nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒06‒11
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Somatic Distance, Cultural Affinities, Trust and Trade By Jacques Melitz; Farid Toubal
  2. Trust and Disintermediation: Evidence from an Online Freelance Marketplace By Grace Gu; Feng Zhu
  3. Help, Prejudice and Headscarves By Artavia-Mora, Luis; Bedi, Arjun S.; Rieger, Matthias
  4. Using Social Connections and Financial Incentives to Solve Coordination Failure: A Quasi-Field Experiment in India's Manufacturing Sector By Afridi, Farzana; Dhillon, Amrita; Li, Sherry Xin; Sharma, Swati
  5. News Media and Crime Perceptions: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Mastrorocco, Nicola; Minale, Luigi
  6. Spillovers, Persistence and Learning: Institutions and the Dynamics of Cooperation By Emeric Henry; Nicolas Jacquemet; Roberto Galbiati
  7. Ancestral characteristics of modern populations By Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  8. Family formation, gender and labour during the First Globalization in Montevideo, Uruguay By María Camou
  9. Gender Effects in Dictator Game Giving: Women Favour Female Recipients By Maximilian Baltrusch; Philipp Christoph Wichardt
  10. The Impact of Formal Networking on the Performance of SMEs By Davide Vannoni
  11. Social norms and pro-environment behaviours: heterogeneous response to signals By Mikołaj Czajkowski; Katarzyna Zagórska; Nick Hanley

  1. By: Jacques Melitz; Farid Toubal
    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: somatic distance, cultural interactions, trust, language, bilateral trade
    JEL: F10 F40 Z10
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Grace Gu (Harvard Business School); Feng Zhu (Harvard Business School, Technology and Operations Management Unit)
    Abstract: As an intermediary improves trust between two sides of its market to facilitate matching and transactions, it faces an increased risk of disintermediation: with sufficient trust, the two sides may circumvent the intermediary to avoid the intermediary's fees. We investigate the relationship between increased trust and disintermediation by leveraging a randomized control trial on a major online freelance marketplace. Our results show that enhanced trust increases the chance for high-quality freelancers to be hired. When the trust level is sufficiently high, however, it also increases disintermediation, which offsets the revenue gains from the increase in the hiring of high-quality freelancers. We also identify heterogeneity across clients and freelancers in their tendencies to disintermediate.
    Keywords: Disintermediation, Intermediary, Trust, Online Marketplace
    JEL: L14 L86 O33
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Artavia-Mora, Luis (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Bedi, Arjun S. (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Rieger, Matthias (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: This paper employs a natural field experiment in the Netherlands to test whether individuals intuitively help strangers with different group identities. We implement time manipulations in an everyday task to stimulate intuitive versus deliberate decision-making and thereafter examine helpfulness towards a female stranger with in-group (native) or out-group (Muslim) appearance. We find that time delay decreases helping rates. In contrast, regardless of time manipulation, out-group appearance does not influence helping rates. Overall, subjects are intuitively predisposed to help, independent of identity. We discuss our findings with respect to the literature on in-group favoritism and the cognitive origins of human cooperation.
    Keywords: help, cooperation, in-group favoritism, Muslim, dual-process of cognition, natural field experiment, The Netherlands
    JEL: D03 D63 D64
    Date: 2018–04
  4. By: Afridi, Farzana (Indian Statistical Institute); Dhillon, Amrita (King's College London); Li, Sherry Xin (University of Texas at Dallas); Sharma, Swati (Indian Statistical Institute)
    Abstract: Production processes are often organised in teams, yet there is limited evidence on whether and how social connections and financial incentives affect productivity in tasks that require coordination among workers. We simulate assembly line production in a lab-in-the-field experiment in which workers exert real effort in a minimum-effort game in teams whose members are either socially connected or unconnected and are paid according to the group output. We find that group output increases by 15% and wasted individual output is lower by 30% when workers are socially connected with their co-workers. Unlike the findings of existing research, increasing the power of group-based financial incentives does not reduce the positive effect of social connections. Our results are driven by men whose average productivity is significantly lower than that of women. These findings can be explained by pro-social behavior of workers in socially connected teams.
    Keywords: caste-based networks, social incentives, financial incentives, minimum effort game, coordination, trust
    JEL: C93 D20 D22 D24 J33
    Date: 2018–05
  5. By: Mastrorocco, Nicola (Trinity College Dublin); Minale, Luigi (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: In democracies voters rely on media outlets to learn about politically salient issues. This raises an important question: how strongly can media affect public perceptions? This paper uses a natural experiment – the staggered introduction of the Digital TV signal in Italy – to measure the effect of media persuasion on the perceptions individuals hold. We focus on crime perceptions and, combining channel-specific viewership and content data, we show that the reduced exposure to channels characterized by high levels of crime reporting decreases individual concerns about crime. The effect is driven by individuals aged 50 and over, who turn out to be more exposed to television while using other sources of information less frequently. Finally, we provide some evidence about the effect of the digital introduction on public policies closely related to crime perceptions and on voting behavior.
