nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2019‒04‒29
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The (in)elasticity of moral ignorance By Serra-Garcia, Marta; Szech, Nora
  2. Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Götte, Lorenz; Stutzer, Alois
  3. Right-wing populist discourse on Chinese social media: Identity, otherness, and global imaginaries By Chenchen Zhang
  4. Norm Compliance,Enforcement,and the Survival of Redistributive Institutions By Gürdal, Mehmet Y.; Torul, Orhan; Vostroknutov, Alexander
  5. Stars in social media: New light through old windows? By Gaenssle, Sophia; Budzinski, Oliver
  6. Dynastic Human Capital, Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility By Adermon, Adrian; Lindahl, Mikael; Palme, Mårten
  7. Is It OK to Get in a Car with a Stranger? Risks and Benefits of Ride-pooling in Shared Automated Vehicles By Sanguinetti, Angela; Kurani, Ken; Ferguson, Beth

  1. By: Serra-Garcia, Marta; Szech, Nora
    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
  2. By: Götte, Lorenz; Stutzer, Alois
    Abstract: There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine pro-social motivation, leading to a decrease in blood donations rather than an increase. This paper provides an empirical test of how material incentives affect blood donations in a large-scale field experiment spanning three months and involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine two types of rewards: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations during the experiment, in particular among less motivated donors. Moreover, no reduction in donations is observed after the experiment. The free cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on blood donations during and after the experiment.
    Keywords: blood donations; field experiment; material incentives; motivation crowding effect; pro-social behavior
    JEL: C93 D64 H41 I18
    Date: 2019–04
  3. By: Chenchen Zhang
    Abstract: The last few years have seen the emergence of a right-wing populist discourse on Chinese social media that combines the claims, vocabulary, and style of right-wing populisms in Europe and North America with previous forms of nationalism and racism in Chinese cyberspace. In other words, it provokes a similar hostility towards immigrants, Muslims, feminism, the so-called ‘liberal elites’, and progressive values in general. This article examines how, in debating global political events such as the European refugee crisis and the American presidential election, well-educated and well-informed Chinese internet users appropriate the rhetoric of ‘Western-style’ rightwing populism to paradoxically criticise Western hegemony and discursively construct China’s ethno-racial and political identities. Through qualitative analysis of 1,038 postings retrieved from a popular social media website, this research shows that by criticising Western ‘liberal elites’, the discourse constructs China’s ethno-racial identity against the ‘inferior’ non-Western other, exemplified by non-white immigrants and Muslims, with racial nationalism on one hand; and formulates China’s political identity against the ‘declining’ Western other with realist authoritarianism on the other. We conclude by conceptualising the discourse as embodying the logics of anti-Western Eurocentrism and anti-hegemonic hegemonies. This article 1) provides critical insights into the changing ways in which self/other relations are imagined in Chinese popular geopolitical discourse; 2) sheds light on the global circulation of extremist discourses facilitated by the internet; and 3) contributes to the ongoing debate on populism and the ‘crisis’ of the liberal world order.
    Keywords: China, Far-Right, Extreme-right, social networks
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Gürdal, Mehmet Y. (bogazici university, istanbul); Torul, Orhan (bogazici university, istanbul); Vostroknutov, Alexander (General Economics 1 (Micro))
    Abstract: We study the incentives that drive behavior in redistributive institutions with various levels of enforcement. We are interested in how the opportunistic incentive to use a redistributive institution for personal gain and the desire to follow the rules of a regulated community, populated by similarly obedient individuals, interact and determine the success or failure of an institution. In the experiment, subjects can repeatedly join one of three groups, which are defined by explicitly stated injunctive norms that require to put all, half, or any amount of income to a common pool for redistribution. The treatments differ in the level of enforcement of these norms. We find that contributions are sustained only in the case of full enforcement. However, a sizeable number of subjects persist in following the norms of redistribution even after experiencing many periods of losses due to free riding. We find that subjects with strong propensity to follow norms perceive the same level of income inequality as fairer, when it was achieved without breaking the norm, and favor redistributive mechanisms with more stringent rules. This suggests that well-defined redistributive norms can create a powerful incentive for cooperation as many individuals seem to prefer stable regulated egalitarian institutions to unregulated libertarian ones. Some form of enforcement is, nevertheless, required to protect egalitarian institutions from exploitation by free riders.
