nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒09‒17
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Tax Morale and the Role of Social Norms and Reciprocity: Evidence from a Randomized Survey Experiment By Doerrenberg, Philipp; Peichl, Andreas
  2. Different Cultural Layers: Different Effects on Development? By Judit Kapas
  3. Coheisive Institutions and Political Violence By Thiemo Fetzer; Stephan Kyburz
  4. Somatic Distance, Trust and Trade By Jacques Melitz; Farid Toubal
  5. A Crisis of Consumers’ Trust in Scientists and Influence on Consumer Attitude By Hu, R.; Deng, H.
  6. The American Nonvoter By Lyn Ragsdale
  7. Leaders in Juvenile Crime By Díaz, Carlos; Patacchini, Eleonora; Verdier, Thierry; Zenou, Yves
  8. Efficient Partnership Formation in Networks By Bloch, Francis; Dutta, Bhaskar; Manea, Mihai
  9. Deciphering the Cultural Code: Cognition, Behavior, and the Interpersonal Transmission of Culture By Lu, Richard; Chatman, Jennifer A.; Goldberg, Amir; Srivastava, Sameer B.
  10. Just a Few Seeds More: Value of Network Information for Diffusion By Akbarpour, Mohammad; Malladi, Suraj; Saberi, Amin
  11. Social networks, mobility, and political participation: The potential for women’s self-help groups to improve access and use of public entitlement schemes in India By Kumar, N.; Raghunathan, K.; Arrieta, A.; Jilani, A.; Chakrabarti, S.; Menon, P.; Quisumbing, A.
  12. The effect of culture on home-ownership By Marcén, Miriam; Morales, Marina
  13. Cooperatives As Agents Of Social Capital: An Evidence From A Post-socialist Country By Tuna, Emelj; Karantininis, Kostas

  1. By: Doerrenberg, Philipp (ZEW Mannheim); Peichl, Andreas (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We present the first randomized survey experiment in the context of tax compliance to assess the role of social norms and reciprocity for intrinsic tax morale. We find that participants in a social-norm treatment have lower tax morale relative to a control group while participants in a reciprocity treatment have significantly higher tax morale than those in the social-norm group. This suggests that a potential backfire effect of social norms is outweighed if the consequences of violating the social norm are made salient. We further document the anatomy of intrinsic motivations for tax compliance and present first evidence that previously found gender effects in tax morale are not driven by differences in risk preferences.
    Keywords: tax compliance, tax evasion, intrinsic motivations, tax morale, social norms, reciprocity
    JEL: H20 H32 H50 C93
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Judit Kapas (University of Debrecen)
    Abstract: This paper relies on the idea that culture has several layers which can be separated on the basis of the degree of stickiness between a particular cultural component and formal institutions. This procedure, by allowing us to focus on more specific questions as to how culture affects development, helps improve the somewhat controversial empirical results of the literature.As an extension of the theory of institutional stickiness (Boettke et al. 2008), I distinguish two cultural layers: a rigid and a slow-moving layer. The rigid layer includes values reflecting the most basic norms, judgments, and beliefs, which do not change. The slow-moving layer includes those cultural components that depend upon individuals? circumstances and the prevailing institutions, and can change if these change. The degree of stickiness between the slow-moving layer and institutions is very high because institutions find their roots directly in that cultural layer. However, the rigid layer and institutions are a bit ?farther? from one other, which allows a certain degree of divergence from a perfect correspondence between them. In the cross-country empirical analyses, including IV estimations, I check the hypotheses derived from this stickiness model, and focus on how a particular cultural layer operating in conjunction with institutions affects development. When it comes to the rigid layer proxied by individual values (Schwartz 1999), besides establishing that both values and institutions are strong determinants of development, I also find that their interaction acts as a separate factor. This means that values are not fully embodied in institutions. The effect of the slow-moving layer proxied by trust (WVS), however, is very different: trust does not exert an impact on development once institutions are controlled for, and there is no interaction between them, meaning that trust is crystallized in institutions. The results are very robust to alternative variables and specifications.
    Keywords: instututions, culture, economic development
    JEL: E02 O43
    Date: 2018–06
  3. By: Thiemo Fetzer; Stephan Kyburz
    Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better in managing distributive conflicts? We study these questions exploiting exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments together with new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria. We make three contributions. First, we document the existence of a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the actual resource. Second, we show that distributive conflict is highly organized involving political militias and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Third, we show that democratic practice in form having elected local governments significantly weakens the causal link between rents and political violence. We document that elections (vis-a-vis appointments), by producing more cohesive institutions, vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the available rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
    Keywords: conflict, ethnicity, natural resources, political economy, commodity prices
    JEL: Q33 O13 N52 R11 L71
    Date: 2018
  4. 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 in the social sciences. This is also true 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, as well as co-ancestry, has a more reliable influence on bilateral trade than the other cultural variables. The article finally discusses the interpretation and breadth of application of these results.
