nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2019‒03‒25
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Partial Norms By Giovanna d’Adda; Martin Dufwenberg; Francesco Passarelli; Guido Tabellini
  2. The (In)Elasticity of Moral Ignorance By Marta Serra-Garcia; Nora Szech
  3. Does Social Capital Encourage Disaster Evacuation? Evidence from a Cyclone in Bangladesh By Masahiro Shoji; Akira Murata
  4. Trust in Government and Effective Nuclear Safety Governance in Great Britain By Jacqueline CK Lam; Victor OK Li; David M. Reiner; Yang Han; Shan Shan Wang
  5. Voting on the Threat of Exclusion in a Public Goods Experiment By Astrid Dannenberg; Corina Haita-Falah; Sonja Zitzelsberger
  6. Non-Bayesian Social Learning and the Spread of Misinformation in Networks By Sebastiano Della Lena
  7. Occupational Social Value and Returns to Long Hours By Gicheva, Dora

  1. By: Giovanna d’Adda; Martin Dufwenberg; Francesco Passarelli; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: We consider an expanded notion of social norms that render them belief-dependent and partial, formulate a series of related testable predictions, and design an experiment based on a variant of the dictator game that tests for empirical relevance. Main results: Normative beliefs influence generosity, as predicted. Degree of partiality leads to more dispersion in giving behavior, as predicted. Keywords: Social norms, partial norms, normative expectations, consensus, experiment. JEL codes: C91, D91
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Marta Serra-Garcia (University of California, San Diego); Nora Szech (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie)
    Abstract: We investigate the elasticity of moral ignorance with respect to monetary incentives and social norm information. We propose that individuals suffer from higher moral costs when rejecting a certain donation, and thus pay for moral ignorance. Consistent with our model, we find significant willingness to pay for ignorance, which we calibrate against morally neutral benchmark treatments. We show that the demand curve for moral ignorance exhibits a sharp kink, of about 50 percent, when moving from small negative to small positive monetary incentives. By contrast, while social norms strongly favor information acquisition, they have little impact on curbing moral ignorance.
    Keywords: information avoidance, morality, unethical behavior, social norms
    JEL: D83 D91 C91
    Date: 2019–03
  3. By: Masahiro Shoji; Akira Murata
    Abstract: Prompt evacuation is essential to survival from natural disasters, but the mechanisms behind individuals?f decisions to evacuate are not well understood. Using unique survey data collected from cyclone-affected households in Bangladesh, we examine the association between social capital and the decision to evacuate. Given the difficulty in controlling for endogeneity of self-reported social capital, we employ the approach of Oster (2017) to assess the severity of omitted variable bias. We find that those with higher social capital are more likely to evacuate. This is because they perceive a lower risk of theft during evacuation, suggesting that social capital compensates for the lack of a well-functioning law enforcement authority. Further, we cannot rule out the possibility that social capital strengthens the effectiveness of an early warning system. These findings could also contribute to our understanding of the interactive roles of communities and institutions during natural disasters.
    Keywords: social capital, natural disasters, evacuation, Bangladesh, Cyclone Aila
    Date: 2018–11
  4. By: Jacqueline CK Lam (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong -Energy Policy Research Group, Judge Business School, The University of Cambridge); Victor OK Li (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong-Energy Policy Research Group, Judge Business School, The University of Cambridge); David M. Reiner (Energy Policy Research Group, Judge Business School, The University of Cambridge); Yang Han (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong); Shan Shan Wang (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
    Keywords: Nuclear power, risk perceptions, government trust, nuclear safety governance
    JEL: D81 Q42 Q48
    Date: 2018–04
  5. By: Astrid Dannenberg (University of Kassel); Corina Haita-Falah (University of Kassel); Sonja Zitzelsberger (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Ostracism is practiced by virtually all societies around the world as a means of enforcing cooperation and excluding members who show anti-social behaviors or attitudes. In this paper, we use a public goods experiment to study whether groups choose to implement an institution that allows for the exclusion of members. We distinguish between a costless exclusion institution and a costly exclusion institution that, if chosen, reduces the endowment of all players. We also provide a comparison with an exclusion institution that is exogenously imposed upon groups. A significant share of the experimental groups choose the exclusion institution, even when it comes at a cost, and the support for the institution increases over time. Average contributions to the public good are significantly higher when the exclusion option is available, not only because low contributors are excluded but also because high contributors sustain a higher cooperation level under the exclusion institution. Subjects who vote in favor of the exclusion institution contribute more than those who vote against it, but only when the institution is implemented. These results are largely inconsistent with standard economic theory but can be better explained by assuming heterogeneous groups in which some players have selfish and others have social preferences.
    Keywords: public goods experiment; cooperation; ostracism; institutional choice; social preferences
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D02 D71 H41
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Sebastiano Della Lena (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: People are exposed to a constant flow of information about economic, social and political phenomena; nevertheless, misinformation is ubiquitous in the society. This paper studies the spread of misinformation in a social environment where agents receive new information each period and update their opinions taking into account both their experience and neighborhood's ones. I consider two types of misinformation: permanent and temporary. Permanent misinformation is modeled with the presence of stubborn agents in the network and produces long-run effects on the agents learning process. The distortion induced by stubborn agents in social learning depends on the “updating centrality”, a novel centrality measure that identifies the key agents of a social learning process, and generalizes the Katz-Bonacich measure. Conversely, temporary misinformation, represented by shocks of rumors or fake news, has only short-run effects on the opinion dynamics. Results rely on spectral graph theory and show that the consensus among agents is not always a sign of successful learning. In particular, the consensus time is increasing with respect to the “bottleneckedness” of the underlying network, while the learning time is decreasing with respect to agents' reliance on their private signals.
    Keywords: Opinion Dynamics in Networks, Non-Bayesian Social Learning, Stubborn Agents, Speed of Convergence
    JEL: D83 D85 D72 Z10
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Gicheva, Dora (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper examines the phenomenon of uncompensated long hours in jobs with pro-social characteristics and presents evidence that long-hour wage premiums and occupational social value are substitutes in compensating salaried workers who supply hours exceeding the standard workweek. I show that the social value of an occupation, in particular the degree to which jobs involve helping or providing service to others, is inversely related to long-hour pay. Allowing for heterogeneity in the degree to which workers value their job's helping orientation allows me to explore how gender differences in employees' attitudes toward pro-social behavior can explain some of the observed occupational sorting trends and gender differences in long-hour compensation. Women tend to be more strongly drawn to "helping" occupations and at the same time receive lower long-hour premiums in these jobs relative to men. I offer a theoretical framework to rationalize the empirical trends.
    Keywords: job characteristics; return to long hours; occupational choice; gender differences;
    JEL: J16 J24 J31
    Date: 2019–03–21

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