    Keywords: information, news media, persuasion, crime perceptions
    JEL: D72 D83 K42 L82
    Date: 2018–04
  6. By: Emeric Henry (ECON - Département d'économie - Sciences Po); Nicolas Jacquemet (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne); Roberto Galbiati (ECON - Département d'économie - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: We study how cooperation-enforcing institutions dynamically affect values and behavior using a lab experiment designed to create individual specific histories of past institutional exposure. We show that the effect of past institutions is mostly due to " indirect " behavioral spillovers: facing penalties in the past increases partners' cooperation in the past, which in turn positively affects ones' own current behavior. We demonstrate that such indirect spillovers induce persistent effects of institutions. However, for interactions that occur early on, we find a negative effect of past enforcement due to differential learning under different enforcement institutions.
    Keywords: repeated games,persistence of institutions,Laws,social values,cooperation,learning,spillovers,experiments
    Date: 2017–07–01
  7. By: Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
    Abstract: We construct a database, with global coverage, that provides measures of the cultural and environmental characteristics of the pre-industrial ancestors of the world's current populations. In this paper, we describe the construction of the database, including the underlying data, the procedure to produce the estimates, and the structure of the final data. We then provide illustrations of some of the variation in the data and provide an illustration of how the data can be used.
    Keywords: cultural traits; Historical development; Persistence; Political Institutions
    JEL: N00 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2018–05
  8. By: María Camou (Programa de Historia Económica y Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: The aim in this research is to analyse the impact of institutions such as the family for a better comprehension of the status of women in the formation of Uruguayan society. Uruguay was a country with a large contingent of European immigrants who came mainly from Spain, followed by Italy. Although these two countries are not representative of the Western European Marriage Pattern, it will be argued that the immigration process caused a disruption of the original family patterns and led to more unstructured family formation and to weaker family ties and greater predominance of the nuclear family. Weaker family ties characterized by more egalitarian gender and intergenerational relations are supposed to allow for women to take on a less traditional role and stimulate higher female labour force participation. Our results show that the effects of migration cannot only be derived from the specific demographic, cultural and human capital profile of the immigrants, but also indirectly from the consequences of their decision to immigrate in their life courses and labour options.
    Keywords: Uruguay, Family Structure, Labour, Gender, Immigration
    JEL: N36 B54 J21 J12 N96
    Date: 2018–03
  9. By: Maximilian Baltrusch; Philipp Christoph Wichardt
    Abstract: Allowing for a free choice of the recipient’s gender in a dictator game (N = 508), we find that women show a substantial gender biased towards females. Adding a charity recipient to the possible choices, the charity becomes the primary recipient and overall transfers increase. Yet, conditioning on transfers to fellow students the gender bias of women remains. Moreover, we find that women tend more towards giving half the endowment while men tend more towards “all or nothing.” The literature on cognitive dissonance (the feeling of distress once we act against our internalised values) emphasises the importance of voluntary choice for dissonance effects to take hold. Accordingly, we interpret our results as hinting at an important detail regarding the ongoing debate about gender differences in altruistic giving: primary differences may not be found in the amount of transfers made but rather in the choice of the beneficiary’s gender.
    Keywords: dictator game, gender differences, voluntary choice, charitable giving
    JEL: C91 D64
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Davide Vannoni (Department of Economics and Statistics)
    Abstract: Using a large sample of Italian small and medium enterprises (SMEs), we investigate the effect of membership in a formal business network (?contratto di rete?) on firms? economic performance. We find that network participation has a positive effect on value added and exports, but not on profitability. The advantages of networking are stronger in the case of: smaller SMEs, firms operating in traditional and in more turbulent markets, firms located in less developed areas and firms not already exploiting the weaker ties offered by industrial districts. Network characteristics, such as size, geographical dispersion and diversity, are also found to influence performance.
    Keywords: formal business network, small and medium firms, economic performance
    JEL: D22 L25 M21
    Date: 2018–04
  11. By: Mikołaj Czajkowski (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Katarzyna Zagórska (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Nick Hanley (University of Glasgow, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine)
    Abstract: Previous research on pro-environment behaviours demonstrated an effect of communicating social norms to subjects. In this paper, we extend this work by isolating the effects of information about (i) the absolute level (strength) of the norm (ii) its geographic proximity (iii) whether the norm is stated in relative terms. We also show how previous pro-environmental behaviours interact with social norm information. The context is a stated preference choice experiment on recycling behaviours by households in Poland. The main finding to emerge is that social norm effects on preferences seem to be very context-dependent; there is no evidence of generalizable effects which would be useful to policy designers.
    Keywords: recycling, social norms, stated preferences, choice modelling
    JEL: D04 D91 Q51 Q53
    Date: 2018

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