nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2019‒08‒19
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Formation of Prosociality: Causal Evidence on the Role of Social Environment By Kosse, Fabian; Deckers, Thomas; Pinger, Pia; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah; Falk, Armin
  2. Bringing together “old” and “new” ways of solving social dilemmas? The case of Spanish Gitanos By Espín, Antonio M.; Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Gamella, Juan; Herrmann, Benedikt; Martin, Jesus
  3. Repeated Shocks and Preferences for Redistribution By Gualtieri, Giovanni; Nicolini, Marcella; Sabatini, Fabio
  4. Healing a Wary, Self-cultivating Society through Education By Kim, Hisam
  5. The Influence of Misperceptions about Social Norms on Substance Use among School-age Adolescents By Amialchuk, Aliaksandr; Ajilore, Gbenga; Egan, Kevin
  6. Witnessing wrongdoing: the effects of observer power on incivility intervention in the workplace By Hershcovis, M.S; Neville, L; Reich, Tara C.; Christie, A; Cortina, L.M; Shan, V
  7. Decisions on Extending Group Membership: Evidence from a Public Good Experiment By Grund, Christian; Harbring, Christine; Thommes, Kirsten; Tilkes, Katja Rebecca
  8. Cooperative member commitment, trust and social pressure By Hao, Jinghui; Bijman, Jos; Heijman, Wim; Tan, Caifeng
  9. Economic preferences and trade outcomes By Korff, Alex; Steffen, Nico
  10. From Citizen's Rights to Civic Responsibilities By Ronconi, Lucas

  1. By: Kosse, Fabian (LMU Munich); Deckers, Thomas (University of Bonn); Pinger, Pia (University of Bonn); Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah (DICE); Falk, Armin (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: This study presents descriptive and causal evidence on the role of social environment for the formation of prosociality. In a first step, we show that socio-economic status (SES) as well as the intensity of mother-child interaction and mothers\' prosocial attitudes are systematically related to elementary school children\'s prosociality. In a second step, we present evidence on a randomly-assigned variation of the social environment, providing children with a mentor for the duration of one year. Our data include a two-year follow-up and reveal a significant and persistent increase in prosociality in the treatment relative to the control group. Moreover, enriching the social environment bears the potential to close the observed gap in prosociality between low and high SES children. A mediation analysis of the observed treatment effect suggests that prosociality develops in response to stimuli in the form of prosocial role models and intense social interactions.
    Keywords: formation of preferences; prosociality; social preferences; trust; social inequality;
    JEL: D64 C90
    Date: 2019–07–30
  2. By: Espín, Antonio M.; Brañas-Garza, Pablo; Gamella, Juan; Herrmann, Benedikt; Martin, Jesus
    Abstract: Humans often punish non-cooperators in one-shot interactions among genetically-unrelated individuals. So-called altruistic punishment poses an evolutionary puzzle because it enforces a cooperation norm that benefits the whole group, but is costly for the punisher. Under the “big mistake” (or “mismatch”) hypothesis, social behavior such as punishment evolved by individual selection at a time when repeated interactions with kin prevailed. It then misfired in modern humans, who “mistakenly” apply it in sporadic interactions with unrelated individuals. In contrast, cultural group selection theories emphasize cultural differences in normative behavior and the role of intergroup competition and punishment for the emergence of large-scale cooperation in the absence of genetic relatedness. We conducted a series of multilateral-cooperation economic experiments with a sample of Spanish Romani people (Gitanos), who represent a unique cultural group to test the predictions of the two accounts: Gitano communities rely heavily on close kin-based networks, maintain high consanguinity rates and display a particularly strong sense of ethnic identity. A total of 320 Gitano and non-Gitano (i.e., the majority Spanish population) participants played a one-shot public goods game with punishment in either ethnically homogeneous or ethnically mixed (half Gitano and half non-Gitano) four-person groups. In the homogeneous groups, punishment was commonly used by non-Gitanos but virtually inexistent among Gitanos. In the mixed groups, however, Gitanos who did not cooperate were severely punished by other Gitanos, but also by non-Gitanos (particularly males in both cases). The results are more consistent with cultural group selection and also qualify some of its predictions.
