nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2018‒11‒26
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Sacred and the Profane of Budget Cycles: Evidence from Italian Municipalities. By Revelli, Federico; Zotti, Roberto
  2. Altruism and Risk Sharing in Networks By Bourles, Renaud; Bramoulle, Yann; Perez-Richet, Eduardo
  3. Fake News and Advertising on Social Media: A Study of the Anti-Vaccination Movement By Lesley Chiou; Catherine Tucker
  4. Caste, Technology and Social Networks By Gupta, I.; Veettil, P.C.; Speelman, S.
  5. Age, Social Capital, and Herders Grassland Renting Decisions in Inner Mongolia, P.R. China By Tan, S.; Liu, B.; Hannaway, D.
  6. The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence By Aislinn Bohren; Alex Imas; Michael Rosenberg
  7. Skill of the Immigrants and Vote of the Natives: Immigration and Nationalism in European Elections 2007-2016 By Simone Moriconi; Giovanni Peri; Riccardo Turati
  8. Inferring the Ideological Affliations of Political Committees via Financial Contributions Networks By Yiran Chen; Hanming Fang
  9. The Role of Institutions and Immigrant Networks in Firms' Offshoring Decisions By Moriconi, Simone; Peri, Giovanni; Pozzoli, Dario
  10. The Vertical Cooperative An experiment on cooperation and punishment across networks By Fatas, E; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez; Hector Solaz
  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, Neha; Raghunathan, Kalyani; Arrieta, Alejandra; Jilani, Amir Hamza; Chakrabarti, Suman; Menon, Purnima; Quisumbing, Agnes R.
  12. Supervisory trust to be earned ? the role of Ethical leadership mediated by Person-organisational fit By Anton Grobler

  1. By: Revelli, Federico; Zotti, Roberto (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the influence of the staggered schedule of Italian mayoral elections and of the calendar of traditional religious celebrations (Patron Saint days) on the timing of local tax setting decisions and on the selection process of mayoral candidates. As for the impact of the electoral schedule on fiscal policy-making, we find evidence of a political budget cycle on yearly panel data from over 8,000 municipal authorities, with budgets deteriorating as elections approach and improving thereafter. When analyzing the specific timing of annual local tax rate decisions within election years, and using localities not holding elections in those same years as controls, we find that incumbents are more likely to schedule the crucial decisions about the local income tax rate during the months following the date of the elections. As for the effect of Patron Saint day celebrations, we find that fiscal decisions are less likely to be scheduled around those dates, compatibly with the hypothesis that those events constitute temporary shocks to the social capital of local communities, inducing incumbent governments to abstain from making potentially disruptive fiscal decisions under those sensitive circumstances. Finally, we find that when local elections happen to take place in the proximity of a locality’s traditional celebrations, the elected mayors tend to exhibit milder ideology and higher indicators of valence, reinforcing the hypothesis that local folklore contributes to common value thinking, social capital building, and sense of community.
    Date: 2018–10
  2. By: Bourles, Renaud; Bramoulle, Yann; Perez-Richet, Eduardo
    Abstract: We provide the first analysis of the risk-sharing implications of altruism networks. Agents are embedded in a fixed network and care about each other. We study whether altruistic transfers help smooth consumption and how this depends on the shape of the network. We identify two benchmarks where altruism networks generate efficient insurance: for any shock when the network of perfect altruism is strongly connected and for any small shock when the network of transfers is weakly connected. We show that the extent of informal insurance depends on the average path length of the altruism network and that small shocks are partially insured by endogenous risk-sharing communities. We uncover complex structural effects. Under iid incomes, central agents tend to be better insured, the consumption correlation between two agents is positive and tends to decrease with network distance, and a new link can decrease or increase the consumption variance of indirect neighbors. Overall, we show that altruism in networks has a first-order impact on risk and generates specific patterns of consumption smoothing.
    Keywords: altruism; Informal Insurance; networks; Risk Sharing
    Date: 2018–09
  3. By: Lesley Chiou; Catherine Tucker
    Abstract: Online sources sometimes publish information that is false or intentionally misleading. We study the role of social networks and advertising on social networks in the dissemination of false news stories about childhood vaccines. We document that anti-vaccine Facebook groups disseminate false stories beyond the groups as well as serving as an “echo” chamber. We also find that after Facebook's ban on advertising by fake new sites, the sharing of fake news articles on Facebook fell by 75% on Facebook compared to Twitter.
