nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2019‒01‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Cooperation among strangers with and without a monetary system By Maria Bigoni; Gabriele Camera; Marco Casari
  2. Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools By Alesina, Alberto; Carlana, Michela; La Ferrara, Eliana; Pinotti, Paolo
  3. The Intergenerational Behavioural Consequences of a Socio-Political Upheaval By Booth, Alison L.; Meng, Xin; Fan, Elliott; Zhang, Dandan
  4. The Wider Benefits of Adult Learning: Work-Related Training and Social Capital By Jens Ruhose; Stephan L. Thomsen; Insa Weilage
  5. Social Capital and Health: A Meta-Analysis By Xindong Xue; W. Robert Reed
  6. Gender Quotas or Girls' Networks? Evidence from an Italian Research Selection By Checchi, Daniele; Kulic, Nevena; Cicognani, Simona
  7. Price Synchronicity, Inter-Firm Networks, and Business Groups in the Middle East and North Africa By Michael Siemon
  8. Correlates of Social Value Orientation: Evidence from a Large Sample of the UK Population By Peter Dolton; Richard S.J. Tol
  9. Touch Thee Not: Group Conflict, Caste Power, and Untouchability in Rural India By Dasgupta, Indraneel; Pal, Sarmistha
  10. Does "Network Closure" Beef up Import Premium? By Muscillo, Alessio; Pin, Paolo; Razzolini, Tiziano; Serti, Francesco

  1. By: Maria Bigoni (University of Bologna & IZA); Gabriele Camera (Chapman University & University of Bologna); Marco Casari (University of Bologna & IZA)
    Abstract: Human societies prosper when their members move beyond local exchange and cooperate with outsiders in the creation of wealth. Collaboration of this type presents formidable challenges because interaction is impersonal, reciprocity is unfeasible and trust cannot be easily established. Here we study this cooperation problem by modeling strategic interaction among strangers through an Intertemporal Exchange Game. The setup can be easily implemented in the laboratory to study a variety of cooperation-enhancing institutions. In particular, we study the role of a fiat monetary system by introducing intrinsically worthless tokens that can be offered in exchange for cooperation. The experiments show that a monetary system spontaneously emerges in the laboratory, and is a key institution to promote cooperation among strangers.
    Keywords: gift-giving, intertemporal trade, macroeconomic experiments, repeated games, social norms
    JEL: C70 C90 D03 E02
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Alesina, Alberto (Harvard University); Carlana, Michela (Harvard Kennedy School); La Ferrara, Eliana (Bocconi University); Pinotti, Paolo (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: If individuals become aware of their stereotypes, do they change their behavior? We study this question in the context of teachers' bias in grading immigrants and native children in middle schools. Teachers give lower grades to immigrant students compared to natives who have the same performance on standardized, blindly-graded tests. We then relate differences in grading to teachers' stereotypes, elicited through an Implicit Association Test (IAT). We find that math teachers with stronger stereotypes give lower grades to immigrants compared to natives with the same performance. Literature teachers do not differentially grade immigrants based on their own stereotypes. Finally, we share teachers' own IAT score with them, randomizing the timing of disclosure around the date on which they assign term grades. All teachers informed of their stereotypes before term grading increase grades assigned to immigrants. Revealing stereotypes may be a powerful intervention to decrease discrimination, but it may also induce a reaction from individuals who were not acting in a biased way.
    Keywords: immigrants, teachers, implicit stereotypes, IAT, bias in grading
    JEL: I24 J15
    Date: 2018–11
  3. By: Booth, Alison L. (Australian National University); Meng, Xin (Australian National University); Fan, Elliott (National Taiwan University); Zhang, Dandan (Peking University)
    Abstract: Social scientists have long been interested in the effects of social-political upheavals on a society subsequently. A priori, we would expect that, when traumas are brought about by outsiders, within-group behaviour would become more collaborative, as society unites against the common foe. Conversely, we would expect the reverse when the conflict is generated within-group. In our paper we are looking at this second form of upheaval, and our measure of within-group conflict is the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution (CR) that seriously disrupted many aspects of Chinese society. In particular, we explore how individuals' behavioural preferences are affected by within-group traumatic events experienced by their parents or grandparents. Using data from a laboratory experiment in conjunction with survey data, we find that individuals with parents or grandparents affected by the CR are less trusting, less trustworthy, and less likely to choose to compete than their counterparts whose predecessors were not direct victims of the CR.
    Keywords: preferences, behavioural economics, cultural revolution
    JEL: C91 N4
    Date: 2018–11
  4. By: Jens Ruhose; Stephan L. Thomsen; Insa Weilage
    Abstract: We propose a regression-adjusted matched difference-in-differences framework to estimate non-pecuniary returns to adult education. This approach combines kernel matching with entropy balancing to account for selection bias and sorting on gains. Using data from the German SOEP,we evaluate the effect of work-related training, which represents the largest portion of adult education in OECD countries, on individual social capital. Training increases participation in civic, political, and cultural activities while not crowding out social participation. Results are robust against a variety of potentially confounding explanations. These findings imply positive externalities from work-related training over and above the well-documented labor market effects.
    Keywords: non-pecuniary returns, social capital, work-related training, matched difference-in-differences approach, entropy balancing
    JEL: J24 I21 M53
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Xindong Xue; W. Robert Reed (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: This study investigates the extensive empirical literature on social capital and health using meta-analysis. Our final sample consists of 12,459 estimated effects taken from 450 studies. Our main result is that the overall mean size of the effect of social capital on health is very small, though it is statistically significant. This low association follows from a relatively large share of individually insignificant estimates, combined with the large sample sizes that characterize this literature. Furthermore, despite an extensive theoretical literature concerned with delineating different kinds of social capital, we find few systematic empirical differences. While cognitive social capital has a significantly stronger association with health than structural social capital, especially for mental health, the difference is empirically minor. There is no evidence of significant differences between bonding, bridging, and linking social capital.
