nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒08‒27
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Narratives, Imperatives and Moral Reasoning By Roland Bènabou; Armin Falk; Jean Tirole
  2. Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali By Bonan, Jacopo; Battiston, Pietro; Bleck, Jaimie; LeMay-Boucher, Philippe; Pareglio, Stefano; Sarr, Bassirou; Tavoni, Massimo
  3. The Economic Value of Trust By Newman, Claire; Briggeman, Brian C.
  4. Testing for Peer Effects Using Genetic Data By Cawley, J.;; Han, E.;; Kim, J.;; Norton, E.C.;
  5. The Role of Institutions and Networks in Firms' Offshoring Decisions By Moriconi, Simone; Peri, Giovanni; Pozzoli, Dario
  6. Inequality, Social Distance, and Giving By Nicolas J. Duquette; Enda Hargaden
  7. Saying and doing gender: intergenerational transmission of attitudes towards the sexual division of labour By Platt, Lucinda; Polavieja, Javier
  8. Deep-Rooted Culture and Economic Development: Taking the Seven Deadly Sins to Build A Well-Being Composite Indicator By Luis Cesar Herrero-Prieto; Ivan Boal-San Miguel; Mafalda Mafalda Gomez-Vega
  9. Fear, populism, and the geopolitical landscape: The “sleeper effect” of neurotic personality traits on regional voting behavior in the 2016 Brexit and Trump votes By Obschonka, Martin; Stuetzer, Michael; Rentfrow, Peter J.; Lee, Neil; Gosling, Samuel D.; Schmitt-Rodermund, Eva
  10. Employees’ Uses of Social Network Sites: Individualised Private and Professional Dimensions By Karine Roudaut; Nicolas Jullien
  11. Immigrant Voters, Taxation and the Size of the Welfare State By Arnaud Chevalier; Benjamin Elsner; Andreas Lichter; Nico Pestel
  12. Restoring Trust in Finance: From Principal-Agent to Principled Agent By Gordon Menzies; Thomas Simpson; Donald Hay; David Vines

  1. By: Roland Bènabou (Princeton University); Armin Falk (University of Bonn); Jean Tirole (Toulouse School of Economics)
    Abstract: By downplaying externalities, magnifying the cost of moral behavior, or suggesting not being pivotal, exculpatory narratives can allow individuals to maintain a positive image when in fact acting in a morally questionable way. Conversely, responsibilizing narratives can help sustain better social norms. We investigate when narratives emerge from a principal or the actor himself, how they are interpreted and transmitted by others, and when they spread virally. We then turn to how narratives compete with imperatives (general moral rules or precepts) as alternative modes of communication to persuade agents to behave in desirable ways.
    Keywords: moral behavior, prosocial behavior, narratives, imperatives, justifications, rules, Kantian reasoning, deontology, consequentialism, utilitarianism, norms, organizations
    JEL: D62 D64 D78 D83 D85 D91 H41 K42 L14 Z13
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Bonan, Jacopo; Battiston, Pietro; Bleck, Jaimie; LeMay-Boucher, Philippe; Pareglio, Stefano; Sarr, Bassirou; Tavoni, Massimo
    Abstract: We investigate the role of social interaction in technology adoption by conducting a field experiment in neighborhoods of Bamako. We invited women to attend a training/marketing session, where information on a more efficient cooking stove was provided and the chance to purchase the product at market price was offered. We randomly provided an information nudge on a peer’s willingness to buy an improved cookstove. We find that women purchase and use the product more when they receive information on a peer who purchased (or previously owned) the product, particularly if she is viewed as respected. In general, we find positive direct and spillover effects of attending the session. We also investigate whether social interaction plays a role in technology diffusion. We find that women who participated in the session, but did not buy during the intervention, are more likely to adopt the product when more women living around them own it. We investigate the mechanisms and provide evidence supporting imitation effects, rather than social learning or constraint interaction.
    Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies
    Date: 2017–09–25
  3. By: Newman, Claire; Briggeman, Brian C.
    Keywords: Labor and Human Capital, Public Economics
    Date: 2016–11–02
  4. By: Cawley, J.;; Han, E.;; Kim, J.;; Norton, E.C.;
    Abstract: This paper tests for peer effects in obesity in a novel way. It addresses the reflection problem by using the alter’s genetic risk score for obesity, which is a significant predictor of obesity, is determined prior to birth, and cannot be affected by the behavior of others. It addresses the endogeneity of peer group formation by examining peers who are not self-selected: full siblings. We find evidence of positive peer effects in weight and obesity; having a sibling with a high genetic predisposition to obesity raises one’s risk of obesity, even controlling for one’s own genetic predisposition to obesity.
    Keywords: peer effects; obesity; genetics;
    JEL: I1 I12 I18 D1 J1 Z18
    Date: 2018–08
  5. By: Moriconi, Simone; Peri, Giovanni; Pozzoli, Dario (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: The offshoring of production by multinational firms has expanded dramatically in recent decades, increasing the potential for economic growth and technological transfers. What determines the location of such offshore production? How do the policies and characteristics of countries affect these decisions? Do firms choose specific countries because of their policies or because they are more familiar with them? In this paper, we use a very rich dataset on Danish firms to analyze how their decisions regarding offshore production depend on institutional characteristics and firm-specific bilateral connections with these countries. We find that institutions that enhance investor protections and reduce corruption increase the probability of offshoring, while those that introduce regulatory constraints in the labor market discourage it. We also show that offshoring activities are more likely for firms that have developed networks in the country of destination.
