lower marriage rate of skilled women, and might also induce a non-monotonic relationship between their labor market prospects and their marriage outcomes. The model delivers predictions about how the marriage gap for skilled women should react to changes in their labor market opportunities across economies with more or less conservative attitudes toward working women. We verify the key predictions of this model in a panel of 26 developed countries, as well as in a panel of US states.
    Keywords: social norms, marriage gap, labor market opportunities
    JEL: J12 J16
    Date: 2018–03
  11. By: Bellettini, Giorgio (University of Bologna); Ceroni, Carlotta Berti (University of Bologna); Cantoni, Enrico (University of Bologna); Monfardini, Chiara (University of Bologna)
    Abstract: We study the effects of changes in household structure–marriage, divorce, widowhood, and the presence of children of different ages–on individual-level voter turnout. To this end, we assemble a unique voter-level panel dataset spanning four elections in a large Italian municipality. The data merge information from administrative voter rolls, the civil register, and income tax files. Differences-in-differences estimates accounting for voter fixed effects reveal sizable effects of marital status and children on voter participation. Impact estimates are significantly different across genders and are not explained by socio-economic characteristics. To show that changes in voter participation do not predate changes in family structure, we use an event-study approach that is rare in micro-econometric studies of voter turnout. Lastly, we explore possible mechanisms using pooled cross-sectional data from the Italian National Election Studies and the ISTAT Aspects of Daily Life surveys. Our results shed new light on the importance of life-course transitions and their gender-heterogeneous effects as key drivers of voter turnout.
    Keywords: voter turnout, life-cycle transitions, household structure, gender gap
    JEL: D1
    Date: 2018–03
  12. By: Alzúa, María Laura (Universidad Nacional de la Plata); Djebbari, Habiba (Université Laval); Pickering, Amy J. (Tufts University)
    Abstract: Basic sanitation facilities are still lacking in large parts of the developing world, engendering serious environmental health risks. Interventions commonly deliver in-kind or cash subsidies to promote private toilet ownership. In this paper, we assess an intervention that provides information and behavioral incentives to encourage villagers in rural Mali to build and use basic latrines. Using an experimental research design and carefully measured indicators of use, we find a sizeable impact from this intervention: latrine ownership and use almost doubled in intervention villages, and open defecation was reduced by half. Our results partially attribute these effects to increased knowledge about cheap and locally available sanitation solutions. They are also associated with shifts in the social norm governing sanitation. Taken together, our findings, unlike previous evidence from other contexts, suggest that a progressive approach that starts with ending open defecation and targets whole communities at a time can help meet the new Sustainable Development Goal of ending open defecation.
    Keywords: sanitation, behavioral change, community-based intervention, social norm
    JEL: Q53 Q58 D78
    Date: 2018–03

This nep-soc issue is ©2018 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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