    JEL: L86
    Date: 2018–11
  4. By: Gupta, I.; Veettil, P.C.; Speelman, S.
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of informal social networks in technology diffusion in a caste-based society in which a social hierarchical structure is prevalent. Often, information and technology diffusion are constrained by social and economic boundaries. In a complex and hierarchical social system in which caste plays a very decisive role in everyday life as well as in the political and policy fabric of the regional, state, and national system, proper targeting and dissemination of technology to the marginalized sections of society are very important for their development. Taking diffusion of improved rice varieties as an example, we analyze whether technology diffusion is confined within caste-based social networks or whether technology can break caste boundaries and spread across social networks. We found that informal networks tend to concentrate within caste-based groups and hence observed significantly stronger social network within caste than across caste categories. Strong within caste network discourages hybrids but facilitates stabilized technologies such as improved varieties whereas strong across caste networks discourage adoption of older and traditional varieties. It is important to highlight that existence of stronger within as well as across caste networks for scheduled tribes (ST) facilitated these marginalized communities to adopt improved and hybrid varieties. Acknowledgement :
    Keywords: Labor and Human Capital
    Date: 2018–07
  5. By: Tan, S.; Liu, B.; Hannaway, D.
    Abstract: The land rental market is critical for herders to obtain access to land resources. However, in contrast to the numerous studies on the farmland rental market, few studies have focused on the grassland rental market, and analyses of younger herders land renting behaviors from the perspective of social capital are even more rare. This paper addresses three questions: First, what is the current situation regarding younger herders participation? Second, does social capital influence herders renting decisions? Third, is there a difference of herder age on the influence of social capital on grassland renting decisions? Probit model was conducted with data collected from 422 herder households in Inner Mongolia, P.R. China. Findings suggested that 1) Younger herders grassland rental behaviors presented the coexistence of high participation rate and high rental price . 2) An inverse U-shape relationship existed between age and herders land rental decisions; 3) Compared with older herders, social capital played a relatively weak role in promoting the ability of younger herders to rent grassland. Acknowledgement : The authors thank the Foundation of Renmin University of China (16XNI004) for its support and thank colleagues and students from Renmin University of China and Inner Mongolia University for their participation in the field surveys.
    Keywords: Land Economics/Use
    Date: 2018–07
  6. By: Aislinn Bohren (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); Alex Imas (Department of Economics, Carnegie Melon University); Michael Rosenberg (Wayfair, Inc.)
    Abstract: We model the dynamics of discrimination and show how its evolution can identify the underlying cause. We test these theoretical predictions in a field experiment on a large online platform where users post content that is evaluated by other users on the platform. We assign posts to accounts that exogenously vary by gender and history of evaluations. With no prior evaluations, women face significant discrimination, while following a sequence of positive evaluations, the direction of discrimination reverses: posts by women are favored over those by men. According to our theoretical predictions, this dynamic reversal implies discrimination driven by biased beliefs.
    Keywords: Discrimination, Dynamic Behavior, Field Experiment
    JEL: J16 D83 D9
    Date: 2017–11–18
  7. By: Simone Moriconi (IÉSEG School of Management and LEM); Giovanni Peri (University of California, Davis); Riccardo Turati (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: In this paper we document the impact of immigration at the regional level on Europeans’ political preferences as expressed by voting behavior in parliamentary or presidential elections between 2007 and 2016. We combine individual data on party voting with a classification of each party’s political agenda on a scale of their "nationalistic" attitudes over 28 elections across 126 parties in 12 countries. To reduce immigrant selection and omitted variable bias, we use immigrant settlements in 2005 and the skill composition of recent immigrant flows as instruments. OLS and IV estimates show that larger inflows of highly educated immigrants were associated with a change in the vote of citizens away from nationalism. However the inflow of less educated immigrants was positively associated with a vote shift towards nationalist positions. These effects were stronger for non-tertiary educated voters and in response to non-European immigrants. We also show that they are consistent with the impact of immigration on individual political preferences, which we estimate using longitudinal data, and on opinions about immigrants. Conversely, immigration did not affect electoral turnout. Simulations based on the estimated coefficients show that immigration policies balancing the number of high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants from outside the EU would be associated with a shift in votes away from nationalist parties in almost all European regions.
    Keywords: Immigration, Nationalism, Elections, Europe
    JEL: D72 I28 J61
    Date: 2018–09
  8. By: Yiran Chen (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); Hanming Fang (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: About two thirds of the political committees registered with the Federal Election Commission do not self identify their party affiliations. In this paper we propose and implement a novel Bayesian approach to infer about the ideological affiliations of political committees based on the network of the financial contributions among them. In Monte Carlo simulations, we demonstrate that our estimation algorithm achieves very high accuracy in recovering their latent ideological affiliations when the pairwise difference in ideology groups' connection patterns satisfy a condition known as the Chernoff-Hellinger divergence criterion. We illustrate our approach using the campaign finance record in 2003-2004 election cycle. Using the posterior mode to categorize the ideological affiliations of the political committees, our estimates match the self reported ideology for 94.36% of those committees who self reported to be Democratic and 89.49% of those committees who self reported to be Republican.