    Keywords: social norms, taxation, redistribution, egalitarianism, libertarianism, limited enforcement
    JEL: C91 C92 H26 H41
    Date: 2019–04–16
  5. By: Gaenssle, Sophia; Budzinski, Oliver
    Abstract: We review the economics of superstars, originally developed for stars in traditional media, and discuss whether they are applicable for the (allegedly) novel phenomenon of stars in social media (influencer, micro-celebrities). Moreover, we analyse potentially new factors for creating social media superstardom that may be special to the nature of social media. Our overall result is that the economics of superstars, like the role of talent, market concentration effects, MacDonald-style and Adler-style effects, remain applicable and relevant for social media stars. In line with this assessment, we find that several (allegedly) new star factors in social media, like user-generated content, prosumption, disappearance of gatekeepers and authenticity, turn out to be only partly applicable or just slightly different to traditional concepts. However, algorithm management and upload strategies represent novel success factors relevant for social media superstardom that are not captured by traditional superstar theories.
    Keywords: social media,digital media,popularity,superstars,cultural economics,media economics,influencer,micro-celebrities,creators,user-generated content,prosumer,algorithm management,YouTube,Instagram,entertainment markets
    JEL: L82 Z10 L13 L15 L86 D43 D83 F23 M21 D91 L26
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Adermon, Adrian (Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy (IFAU)); Lindahl, Mikael (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg); Palme, Mårten (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We study the importance of the extended family – the dynasty – for the persistence in inequality across generations. We use data including the entire Swedish population, linking four generations. This data structure enables us to identify parents’ siblings and cousins, their spouses, and the spouses’ siblings. Using various human capital measures, we show that traditional parent-child estimates of intergenerational persistence miss almost one-third of the persistence found at the dynasty level. To assess the importance of genetic links, we use a sample of adoptees. We then find that the importance of the extended family relative to the parents increases.
    Keywords: Intergenerational mobility; extended family; dynasty; human capital;
    JEL: I24 J62
    Date: 2019–04–11
  7. By: Sanguinetti, Angela; Kurani, Ken; Ferguson, Beth
    Abstract: We currently know little about what to expect regarding ride-pooling in shared automated vehicles (SAVs). Who will be willing to share rides, with whom, and under what conditions? This report details the efforts and results funded by two seed grants that converged on these questions. A broad-based literature review and review of automated vehicle (AV designs) leads to the articulation of potential risks and benefits of the pooled SAV experience and potential design solutions and supports, respectively. Risks could be related to compromised personal space, security, control, and convenience. Design features that might mitigate these risks include large windows to afford a high degree of visibility into and out of the vehicle, spacious seating and legroom (relative to larger shared vehicles like buses, trains, and planes), access to a remote human administrator who can observe inside the vehicle at all times, easy means to program private stops that are nearby one’s ultimate origins and destinations (to maintain privacy), and options for large groups or associations to “own†a particular vehicle (e.g., a female only SAV). Benefits of pooled SAVs could be related to restoration and social capital. Design features that could support these benefits include themed interiors; quizzes, games and ambient entertainment; augmented reality windshields; flexible seating allowing riders to face each other; accommodations for food and drink; ensuring broad access; and making SAVs a canvas for local art. The reports ends with a proposed research agenda highlighting the importance of qualitative engagement with consumers to understand the issues related to: switching to pooled SAVs from various dominant travel modes (e.g., private cars, ride-hailing, public transit); leveraging analogous modes (e.g., pooled ride-hailing) to study the potential of pooled SAVs; and conducting experiments to understand the influence of various features of the pooled SAV experience that will impact consumer adoption. This report can inform SAV designers, policy-makers, private transit service providers, and other stakeholders about behavioral and design factors that will impact uptake of pooled SAVs.
    Keywords: Engineering, Intelligent vehicles, vehicle sharing, risk analysis, policy analysis, safety and security, passengers, behavior
    Date: 2019–02–01

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