    Keywords: Somatic Distance;Cultural Interactions;Co-ancestry;Trust;Language;Bilateral Trade
    JEL: F10 F40 Z10
    Date: 2018–09
  5. By: Hu, R.; Deng, H.
    Abstract: China used to zealously embrace genetically modified (GM) technology, but debates, scandals and misleading news on GM technology increase consumers’ risk perceptions of GM foods and influenced their trust in different actors involved in biotechnology. A better understanding of consumer trust in different actors or source of information can improve effectiveness of biotechnology policy and better practice in risk communication with respect to GM foods. This paper employs bivariate Probit models and IV Probit model to examine the relationships between consumers’ trust in different actors / source of information and their attitudes toward GM foods. The surveys conducted in 2015 in China showed that most consumers reject GM foods and tend to distrust in scientists who are engaged in biotechnology research. Meanwhile, they revealed a high level of trust in non-GM scientists or individuals and high levels of belief in misleading news or rumors regarding GM food safety. Consumer trust in GM scientists are positively associate with their acceptance of GM foods while their trust in non-GM scientists or individuals and belief in misleading news or rumors are important constraints for consumer acceptance of GM foods.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies
    Date: 2018–07
  6. By: Lyn Ragsdale (Rice University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the motivations of individuals who do not vote in American elections from 1968 through 2012. Existing research portrays American nonvoters as a large monolith of people who lack psychological involvement in politics, do not have adequate personal resources to participate, have insufficient social networks to be engaged, or are not sufficiently mobilized by candidates and campaigns. Instead, our paper maintains that uncertainty in the national campaign context ?the economic, mass communication, legal, and international environments--drives individual citizens? decisions about whether to vote. When there is high uncertainty in the national campaign context, people are more likely to vote. When there is low uncertainty in the national campaign context, citizens are less likely to vote. The paper further develops a theoretical distinction between the external uncertainty found in the national campaign context and the internal uncertainty citizens feel about which candidate will adequately address the external uncertainty. In considering this internal uncertainty, four types of nonvoters emerge as they respond differently to the lack of clarity. First, the politically ignorant non-voters do not follow the campaign or the candidates so avoid internal uncertainty about them. Second, the indifferent follow the campaign and the candidates, but see no differences between the candidates, leaving internal uncertainty about them. Third, the dissatisfied know a good deal about the campaign context and the candidates but see one or more candidates negatively. They too do not vote because internal uncertainty about the candidates remains unresolved. Finally, the personal hardship nonvoters pay attention to the campaign and the candidates but do not vote because of personal hardship associated with unemployment. The paper first considers broad differences between voters and nonvoters in their knowledge of politics and attitudes toward elections. It then estimates a model of nonvoting across the time period. Finally, it considers in greater detail the four different types of nonvoters, who they are, and what motivates them not to participate. The study finds that at the presidential level, there are considerable numbers of dissatisfied nonvoters who do not vote because they have negative views of one or both candidates. At the midterm level, nonvoters are more likely to be politically indifferent, not having clear-cut views of one or both candidates.
    Keywords: nonvoter, United States, negative campaigns
    Date: 2018–06
  7. By: Díaz, Carlos; Patacchini, Eleonora; Verdier, Thierry; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: This paper presents a new theory of crime where leaders transmit a crime technology and act as a role model for other criminals. We show that, in equilibrium, an individual's crime effort and crime decisions depend on the geodesic distance to the leader in his or her network of social contacts. By using data on friendship networks among U.S. high-school students, we structurally estimate the model and find evidence supporting its predictions. In particular, by using a definition of a criminal leader that is exogenous to the network formation of friendship links, we find that the longer is the distance to the leader, the lower is the criminal activity of the delinquents and the less likely they are to become criminals. This result highlights the importance of the closeness centrality of the leaders in explaining criminal behaviors. We finally perform a counterfactual experiment that reveals that a policy that removes all criminal leaders from a school can, on average, reduce criminal activity by about 20% and the individual probability of becoming a criminal by 10%.
    Keywords: closeness centrality; Crime leaders; criminal decision; social distance
    JEL: C31 D85 K42
    Date: 2018–08
  8. By: Bloch, Francis (Université Paris 1 and Paris School of Economics); Dutta, Bhaskar (University of Warwick and Ashoka University); Manea, Mihai (Stanford University)
    Abstract: We analyze the formation of partnerships in social networks. Players need favors at random times and ask their neighbors in the network to form exclusive long-term partnerships that guarantee reciprocal favor exchange. Refusing to provide a favor results in the automatic removal of the under lyinglink. When favors are costly, players agree to provide the first favor in a partnership only if they otherwise face the risk of eventual solitude. In equilibrium,the players essential for realizing every maximum matching can avoid this risk and enjoy higher payoffs than in essential players. Although the search for partners is decentralized and reflects local incentives, the strength of essential players drives efficient partnership formation in everynetwork. When favors are costless, players enter partnerships at any opportunity and every maximal matching can emerge in equilibrium.In this case,efficiency is limited to special linking patterns : complete and complete bipartite networks, locally balanced biprtit enetworks with positive surplus, and factor-critical networks. JEL classification numbers: D85 ; C78
    Keywords: networks ; partnerships ; matchings ; efficiency ; decentralizedmarkets ; favor exchange ; completely elementary networks ; locally balanced networks