    Keywords: Ideology; Network Analysis; Stochastic Block Models
    JEL: D85 D72 P16
    Date: 2017–12–10
  9. By: Moriconi, Simone (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Peri, Giovanni (University of California, Davis); Pozzoli, Dario (Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: The offshoring of production by multinational firms has expanded dramatically in recent decades, increasing these firms' potential for economic growth and technological transfers across countries. What determines the location of offshore production? How do countries' policies and characteristics affect the firm's decision about where to offshore? Do firms choose specific countries because of their policies or because they know them better? In this paper, we use a very rich dataset on Danish firms to analyze how decisions to offshore production depend on the institutional characteristics of the country and firm-specific bilateral connections. We find that institutions that enhance investor protection and reduce corruption increase the probability that firms offshore there, while those that increase regulation in the labor market decrease such probability. We also show that a firm's probability of offshoring increases with the share of its employees who are immigrants from that country of origin.
    Keywords: offshoring, product market, labor regulations, networks, fixed start-up costs
    JEL: F16 J38 J24
    Date: 2018–10
  10. By: Fatas, E; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez; Hector Solaz
    Abstract: We experimentally study punishment patterns across network structures, and their effect on cooperation. In a repeated public goods setting, subjects can only observe and punish their neighbors. Centralized structures (like the star network) outperform other incomplete networks and reach contribution levels like the ones observed in a complete network. Our results suggest that hierarchical network structures with a commonly observed player benefit more from sanctions not because central players punish more, but because they follow, and promote, different punishment patterns. While quasi-central players in other incomplete architectures (like the line network) retaliate, and get trapped in the vicious circle of antisocial punishment, central players in the star network do not punish back, increase their contributions when sanctioned by peripheral players, and sanction other participants in a prosocial manner. Our results illustrate recent field studies on the evolutionary prevalence of hierarchical networks. We document a network-based rationale for this positive effect in an identity-free, fully anonymous environment.
    Keywords: Public good experiments, networks, monitoring, punishment
    Date: 2018–11–14
  11. By: Kumar, Neha; Raghunathan, Kalyani; Arrieta, Alejandra; Jilani, Amir Hamza; Chakrabarti, Suman; Menon, Purnima; Quisumbing, Agnes R.
    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 networks 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. An important insight, however, is that the SHGs themselves cannot be expected to increase knowledge of public entitlement schemes in absence of a deliberate effort to do so by an external agency.
    Keywords: INDIA; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; self-help groups; women; public services; empowerment; citizen participation; social capital; government entitlement; social networks; political participation
    Date: 2018
  12. By: Anton Grobler (University of South Africa)
    Abstract: Background: The trust relationship between employees and their supervisors (called Supervisory trust) has a definite impact on employee behaviour and attitudes. Furthermore, various studies found that Ethical leadership impacts on Supervisory trust, but in different contexts, and often with homogeneous or limited samples. The interactionist construct of Person-organisational fit (P-O fit), consisting of a combination of Supplementary fit (indirect fit or value congruence) and Complementary fit (direct or person-job fit, as well as needs-supply fit) may, however, impact on the relationship between ethical leadership and supervisory trust. The unique permutations of these relationships are important not only for conceptualisation purposes, but also for intervention design to enhance the employees? trust in their supervisors; this would contribute to positive employee behaviour and attitudes.Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between Ethical leadership and Supervisory trust, with possible mediation by P-O fit.Setting: The research was conducted with ±60 employees from each of 17 private sector and four public sector organisations in South Africa.Method: This study utilised a positivist methodology based on an empirical approach, while using a cross-sectional design and quantitative analysis. The sample is relatively representative (in terms of race, gender and the South African work force), as it consisted of 60 employees from each of the 21 South African organisations that participated in the study, with 1 260 respondents in total.Results: Significant, positive relationships were found between Ethical leadership, P-O fit and Supervisory trust. Additionally, it was found that P-O fit partially mediates the relationship between Ethical leadership and Supervisory trust, confirming the proposed model.Conclusion: A strong, positive relationship exists between Ethical leadership (consisting of Morality and fairness, Role clarification leadership and Power sharing leadership) and Supervisory trust, which is partially mediated by P-O fit (consisting of Supplementary fit and Complementary fit).
    Keywords: Ethical leadership; Person-organisational (P-O) fit, Supervisory trust
    JEL: D23
    Date: 2018–11

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