nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒09‒03
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Normative change and culture of hate: An experiment in online environments By Amalia Álvarez; Fabian Winter
  2. Connecting to Power: Political Connections, Innovation, and Firm Dynamics By Salome Baslandze
  3. Immigrant Networks and Remittances: Cheaper together? By Ainhoa Aparicio Fenoll; Zoe Kuehn
  4. Incarceration Spillovers in Criminal and Family Networks By Manudeep Bhuller; Gordon B. Dahl; Katrine V. Løken; Magne Mogstad
  5. Consumption Network Effects By Giacomo De Giorgi
  6. Prosocial motivation and incentives By Besley, Timothy; Ghatak, Maitreesh
  7. Trust and shareholder voting By Lesmeister, Simon; Limbach, Peter; Goergen, Marc
  8. Self-regulation promotes cooperation in social networks By Dario Madeo; Chiara Mocenni
  9. Heterogeneous Social Motives and Interactions: The Three Predictable Paths of Capability Development By Bridoux, Flore; Coeurderoy, Regis; Durand, Rodolphe
  10. Migration networks and Mexican migrants' spatial mobility in the US By Rebecca Lessem; Brian Cadena; Brian Kovak; Shan Li
  11. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth? Geographic Concentration, Social Norms, and Knowledge Transfer By Di Stefano, Giada; A. King, Andrew; Verona, Gianmario
  12. Is There a Male Breadwinner Norm? The Hazards of Inferring Preferences from Marriage Market Outcomes By Ariel J. Binder; David Lam
  13. The Role of Cultural Communication Norms in Social Exclusion Effects By Lee, Jaehoon; Shrum, L. J.; Yi, Youjae

  1. By: Amalia Álvarez (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Fabian Winter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: We present an online experiment in which we investigate the impact of perceived social acceptability on online hate speech, and measure the causal effect of specific interventions. We compare two types of interventions: counter-speaking (informal verbal sanctions) and censoring (deleting hateful content). The interventions are based on the belief that individuals infer acceptability from the context, using previous actions as a source of normative information. The interventions are based on the two conceptualizations found in the literature: 1) what do others normally do, i.e., descriptive norms; and 2) what happened to those who violated the norm, i.e., injunctive norms. Participants were significantly less likely to engage in hate speech when prior hate content had been moderately censored. Our results suggest that normative behavior in online conversations might, in fact, be motivated by descriptive norms rather than injunctive norms. With this work we present some of the first experimental evidence investigating the social determinants of hate speech in online communities. The results could advance the understanding of the micro-mechanisms that regulate hate speech. Also, such findings can guide future interventions in online communities that help prevent the spread of hate.
    Keywords: online experiments, social norms, hate speech, social influence, pluralistic societies
    Date: 2018–02
  2. By: Salome Baslandze (EIEF - Einaudi Institute for Economics a)
    Abstract: We study the Italian firms and their workers to answer this question. Our analysis uses a brand-new data spanning the period from 1993 to 2014 where we merge: (i) firm-level balance sheet data, (ii) the social security data on the universe of workers, (iii) patent data from the European Patent Office, (iv) registry of local politicians, and (v) detailed data on local elections in Italy. We find that firm-level political connections are widespread, especially among large firms, and that industries with a larger share of politically connected firms feature worse firm dynamics. Market leaders are much more likely to be politically connected and less likely to innovate, compared to their competitors. In addition, connections relate to higher survival and growth in employment and revenue but not in productivity – the result that we also confirm using regression discontinuity design. We build a firm dynamics model where we allow firms to invest in innovation and/or political connection to advance their productivity and to overcome certain market frictions. The model highlights the new interaction between static gains and dynamic losses from rent-seeking for aggregate productivity.
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Ainhoa Aparicio Fenoll; Zoe Kuehn
    Abstract: We estimate the causal effects of immigrant networks on individuals' remittance sending behavior for migrants from many different countries residing in Spain. Our methodology addresses typical issues that arise when estimating network effects: reverse causality, common unobserved factors, and self-selection. In particular, we instrument the size of networks by predicting the number of migrants in each lo- cation using the location's accessibility by distinct methods of transportation and information about how migrants from each country arrived in Spain. Our findings show that immigrants from above-average remitting countries remit more if they live in larger networks. Testing for mechanisms of network e ects, we also find that these migrants are more likely to send remittances via bank transfers, which sug- gests that large networks of individuals who remit a lot might be better at sharing information about cheaper remittance channels (bank transfers compared to money orders in post offices or agencies). In line with this hypothesis, we find that due to network effects migrants shy away from the most expensive remittance channels, potentially freeing resources for additional remittances. Furthermore, cost spreads between the most expensive and cheapest providers are lower for countries charac- terized by high remittances and stronger networks, suggesting that network effects might be competition-enhancing.