    Keywords: cooperation, punishment, Gypsy/Roma, ethnicity, culture, evolution
    JEL: C93 H41 J71 Z13
    Date: 2019–07–31
  3. By: Gualtieri, Giovanni (National Research Council, Italy); Nicolini, Marcella (University of Pavia); Sabatini, Fabio (Sapienza University of Rome)
    Abstract: A society that believes wealth to be determined by random "luck", rather than by merit, demands more redistribution. We present evidence of this behavior by exploiting a natural experiment provided by the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009, which hit a large area of Central Italy through a series of destructive shakes over eight days. Matching detailed information on the ground acceleration registered during each shock with survey data about individual opinions on redistribution we show that the average intensity of the shakes is associated with subsequent stronger beliefs that, for a society to be fair, income inequalities should be levelled by redistribution. The shocks, however, are not all alike. We find that only the last three shakes - occurred on the fourth and the eighth day of the earthquake - have a statistically significant impact. Overall, we find that the timing and repetition of the shocks play a role in informing redistributive preferences.
    Keywords: redistribution, inequality, natural disasters, earthquakes, multiple shocks
    JEL: H10 H53 D63 D69 Z1
    Date: 2019–07
  4. By: Kim, Hisam
    Abstract: Can education improve Korea's self-cultivating society which has left its people untrusting of others? Reforming public education, particularly eliminating rote-based learning and encouraging horizontal and participatory classes, will enhance peer relationships, trust and cooperation to ultimately contribute to reversing the decline in social capital. - The significance of social capital, which is formed of interpersonal relationships and interaction, is recognized throughout society. - Amid the growing popularity of the "each to his own" mentality, Korea is experiencing a continuous decline in mutual trust. - The low degree of happiness in Koreans is due to the lack of social capital. - In Northern European countries that apply horizontal collaborative methods, people with higher education show stronger social trust. But, this is not the case for Korea and East European countries wherein one-sided lectures are more dominant. - How children are taught is more signifiant to the cultivation of social capital than what is taught. What is critical to fostering social capital is how to teach, not what to teach. - A high proportion (81%) of Korean respondents described high school as a 'battlefield.' - Korean undergraduates have low public trust and prefer self-help methods to collective solutions. - Korea has the lowest percentage of those who believe that the general public and government officials will meet social norms. - Korea shows low willingness to make donations and has weak solidarity. - About 73% of Korean respondents preferred a secluded residential environment for privacy protection over communication and interaction. - Korean undergraduates believe that as the level of education increases, the level of cooperative sprit decreases. - Social capital increased further among students who were more frequently exposed to PBL activities. - Students who received a horizontal-type education showed more increases in their network of friends and better perceptions about social capital at the end of the semester. - Peer relationships fostered in the course of horizontal interactions were found to improve perceptions and attitudes about social capital. - Having experienced random grouping in class, students became more receptive to cooperating with others who are unfamiliar. - Horizontal interaction could be enhanced by adopting constructivism through, for example, PBL and flipped classroom programs. - It is necessary to extend evaluation systems to an appropriate degree, such as team-based, absolute, student participatory and processfocused formats. - An innovative education environment such as bottomup changes in classes should be developed and HR systems for faculty need to be redesigned to go hand in hand with educational innovation. - Transforming teaching methods to be more horizontal and participatory is an important agenda that will contribute to not only enhancing social capital but also to fostering those with skills needed in the future.
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Amialchuk, Aliaksandr; Ajilore, Gbenga; Egan, Kevin
    Abstract: Individuals often have biased perceptions about their peers' behavior. We use an economic equilibrium analysis to study the role social norms play in substance use decisions. Using a nationally representative dataset, we estimate the effect of misperception about friends' alcohol, smoking, and marijuana use on consumption of these substances by youths in grades 7–12. Overestimation of friend's substance use significantly increases adolescent's own use approximately 1 year later, and the estimated effect is robust across specifications including individual‐level fixed effects regression. The effect size is bigger for boys than for girls. The estimates for those who initially underestimated the norm suggest the possibility of a rebound/boomerang effect.