    Keywords: Social capital, Health, Meta-analysis, Meta-regression, Partial correlation coefficient, Research synthesis, Mental health, Physical health, Self-reported health
    JEL: B49 C49 I10 I31
    Date: 2019–01–01
  6. By: Checchi, Daniele (University of Milan); Kulic, Nevena (European University Institute); Cicognani, Simona (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)
    Abstract: This article investigates the role of the gender composition of selection committees and the role of connections in promoting women in research activities. Exploiting a newly collected data set on recruitment processes to entry-level research positions in a leading Italian research centre operating mainly in the hard sciences, the study finds that bias against women manifests itself at non-tenured entry level and is attenuated by the presence of a woman on the selection committee. However, the most important predictor for recruitment in the study is previous connections with the research centre, a mechanism which, due the lower density of network links with the institute among female candidates, operates as a selection device discriminating against women. The results suggest that gender of the committee members, network structure and type of recruitment must all be taken into account in approaching recruitment policy and that very early stages of scientific careers are crucial for addressing gender bias in research.
    Keywords: connections, gender bias, gender quotas, Italy, research recruitment
    JEL: J70
    Date: 2018–12
  7. By: Michael Siemon (Cornell University)
    Abstract: Business groups are an essential part of the political economy of almost all capitalist countries. Although they have been intensely studied in regions like Latin America and East Asia, the study of business groups in the Middle East and North Africa is relatively less developed. This study presents evidence for the value-relevance, which is measured in terms of over-time correlations of stock returns, of family business groups, government ownership, and other inter-firm relationships among 1185 publicly traded firms in 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Due to the difficulty in obtaining direct observations of business group membership, business groups are inferred with methods from network analysis. More specifically, I use a community-detection algorithm to look for clusters of different types of relationships. Next, I apply a Bayesian multilevel model to estimate the associations between group comembership (as well as other relationships), and pairwise stock returns correlations. Seven exchanges in the sample show evidence in favor of the value-relevance of inferred family business groups while six show additional correlations due to government ownership beyond that associated with co-ownership more generally.
    Date: 2018–12–10
  8. By: Peter Dolton (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; National Institute of Economic and Social Research, London, UK; IZA, Bonn, Germany; CESifo, Munich); Richard S.J. Tol (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK; Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam; CESifo, Munich; Payne Institute for Earth Resources, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado)
    Abstract: We are the first to measure social value orientation in large survey, representative of the UK population. The ring measure passes tests for ecological validity, concurrent validity, and, less convincingly, internal validity. More than half of our respondents heed the welfare of others, a third is selfish. Respondents are more altruistic towards the young and the old, and towards women. Women are more altruistic, wealthier people less. People who have children or grew up with younger siblings are more altruistic, Muslims and Na’vi less. Professionals, managers, administrators and machine operators are less altruistic, students more. There is weaker evidence that left-handers, people further West, Buddhists and non- Whites are less altruistic. Effect sizes are small. That is, other-regarding preferences are either largely idiosyncratic or explained by factors we did not observe. Preference for a richer but more unequal society is highly correlated with the ring measure for social value orientation. More altruistic respondents want the government to spend more on secondary education and less on pensions, and argue for a higher carbon tax on transport fuels. There is no relationship between altruism and desired public spending on primary education, higher education, or health care.
    Keywords: social value orientation, demographic correlates
    JEL: D64
    Date: 2019–01
  9. By: Dasgupta, Indraneel (Indian Statistical Institute); Pal, Sarmistha (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of community power on the practice of untouchability in rural India. We model two-dimensional simultaneous group conflict over social norms, wherein an upper and backward (OBC) caste Hindu bloc contests the 'scheduled' castes (SCs) over the extent to which behavioural norms within the village should legitimise untouchability, even as it seeks to impose Hindu values/rituals on non-Hindus. We find that any increase in the collective resource endowment (power) of this bloc will increase the likelihood of an upper caste or OBC Hindu household practising untouchability. An increase in that of SCs, or, more interestingly, of Muslims and Christians, will reduce it. Strikingly, a marginal redistribution of resources from OBCs to upper castes may reduce it as well. Identifying a community's power with a multiplicative combination of its population share and land share, we find support for these hypotheses in data from the India Human Development Survey 2011-12.
    Keywords: caste, social norm, ritual purity, discrimination, untouchabilitly, land redistribution, caste power, India
    JEL: D72 D74 J71 J78 Z1
    Date: 2018–12
  10. By: Muscillo, Alessio (University of Siena); Pin, Paolo (Bocconi University); Razzolini, Tiziano (University of Siena); Serti, Francesco (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We investigate whether network closure in the supply chain can explain the heterogeneity observed in import premia. Using unique panel data on trade flows among beef farms in the Italian region of Piedmont, we analyze a purely sequential supply chain characterized by the co-existence of two competing production systems: domestic cattle, of lower quality and less risky, and imported cattle, of higher quality and exposed to higher risks. Our findings indicate that trust and mutual cooperation, computed in terms of network closure, are associated with increasing gains from imports and may promote the use and investment in inputs of superior quality.
    Keywords: import premium, network closure, sequential supply chain
    JEL: D22 D85 F10 F14 L14 O13
    Date: 2018–12

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