    Keywords: immigrant networks, remittances, migration, Spain
    JEL: F24 J61 F22 O15 A14
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Manudeep Bhuller; Gordon B. Dahl; Katrine V. Løken; Magne Mogstad
    Abstract: Using quasi-random assignment of criminal cases to judges, we estimate large incarceration spillovers in criminal and brother networks. When a defendant is sent to prison, there are 51 and 32 percentage point reductions in the probability his criminal network members and younger brothers will be charged with a crime, respectively, over the ensuing four years. Correlational evidence misleadingly finds small positive effects. These spillovers are of first order importance for policy, as the network reductions in future crimes committed are larger than the direct effect on the incarcerated defendant.
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2018–08
  5. By: Giacomo De Giorgi (GSEM University of Geneva)
    Abstract: In this paper we study consumption network e¤ects. Does the consumption of our peers a¤ect our own consumption? How large is such e¤ect? What are the economic mechanisms behind it? We use long panel data on the entire Danish population to construct a measure of consumption based on administrative tax records on income and assets. We combine tax record data with matched employer-employee data so that we can construct peer groups based on workplace, which gives us a much tighter, precise, and credible de nition of networks than used in previous literature. We use the available data to construct peer groups that do not perfectly overlap, and as such provide valid instruments derived from the network structure of ones peers group. The longitudinal nature of our data also allow us to estimate xed e¤ects models, which help us tackle reection, self-selection, and common-shocks issues all at once. We estimate non-negligible and statistically signi cant endogenous and exogenous peer e¤ects. Estimated e¤ects are quite relevant for policies as they generate non-negligible multiplier e¤ect. We also investigate what mechanisms generate such e¤ects, distinguishing between "keeping up with the Joneses", a status model, and a more traditional risk sharing view.
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Besley, Timothy; Ghatak, Maitreesh
    Abstract: This review explores the role of incentives in providing goods and services that have significant social returns not captured in private returns, and where outcomes and performances are not easy to measure. We discuss how the presence of prosocial motivation among agents involved in the provision of these goods and services changes the design of incentives. The review also emphasises how heterogeneous prosocial motivation puts a premium on selection of agents in this context. We also discuss alternative theories of prosocial motivation.
    Keywords: prosocial behavior; motivated agents; public services
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2018–08
  7. By: Lesmeister, Simon; Limbach, Peter; Goergen, Marc
    Abstract: We test the hypothesis that a specific aspect of culture - trust in others - affects shareholder voting behavior as it lowers investors' concerns of being expropriated. We find consistent evidence that the percentage of votes cast at shareholder meetings is lower in high-trust countries while the percentage of votes in support of management is higher. Shocks to trust and IV regressions support this result. We also find that shareholder voting is more valuable in low-trust countries, as reflected by a more positive effect on future firm performance, which suggests that managers exploit low levels of monitoring less when trust is high.
    Keywords: Culture,Monitoring,Shareholder expropriation,Shareholder voting,Trust
    JEL: G3 G19 G32
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Dario Madeo; Chiara Mocenni
    Abstract: Cooperative behavior in real social dilemmas is often perceived as a phenomenon emerging from norms and punishment. To overcome this paradigm, we highlight the interplay between the influence of social networks on individuals, and the activation of spontaneous self-regulating mechanisms, which may lead them to behave cooperatively, while interacting with others and taking conflicting decisions over time. By extending Evolutionary game theory over networks, we prove that cooperation partially or fully emerges whether self-regulating mechanisms are sufficiently stronger than social pressure. Interestingly, even few cooperative individuals act as catalyzing agents for the cooperation of others, thus activating a recruiting mechanism, eventually driving the whole population to cooperate.