    Keywords: Offshoring; product market; labor regulations; network; fixed costs
    JEL: F16 J24 J38
    Date: 2018–08–06
  6. By: Nicolas J. Duquette (Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California); Enda Hargaden (Department of Economics, University of Tennessee)
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates that economic inequality has a negative, causal effect on prosocial behavior, specifcally, charitable giving. Standard theories predict that greater inequality increases giving, though income tax return data suggest the opposite may be true. We develop a new theory which, incorporating insights from behavioral economics and social psychology, predicts when greater inequality will lower charitable giving. We test the theory in an experiment on donations to a real-world charity. By randomizing the income distribution, we identify the effect of inequality on giving behavior. Consistent with our model, heightened inequality causes total giving to fall. Policy agendas that rely on charitable giving and other voluntary, prosocial behaviors to mitigate income and wealth inequality are likely to fail.
    Keywords: Inequality; charitable giving; social distance; lab experiments
    JEL: C91 D31 D64 H23 N32
    Date: 2018–07
  7. By: Platt, Lucinda; Polavieja, Javier
    Abstract: The persistence of gender inequalities in the division of paid and unpaid work poses an important question for gender socialization research: what matters most for the intergenerational transmission of gender-role attitudes, parental own attitudes or parental behaviours? Recent explanations in cultural economics suggest that intentional attitudinal transmission is the main driver of cultural reproduction. In line with classical sex-role learning models, we contend, however, that what parents do is at least as important as what parents say for gender-role transmission. Using data for British children aged between 11 and 15 we estimate the independent influence of each of these two socialization channels on children’s attitudes towards the sexual division of labour (ASDL). We show that both parental attitudes and parental behaviours are crucial in the formation of children’s ASDL, and that parental influences are stronger when they operate through same-sex dyads. We also show that mothers’ time out of the labour force is a stronger predictor of children’s ASDL than either mothers’ or fathers’ own attitudes. Finally, analysis of a subset of the children followed into their early adult lives shows that ASDL formed in childhood have significant and lasting consequences for both adults’ gender attitudes and their behaviours.
    Keywords: gender-role attitudes; children; parental socialization; behavioural sex-role modelling; British household panel survey; UKHLS
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2016–12
  8. By: Luis Cesar Herrero-Prieto (Department of Applied Economics, University of Valladolid); Ivan Boal-San Miguel (Department of Applied Economics, University of Valladolid); Mafalda Mafalda Gomez-Vega (Department of Applied Economics, University of Valladolid)
    Abstract: This work involves undertaking a reappraisal of the Seven Deadly Sins in order to construct synthetic indicators of well-being aimed at measuring spatial economic disparities and their link to economic development. The Seven Deadly Sins constitute a way of describing vices vis-Ã -vis Christian moral education. Yet they might also be viewed as general norms of social behaviour and interpreted today as notions related to the concept of well-being. For example, the level of concentration of wealth (greed), sustainability of resources (gluttony), safety index (wrath), problems adapting to the labour market or workplace absenteeism (sloth), etc. The Seven Deadly Sins have also yielded emblematic examples of artistic iconography and cultural production. How they are perceived and expressed may also differ depending on each group’s cultural idiosyncrasy, in the sense of a series of beliefs and attitudes forged over the centuries. Based on these premises, the current work first seeks to compile variables that reflect each conceptual dimension so as to later construct a synthetic indicator of well-being with territorial disaggregation. This enables us to explore spatial disparities and the extent to which they relate to economic development. This is applied to a group of countries in the European Union with NUTS 2 territorial disaggregation (regions). The sources of information are basically Eurostat. The method involves applying Data Envelopment Analysis to construct the synthetic indicator, and spatial econometrics to pinpoint spatial dependence effects.
    Keywords: cultural identity, welfare indicators, economic development, synthetic indicators, Deadly Sins, Europe
    JEL: Z11 Z13 R12 O12
    Date: 2018–07
  9. By: Obschonka, Martin; Stuetzer, Michael; Rentfrow, Peter J.; Lee, Neil; Gosling, Samuel D.; Schmitt-Rodermund, Eva
    Abstract: Two recent electoral results - Donald Trump’s election as US president and the UK’s Brexit vote - have re-ignited debate on the psychological factors underlying voting behavior. Both campaigns promoted themes of fear, lost pride, and loss aversion, which are relevant to the personality dimension of Neuroticism, a construct previously not associated with voting behavior. To that end, we investigate whether regional prevalence of neurotic personality traits (Neuroticism, Anxiety, Depression) predicted voting behavior in the US (N = 3,167,041) and the UK (N = 417,217), comparing these effects with previous models, which have emphasized the roles of Openness and Conscientiousness. Neurotic traits positively predicted share of Brexit and Trump votes and Trump gains from Romney. Many of these effects persisted in additional robustness tests controlling for regional industrial heritage, political attitude, and socio-economic features, particularly in the US. The “sleeper effect” of neurotic traits may profoundly impact the geopolitical landscape.