    Keywords: Substance use, Misperception, Social Norms, Adolescents, Add Health
    JEL: C23 I12 J13
    Date: 2019–02–12
  6. By: Hershcovis, M.S; Neville, L; Reich, Tara C.; Christie, A; Cortina, L.M; Shan, V
    Abstract: Research often paints a dark portrait of power. Previous work underscores the links between power and self-interested, antisocial behavior. In this paper, we identify a potential bright side to power—namely, that the powerful are more likely to intervene when they witness workplace incivility. In experimental (Studies 1 and 3) and field (Study 2) settings, we find evidence suggesting that power can shape how, why, and when the powerful respond to observed incivility against others. We begin by drawing on research linking power and action orientation. In Study 1, we demonstrate that the powerful respond with agency to witnessed incivility. They are more likely to directly confront perpetrators, and less likely to avoid the perpetrator and offer social support to targets. We explain the motivation that leads the powerful to act by integrating theory on responsibility construals of power and hierarchy maintenance. Study 2 shows that felt responsibility mediates the effect of power on increased confrontation and decreased avoidance. Study 3 demonstrates that incivility leads the powerful to perceive a status challenge, which then triggers feelings of responsibility. In Studies 2 and 3, we also reveal an interesting nuance to the effect of power on supporting the target. While the powerful support targets less as a direct effect, we reveal countervailing indirect effects: To the extent that incivility is seen as a status challenge and triggers felt responsibility, power indirectly increases support toward the target. Together, these results enrich the literature on third-party intervention and incivility, showing how power may free bystanders to intervene in response to observed incivility.
    Keywords: workplace incivility; observers; power; status threat; witnesses
    JEL: R14 J01 J50
    Date: 2017–09–01
  7. By: Grund, Christian (RWTH Aachen University); Harbring, Christine (RWTH Aachen University); Thommes, Kirsten (University of Paderborn); Tilkes, Katja Rebecca (RWTH Aachen University)
    Abstract: We experimentally analyze whether the opportunity to receive a permanent contract motivates temporary group members in a public good setting and how this affects the other group members. We compare an exogenous and an endogenous decision mechanism to extend the temporary agent's group membership. The exogenous mechanism to extend the contract is modeled by a random draw. In the endogenous setting, one other group member decides about the temporary agent's future group membership. Our results reveal that both — the decision to extend a contract and the decision mechanism itself — affect not only the temporary group member's effort but also the efforts of the permanent group members and, ultimately, also cooperation within the group after the decision has been made.
    Keywords: cooperation, experiments, groups, public good games, teams, temporary employment
    JEL: C9 M5
    Date: 2019–07
  8. By: Hao, Jinghui; Bijman, Jos; Heijman, Wim; Tan, Caifeng
    Keywords: Agribusiness
    Date: 2019–06–25
  9. By: Korff, Alex; Steffen, Nico
    Abstract: Utilizing the new Global Preference Survey (GPS) by Falk et al. (2018) and its data of unique scope on national preference structures in patience, risk attitude, reciprocity, trust and altruism, we are the first to explore a potential in uence on international trade outcomes of this broad set of economic and social preferences in a unified setting. Adding to the evidence on preferences' importance for aggregate outcomes, we find distinct relationships between national preference leanings and marked differences in trade ows and relationships, both on the country-level and between bilateral partners. Our main results suggest that countries differing in their willingness to behave negatively reciprocal tend to trade significantly less amongst each other, while countries that are patient or risk-averse tend to shift towards exporting more differentiated goods as opposed to homogeneous goods and vice versa.
    Keywords: Trade determinants,Non-Tari Barriers,Economic preferences,Sociocultural variation
    JEL: F10 F14 D01 D91 Z10
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Ronconi, Lucas (Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS))
    Abstract: In less developed countries the state does not extends its legality homogenously. A share of the population suffers its absence or its illegal presence. In this article we argue that such irregular state intervention has more negative consequences that previously thought. Individuals who suffer lack of access to citizen's rights blame the state for their hardship, and negatively reciprocate by ignoring their civic duties. The building blocks of our hypothesis are attribution theory and reciprocity. We provide evidence based on self-report survey data for almost one hundred developing countries; an observational study where compliance with civic duties can be objectively assessed; and a list experiment. The evidence indicates that people who are discriminated by government officials, or workers who do not receive legally-mandated benefits, are less likely to comply with civic duties such as voting and paying taxes. Exclusion erodes civic responsibilities.
    Keywords: reciprocity, trust, taxes, voting, rights, citizenship
    JEL: H26 I38 D63
    Date: 2019–07

This nep-soc issue is ©2019 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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