nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒05‒14
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Social Capital, Government Expenditures and Growth By Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto; Ugo Troiano
  2. Somatic distance, cultural affinities, trust and trade By Melitz, Jacques; Toubal, Farid
  3. Natural disasters and demand for redistribution: lessons from an earthquake By Gualtieri, Giovanni; Nicolini, Marcella; Sabatini, Fabio; Zamparelli, Luca
  4. The Persistent Power of Promises By Florian Ederer; Frédéric Schneider
  5. Blood Type and Blood Donation Behaviors: An Empirical Test of Pure Altruism Theory By Shusaku Sasaki ,; Yoshifumi Funasaki; Hirofumi Kurokawa; Fumio Ohtake
  6. Altruistic and selfish motivations of charitable giving: The case of the hometown tax donation system (Furusato nozei) in Japan By Yamamura, Eiji; Tsutsui, Yoshiro; Ohtake, Fumio
  7. Family Ties and Children Obesity in Italy By Crudu, F.;; Neri, L.;; Tiezzi, S.;
  8. The effects of official and unofficial information on tax compliance By Garcia, Filomena; Marques, Rafael; Opromolla, Luca David; Vezzulli, Andrea
  9. Gender differences in altruism on Mechanical Turk: Expectations and actual behaviour By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Valerio Capraro; Ericka Rascón Ramírez
  10. Promises Undone: How Committed Pledges Impact Donations to Charity By Toke R. Fosgaard; Adriaan (A.R.) Soetevent
  11. Social Accountability and Service Delivery: Experimental Evidence from Uganda By Nathan Fiala; Patrick Premand
  12. Some Notes on the Concept of Social Capital: A Review of Perspectives, Definitions and Measurement By Motkuri, Venkatanarayana
  13. More Opportunity, More Cooperation? The Behavioral Effects of Birthright Citizenship on Immigrant Youth By Christina Felfe; Martin G. Kocher; Helmut Rainer; Judith Saurer; Thomas Siedler
  14. Digit ratio (2D:4D) predicts pro-social behavior in economic games only for unsatisfied individuals By Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
  15. Pre-release leaks as one-time incentives for switching to unauthorised sources of cultural content By Wojciech Hardy

  1. By: Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto; Ugo Troiano
    Abstract: This paper shows that social capital increases economic growth by raising government investment in human capital. We present a model of stochastic endogenous growth with imperfect political agency. Only some people correctly anticipate the future returns to current spending on public education. Greater social diffusion of information makes this knowledge more widespread among voters. As a result, we find it alleviates myopic political incentives to underinvest in human capital, and it helps the selection of politicians that ensure high productivity in public education. Through this mechanism, we show that social capital raises the equilibrium growth rate of output and reduces its volatility. We provide evidence consistent with the predictions of our model. Individuals with higher social capital are more informed about their government. Countries with higher social capital spend a higher share of output on public education.
    JEL: D72 D83 H4 H52 I22 I25 O43 Z13
    Date: 2018–04
  2. By: Melitz, Jacques; Toubal, Farid
    Abstract: Somatic distance, or differences in physical appearance, proves to be extremely important in the gravity model of bilateral trade in conformity with results in other areas of economics and outside of it in the social sciences. This is also true quite independently of survey evidence about bilateral trust. These findings are obtained in a sample of the 15 members of the European Economic Association in 1996. Robustness tests also show that somatic distance has a more reliable influence on bilateral trade than the other cultural variables. The article finally discusses the interpretation and the breadth of application of these results.
    Keywords: Bilateral Trade; Cultural interactions; Language; Somatic distance; Trust
    JEL: F10 F40 Z10
    Date: 2018–04
  3. By: Gualtieri, Giovanni; Nicolini, Marcella; Sabatini, Fabio; Zamparelli, Luca
    Abstract: Abstract The literature shows that when a society believes that wealth is determined by random “luck” rather than by merit, it demands more redistribution. Adverse shocks, like earthquakes, strengthen the belief that random “bad luck” can frustrate the outcomes achieved with merit. We theoretically illustrate that individuals react to such shocks by raising support for redistribution. We then present evidence of this behavior by exploiting a natural experiment provided by one of the strongest seismic events that occurred in Italy in the last three decades, the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009. We assemble a novel dataset by matching information on the ground acceleration registered throughout the National Strong Motion Network during the earthquake with survey data about individual opinions on redistribution collected a few months later. The empirical analysis illustrates that the intensity of the shakes is associated with subsequent stronger beliefs that, for a society to be fair, income inequalities should be levelled by redistribution.