    Keywords: Voting; Neuroticism; Fear; Trump; Brexit; Election
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Karine Roudaut (MARSOUIN - Môle Armoricain de Recherche sur la SOciété de l'information et des usages d'INternet - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - UBS - Université de Bretagne Sud - UBO - Université de Brest - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de Analyse de l'Information - Rennes - Institut Mines-Télécom [Paris] - UR2 - Université de Rennes 2 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - UBL - Université Bretagne Loire - IMT Atlantique - IMT Atlantique Bretagne-Pays de la Loire, ARENES - Centre de Recherches sur l'Action Politique en Europe - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Rennes - EHESP - École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique [EHESP] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Nicolas Jullien (LUSSI - Département Logique des Usages, Sciences sociales et Sciences de l'Information - IMT Atlantique - IMT Atlantique Bretagne-Pays de la Loire, LEGO - Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion de l'Ouest - UBS - Université de Bretagne Sud - UBO - Université de Brest - Institut Mines-Télécom [Paris] - UBL - Université Bretagne Loire - IMT Atlantique - IMT Atlantique Bretagne-Pays de la Loire, MARSOUIN - Môle Armoricain de Recherche sur la SOciété de l'information et des usages d'INternet - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - UBS - Université de Bretagne Sud - UBO - Université de Brest - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de Analyse de l'Information - Rennes - Institut Mines-Télécom [Paris] - UR2 - Université de Rennes 2 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - UBL - Université Bretagne Loire - IMT Atlantique - IMT Atlantique Bretagne-Pays de la Loire)
    Abstract: This article addresses the question of employees' perceived usefulness of social networking sites in their professional activity. The quantitative and qualitative survey conducted in a large French company from the ICT sector, shows a low level professional use of online social sites. We identify two types of users, associated with types of use and types of networks. If the users creates the usage, it is individualized and disaffiliated from the company
    Abstract: Cet article sur les usages des outils de réseau social par les salariés s'inscrit dans une tradition de recherche sur les effets de la technologie sur le travail, sur l'évolution des frontières vie privée et vie professionnelle. Il questionne la façon dont ils gèrent leurs identités (privée, publique, professionnelle, personnelle). Menée dans une grande entreprise française du secteur des TIC, l'enquête - quantitative et qualitative - souligne premièrement, l'existence d'une conscience forte du caractère professionnel et privé de ces outils ; deuxièmement, un usage spécifique des plateformes : une tentative de cloisonnement. Le mélange des usages des outils est à l'image de l'entrelacement des sociabilités dans la vie hors ligne.
    Keywords: social network sites,professional activities,privacy,public/private life,sociology,Usages des TICS,Sociologie,Réseaux sociaux,Activité professionnelle,Vie privée,Vie publique
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Arnaud Chevalier (Royal Holloway University of London and the Institute of Labor Economics); Benjamin Elsner (University College Dublin, IZA and CReAM); Andreas Lichter (IZA); Nico Pestel (IZA and ZEW Mannheim)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of immigration on public policy setting. As a natural experiment, we exploit the sudden arrival of eight million forced migrants in West Germany after World War II. These migrants were on average poorer than the West German population, but unlike most international migrants they had full voting rights and were eligible for social welfare. Using panel data for West German cities and applying difference-in-differences and an instrumental variables approach, we show that local governments responded to this migration shock with selective and persistent tax raises as well as shifts in spending. In response to the inflow, farm and business owners were taxed more while residential property and wage bill taxes were left unchanged. Moreover, high-inflow cities significantly raised welfare spending while reducing spending on infrastructure and housing. Election data suggest that these policy changes were partly driven by the political influence of the immigrants: in high-inflow regions, the major parties were more likely to nominate immigrants as candidates, and a pro-immigrant party received high vote shares. We further document that this episode of mass immigration had lasting effects on people’s preferences for redistribution. In areas with larger inflows in the 1940s, people have substantially higher demand for redistribution more than 50 years later.
    Date: 2018–08–06
  12. By: Gordon Menzies (University of Technology Sydney); Thomas Simpson (Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford); Donald Hay (University of Oxford); David Vines (Department of Economics, Balliol College, St Antony’s College, and Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford; Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University; and Centre for Economic Policy Research)
    Abstract: Bonuses in finance represents a bad equilbrium among multiple equilibria. Motivating agents with bonuses can promote untruthfulness, via motivation crowding out, justifying the decision to pay them bonuses. In the equilibrium that works in other professions, moral norms are upheld enough to not require bonuses. Escaping the bad equilibrium is difficult if banks engage in an ‘optimal’ amount of deceit (moral optimization). Restoring trust instead requires that untruthfulness be ruled out a priori (moral prioritization). Reinstating truth telling in finance must contend with a tendency for ethics to be confined to the private domain and motivation crowding out in finance.
    Keywords: Bank Bonuses; Trust; Deregulation
    JEL: G21 G28 H12 E52
    Date: 2018–07–01

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