    Date: 2018–07
  9. By: Bridoux, Flore; Coeurderoy, Regis; Durand, Rodolphe
    Abstract: Limited attention has been paid to the crucial role of individuals’ motivation and social interactions in capability development. Building on literature in social psychology and behavioral economics that links heterogeneity in individual social motives to social interactions, we explain how the variation, selection, and retention processes underlying a group’s deliberate capability development are affected by the composition of the group in terms of individuals’ social motives in interplay with the organizational-level motivational levers designed by managers. Our multilevel theoretical model suggests that individual-level heterogeneity leads to the development of capabilities along different paths. For practice, this implies that, according to the composition of the group in terms of social motives, capabilities are more or less technically and evolutionary adequate and source of business process performance.
    Keywords: Deliberate Capability Development; Motivational Microfoundations; Social Interactions; Business Process Performance; Multilevel
    JEL: L10
    Date: 2016–10–25
  10. By: Rebecca Lessem (Carnegie Mellon University); Brian Cadena (University of Colorado at Boulder); Brian Kovak (Carnegie Mellon University); Shan Li (Carnegie Mellon University)
    Abstract: Mexican low-skilled migrants are found to be highly mobile when they face labor demand shocks. This paper examines the role of migration networks in Mexican-born immigrants’ location choices. We rely on the sizable variation in labor demand declines across states during the Great Recession to identify migration responses to demand shocks and use a novel set of data, the Matrícula Consular de Alta Seguridad (MCAS) data, to construct migration network measures. We find that migration networks indeed play an important part in Mexican migrants’ responsiveness to local demand shocks.In particular, migrants respond to local economic conditions and conditions in network-connected locations when making location decisions.
    Date: 2018
  11. By: Di Stefano, Giada; A. King, Andrew; Verona, Gianmario
    Abstract: A long tradition in social science research emphasizes the potential for knowledge to flow among firms co-located in dense areas. Scholars have suggested numerous modes for these flows, including the voluntary transfer of private knowledge from one firm to another. Why would the holder of valuable private knowledge willingly transfer it to a potential and closely proximate competitor? In this paper, we argue that geographic concentration has an effect on the expected compliance with norms governing the use of transferred knowledge. The increased expected compliance favors trust and initiates a process of reciprocal exchange. To test our theory, we use a scenario-based field experiment in gourmet cuisine, an industry in which property rights do not effectively protect knowledge and geographic concentration is common. Our results confirm our conjecture by showing that the expectation that a potential co-located firm will abide by norms mediates the relationship between geographic concentration and the willingness to transfer private knowledge.
    Keywords: Geographic Concentration; Density; Knowledge Transfer; Social Norms; Field Experiment; Hospitality Industry
    JEL: L10
    Date: 2016–10–25
  12. By: Ariel J. Binder; David Lam
    Abstract: Spousal characteristics such as age, height, and earnings are often used to infer social preferences. For example, a “male taller” norm has been inferred from the fact that fewer wives are taller than their husbands than would occur with random matching. The large proportion of husbands out-earning their wives has been cited as evidence for a “male breadwinner” norm. We show that it can be misleading to infer social preferences about an attribute from observed marital sorting on that attribute. We show that positive assortative matching on an attribute is consistent with a variety of underlying preferences. Given gender gaps in height and earnings, positive sorting implies it will be rare for women to be taller or richer than their husbands--even without an underlying preference for shorter or lower-earning wives. Simulations which sort couples positively on permanent earnings can largely replicate the observed distribution of spousal earnings differences in US Census data. Further, we show that an apparent sharp drop in the distribution function at the point where the wife out-earns the husband results from a mass of couples earning identical incomes, a mass which we argue is not evidence of a norm for higher-earning husbands.
    JEL: D10 J12 J16
    Date: 2018–08
  13. By: Lee, Jaehoon; Shrum, L. J.; Yi, Youjae
    Abstract: Previous research suggests that when social exclusion is communicated in an explicit manner, consumers express preferences for helping, whereas when it is communicated in an implicit manner, they express preferences for conspicuous consumption. However, this may not always hold true. In the present research, we put forward a theoretical framework explaining that exclusion effects depend on the extent to which exclusion is communicated in a culturally normative or counter-normative manner, rather than whether it is communicated in an explicit or implicit manner. We show that exclusion communicated in a cultural norm-congruent manner produces preferences for helping, whereas exclusion communicated in a cultural norm-incongruent manner produces preferences for conspicuous consumption. We further show that the differential needs – self-esteem and power – threatened by normative and counter-normative exclusion explain these distinct preferences.
    Keywords: Social Exclusion; Culture; Communication Norms; Helping; Conspicuous Consumption
    JEL: M31
    Date: 2016–08–02

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