    Keywords: fairness; redistribution; inequality; natural disasters; earthquakes
    JEL: D63 D69 H10 H53 Z1
    Date: 2018–05–01
  4. By: Florian Ederer (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Frédéric Schneider (Yale School of Management)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the passage of time affects trust, trustworthiness, and cooperation. We use a hybrid lab and online experiment to provide the first evidence for the persistent power of communication. Even when 3 weeks pass between messages and actual choices, communication raises cooperation, trust, and trustworthiness by about 50 percent. Lags between the beginning of the interaction and the time to respond do not substantially alter trust or trustworthiness. Our results further suggest that the findings of the large experimental literature on trust that focuses on laboratory scenarios in which subjects are forced to choose their actions immediately after communicating, may translate to more ecologically valid settings in which individuals choose actions outside the lab and long after they initially made promises.
    Keywords: Trust, Promises, Persistence, Trustworthiness, Delay, Experiment
    JEL: A13 C91 D03 C72 D64 K12
    Date: 2018–04
  5. By: Shusaku Sasaki ,; Yoshifumi Funasaki; Hirofumi Kurokawa; Fumio Ohtake
    Abstract: We examined whether the knowledge that your private donation has a large number of potential recipients causes you to give more or less. We found that the people with blood type O are more likely to have donated blood than those with other blood types, by using a Japan’s nationally representative survey. This association was found to be stronger in a subsample of individuals who knew and believed that blood type O can be medically transfused into individuals of all blood groups. However, we found that blood type O does not have any significant relationship with the other altruistic behaviors (registration for bone-marrow donation, intention to donate organs, and the making of monetary donations) and altruistic characteristics (altruism, trust, reciprocity, and cooperativeness). After further analyses, we confirmed that the wider number of potential recipients of blood type O donations promoted the blood-donation behaviors of the people with this blood type.
    Date: 2018–05
  6. By: Yamamura, Eiji; Tsutsui, Yoshiro; Ohtake, Fumio
    Abstract: This study analyzes the altruistic and selfish motivations of charitable giving in the context of Japan’s hometown tax donation system, whereby people can donate to municipalities where they do not live and receive reciprocal gifts, using local government-level panel data for 2008–2015. We find that the Great East Japan earthquake led to an increase in donations through the system for municipalities with disaster victims, reflecting altruistic motivation. Furthermore, a 1% increase in gift expenditure for donors leads to 0.61% increase in donations, suggesting selfish motivation. Gift provision reduces altruistic donation by nearly 300%, compared with no such provision.
    Keywords: Altruism; Hometown tax donation; Self-interest; Redistribution.
    JEL: H2 H23 Z18
    Date: 2018–04–12
  7. By: Crudu, F.;; Neri, L.;; Tiezzi, S.;
    Abstract: This paper estimates the influence of overweight family members on weight outcomes of Italian children aged 6 to 14 years. We use a new dataset matching the 2012 cross sections of the Italian Multipurpose Household Survey and the Household Budget Survey. Endogenous peer groups within the family are accounted for using a set of instrumental variables. We find evidence of a strong, positive effect of both overweight adults and peer children in the family on children weight outcomes. The impact of overweight peer children in the household is larger than the impact of adults. These findings can help identifying the main factors driving the rise in Italian children obesity in the past few decades.
    Keywords: children obesity; family ties; IV probit; heteroskedasticity;
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2018–04
  8. By: Garcia, Filomena; Marques, Rafael; Opromolla, Luca David; Vezzulli, Andrea
    Abstract: The administration of tax policy has shifted its focus from enforcement to complementary instruments 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 randomly 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 compliant 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: Experiment; Information; peer effects; tax evasion; Tax morale
    JEL: C24 C92 D63 H26 Z13
    Date: 2018–04
  9. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Loyola Andalucia University); Valerio Capraro (Middlesex University); Ericka Rascón Ramírez (Middlesex University)
    Abstract: Whether or not there are gender differences in altruistic behavior in Dictator Game experiments has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Earlier studies found women to be more altruistic than men. However, this conclusion has been challenged by more recent accounts, which have argued that gender differences in altruistic behaviour may be a peculiarity of student samples and may not extend to random samples. Here we study gender differences in altruistic behavior and, additionally, in expectations of altruistic behaviour, in a sample of Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdworkers living in the US. In Study 1, we report a mega-analysis of more than 3,500 observations and we show that women are significantly more altruistic than men. In Study 2, we show that both women and men expect women to be more altruistic than men.
    Date: 2018–02
  10. By: Toke R. Fosgaard (University of Copenhagen); Adriaan (A.R.) Soetevent (University of Groningen; Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands)
    Abstract: The declining use of cash in society urges charities to experiment with digital payment instruments in their off-line fund raising activities. Cash and card payments differ in that the latter do not require individuals to donate at the time of the ask, disconnecting the decision to give from the act of giving. Evidence shows that people who say they will give mostly do not follow through. Our theory shows that having people to formally state the intended amount may alleviate this problem. We report on a field experiment the results of which show that donors who have pledged an amount are indeed more likely to follow through. The firmer the pledge, the more closely the amount donated matches the amount that was pledged. 45% of all participants however refuses to pledge. This proves that donors value flexibility over commitment in intertemporal charitable giving.