    Date: 2018
  9. By: Lu, Richard (?); Chatman, Jennifer A. (?); Goldberg, Amir (Stanford University); Srivastava, Sameer B. (?)
    Abstract: From the schoolyard to the boardroom, the pressures of cultural assimilation pervade all walks of social life. Why are some people more successful than others at cultural adjustment? Research on organizational culture has mostly focused on value congruence as the core dimension of cultural fit. We develop a complementary conceptualization of cognitive fit--perceptual accuracy, or the degree to which a person can decipher the group's cultural code. We demonstrate that the ability to read the cultural code, rather than identification with the code, matters for contemporaneous behavioral conformity. We further show that a person*s behavior and perceptual accuracy are both influenced by observations of others* behavior, whereas value congruence is less susceptible to peer influence. Drawing on email and survey data from a mid-sized technology firm, we use the tools of computational linguistics and machine learning to develop longitudinal measures of cognitive and behavioral cultural fit. We also take advantage of a reorganization that produced quasi-exogenous shifts in employees' interlocutors to identify the causal impact of peer influence. We discuss implications of these findings for research on cultural assimilation, the interplay of structure and culture, and the pairing of surveys with digital trace data.
    Date: 2018–05
  10. By: Akbarpour, Mohammad (Stanford U); Malladi, Suraj (Stanford U); Saberi, Amin (Stanford U)
    Abstract: Identifying the optimal set of individuals to first receive information ('seeds') in a social network is a widely-studied question in many settings, such as the diffusion of information, microfinance programs, and new technologies. Numerous studies have proposed various network-centrality based heuristics to choose seeds in a way that is likely to boost diffusion. Here we show that, for some frequently studied diffusion processes, randomly seeding s plus x individuals can prompt a larger cascade than optimally targeting the best s individuals, for a small x. We prove our results for large classes of random networks, but also show that they hold in simulations over several real-world networks. This suggests that the returns to collecting and analyzing network information to identify the optimal seeds may not be economically significant. Given these findings, practitioners interested in communicating a message to a large number of people may wish to compare the cost of network-based targeting to that of slightly expanding initial outreach.
    JEL: D83 D85 O12 Z13
    Date: 2018–04
  11. By: Kumar, N.; Raghunathan, K.; Arrieta, A.; Jilani, A.; Chakrabarti, S.; Menon, P.; Quisumbing, A.
    Abstract: Women’s self-help groups (SHGs) have increasingly been used as a vehicle for social, political, and economic empowerment as well as a platform for service delivery. Although a growing body of literature shows evidence of positive impacts of SHGs on various measures of empowerment, our understanding of ways in which SHGs improve awareness and use of public services is limited. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper first examines how SHG membership is associated with political participation, awareness, and use of government entitlement schemes. It further examines the effect of SHG membership on various measures of social network and mobility. Using data collected in 2015 across five Indian states and matching methods to correct for endogeneity of SHG membership, we find that SHG members are more politically engaged. We also find that SHG members are not only more likely to know of certain public entitlements than non-members, they are significantly more likely to avail of a greater number of public entitlement schemes. Additionally, SHG members have wider social networks and greater mobility as compared to non-members. Our results suggest that SHGs have the potential to increase their members’ ability to hold public entities accountable and demand what is rightfully theirs.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, International Development
    Date: 2018–07
  12. By: Marcén, Miriam; Morales, Marina
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the role of culture in determining whether, or not, an individual is a homeowner. We use data on first-generation immigrants who arrived in the United States under 6 years old. Following the epidemiological approach, those early-arrival immigrants grew up under the same US laws, markets, and institutions, so any dissimilarity in the proportion of homeowners by country of origin may be interpreted as a consequence of cultural differences. Our estimates indicate that there is a positive and statistically significant relationship between the cultural proxy, that is, the proportion of individuals who are homeowners by country of origin, and the immigrants' choice of home-ownership. Results are maintained after controlling for home-country observable and unobservable characteristics, and are consistent in several subsamples. Neither the differences in the formation of couples (same or different origin) nor the existence (or not) of mortgage financing appear to be driving our findings. Additionally, we present evidence of different mechanisms of transmission of culture (horizontal transmission, respect for elders, and gender roles), which reinforces our results on the cultural effect.
    Keywords: Culture,Immigrants,Home-ownership
    JEL: J15 R20 Z13
    Date: 2018
  13. By: Tuna, Emelj; Karantininis, Kostas
    Abstract: Agricultural cooperatives in post-socialistic countries often fail to justify their purpose. Lack of trust and social capital are plausible reasons. The aim of this paper is to map the relationship structure of farmers in region where operational cooperative exists. The Social network analysis demonstrates low levels of social capital however, the cooperative acts as valuable information provider for its members, serving as information mediator to the rural development program’s resources, required for farmers’ investment initiatives. This is a positive evidence for small-scale farmers and a step forward in motivating changes of farmer’s attitudes towards cooperation and re-establishment of agricultural cooperatives.
    Keywords: Agribusiness
    Date: 2017–08–29

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