    Keywords: Charitable fundraising; Field experiment; Image motivation
    JEL: C93 D64 D91 H41
    Date: 2018–05–04
  11. By: Nathan Fiala (University of Connecticut); Patrick Premand (World Bank)
    Abstract: Corruption and mismanagement of public resources can affect the quality of government services and undermine growth. Can citizens in poor communities be empowered to demand better-quality public investments? We look at whether providing social accountability training and information on project performance can lead to improvements in local development projects. The program we study is unique in its size and integration in a national program. We find that offering communities a combination of training and information on project quality leads to significant improvements in household welfare. However, providing either social accountability training or project quality information by itself has no welfare effect. These results are concentrated in areas that are reported by local officials as more corrupt or mismanaged, suggesting local agents have significant information about where corruption and mismanagement is worse. We show evidence that the impacts come in part from community members increasing their monitoring of local projects, making more complaints to local and central officials and increasing cooperation. We also find modest improvements in people’s trust in the central government. The results suggest that government-led, large-scale social accountability programs can strengthen communities’ ability to address corruption and mismanagement as well as improve services.
    Keywords: Social accountability; community training; scorecards; corruption; service delivery
    JEL: D7 H4 O1
    Date: 2018–04
  12. By: Motkuri, Venkatanarayana
    Abstract: This paper delves into various perspectives – philosophical, sociological, economic and financial / business or oganisational - in literature on the concept of social capital. It presents a review of the definitions in broad literature categorised under various perspectives. While doing so, the focus ultimately narrowed down to definitions of social capital in business or organisational studies.
    Keywords: Social Capital
    JEL: A14 M10 M51 Z13
    Date: 2018–04
  13. By: Christina Felfe; Martin G. Kocher; Helmut Rainer; Judith Saurer; Thomas Siedler
    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..
    JEL: C93 D90 J15
    Date: 2018
  14. By: Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Espín, Antonio M.; Garcia, Teresa; Kovářík, Jaromír
    Abstract: Prenatal exposure to hormones, and to sex hormones in particular, exerts organizational effects on the brain and these have observable behavioral correlates in adult life. There are reasons to expect that social behaviors—which are fundamental for the evolutionary success of humans—might be related to biological factors such as prenatal sex hormone exposure. Nevertheless, the existing literature is inconclusive as to whether and how prenatal exposure to testosterone and estrogen, proxied by the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D), may predict non-selfish behavior. Here, we investigate this question using economic experiments with real monetary stakes and analyzing five different dimensions of social behavior in a comparatively large sample of Caucasian participants (n=560). For both males and females, our results show no robust association between right- or left-hand 2D:4D and generosity, bargaining, or trust-related behaviors. Since 2D:4D is thought to be a marker for status, we set-up and test the hypothesis that 2D:4D explains prosocial behavior only for people with low subjective wellbeing who are in need for status. Using two different measures of subjective wellbeing, we find considerable support for our hypothesis, especially among males. These results contribute to the debate regarding the context-dependent interpretation of the effect of prenatal hormone exposure on behavior by suggesting that important moderating factors may explain the differing results in the literature. In particular, we uncover the importance of accounting for the subjective nature of need for status, which has been largely overlooked in previous work.
    Keywords: Social Preferences, Economic Games, Digit Ratio, Life Satisfaction
    JEL: C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2018–04–10
  15. By: Wojciech Hardy
    Abstract: Pre-release leaks of cultural content incentivise consumers to look for unauthorised sources. I find that such events may induce some television viewers to switch to unauthorised sources to gain access even to content that had not been leaked. To demonstrate that this is the case, I use a unique dataset on a sample of TV shows aired around the time of a pre-release leak of a very popular TV show (Game of Thrones). The results of a difference-in-differences analysis indicate that the leaked TV show lost viewership for both the leaked episodes and those that followed. Moreover, the event also had negative effects for other TV shows that may share an audience with the leaked show. Finally, my results for the shows with a shared audience are corroborated by evidence of an increase in Google searches for phrases including the show names and the words “watch online”, after the leak. I argue that the one-time incentive to use unauthorised sources caused some viewers to engage in unauthorised consumption even of shows not affected directly by the leak. These conclusions are consistent with the existence of one-time costs of switching channels of content acquisition.
    Keywords: file-sharing, copyright, intellectual property rights, tv, piracy, Game of Thrones
    JEL: D12 K42 L82 O34 Z11
    Date: 2018–04

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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