nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2019‒09‒23
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Populism and polarization in social media without fake news: The vicious circle of biases, beliefs and network homophily By Hakobyana, Zaruhi; Koulovatianos, Christos
  2. Dynamics of social networks of urban informal entrepreneurs in an African economy By Jean-Philippe Berrou; Claire Gondard-Delcroix
  3. Eat Widely, Vote Wisely ? Lessons from a Campaign Against Vote Buying in Uganda By null null; Horacio Larreguy; Benjamin Marx; Otis Reid
  4. COLLECTIVE EMOTIONS AND PROTEST VOTE By Carlo Altomonte; Gloria Gennaro; Francesco Passarelli
  5. Multi-Dimensional Observational Learning in Social Networks: Theory and Experimental Evidence By Liangfei Qiu; Asoo Vakharia; Arunima Chhikara
  6. Doing Bad to Look Good: Negative Consequences of Image Concerns on Pro-social Behavior By Ivan Soraperra; Anton Suvorov; Jeroen van de Ven; Marie Villeval
  7. Examining the Relationships between Young Adults’ Housing Tenure, Elements of Perceived Job Security and Social Capital in Britain By Oluwadamilola Aguda; Obas John Ebohon; Chris Leishman
  8. Economic growth and well-being beyond the Easterlin paradox By Sarracino, Francesco; O'Connor, Kelsey J.

  1. By: Hakobyana, Zaruhi; Koulovatianos, Christos
    Abstract: We build a search-and-matching algorithm of network dynamics with decision-making under incomplete information, seeking to understand the determinants of the observed gradual downgrading of expert opinion on complicated issues and the decreasing trust in science. Even without fake news, combining the internet's ease of forming networks with (a) individual biases, such as confirmation bias or assimilation bias, and (b) people's tendency to align their actions with those of peers, produces populist and polarization network dynamics. Homophily leads to actions with more weight on biases and less weight on expert opinion, and such actions lead to more homophily.
    Keywords: network dynamics,internet,higher-order beliefs,learning,expertopinions,biased assimilation,confirmation bias
    JEL: D85 D83 D82 D72 C78
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Jean-Philippe Berrou (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LAM - Les Afriques dans le monde - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IEP Bordeaux - Sciences Po Bordeaux - Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux); Claire Gondard-Delcroix (GREThA - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This paper carries out an analysis of the formation and transformation of social relations and networks of access to resources in the professional trajectory of micro-entrepreneurs operating in an urban informal African economy. The analysis of social networks is rooted in Granovetter's structural embeddedness framework combined with the dynamic and discursive conception of social relations of Harisson White (embeddedness and decoupling). Life stories of micro and small entrepreneurs in Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina-Faso) are analyzed by mixing qualitative and quantitative methods. Results suggest that the construction of social networks and interpersonal relations of access to resources is a long-term process. A co-construction of social networks and economic activity is observed; it challenges the argument that social capital is a substitute for a lack of personal resources. The growth of small and micro activities is linked to the professionalization and stabilization of a social network, and even to the institutionalization of access to resources.
    Keywords: Embeddedness,Social Networks,Informal economy,Entrepreneurial stories,Mixed methods JEL Classification
    Date: 2018–01–09
  3. By: null null (Harris School of Public Policy); Horacio Larreguy (Harvard University); Benjamin Marx (Département d'économie); Otis Reid (Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Cambridge] (MIT))
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of one of the largest anti-vote-buying campaigns ever studied—with half a million voters exposed across 1427 villages—in Uganda’s 2016 elections. Working with civil society organizations, we designed the study to estimate how voters and candidates responded to their campaign in treatment and spillover villages, and how impacts varied with campaign intensity. Despite its heavy footprint, the campaign did not reduce politician offers of gifts in exchange for votes. However, it had sizable effects on people’s votes. Votes swung from well-funded incumbents (who buy most votes) towards their poorly-financed challengers. We argue the swing arose from changes in village social norms plus the tactical response of candidates. While the campaign struggled to instill norms of refusing gifts, it leveled the electoral playing field by convincing some voters to abandon norms of reciprocity—thus accepting gifts from politicians but voting for their preferred candidate.
    Keywords: Elections; Voting Behavior; Field Experiment; Africa
    JEL: C93 D72 O55
    Date: 2019–07
  4. By: Carlo Altomonte; Gloria Gennaro; Francesco Passarelli
    Abstract: We leverage on important findings in social psychology to build a behavioral theory of protest vote. An individual develops a feeling of resentment if she loses income over time while richer people do not, or if she does not gain as others do, i.e. when her relative deprivation increases. In line with the Intergroup Emotions Theory, this feeling is amplified if the individual identifies with a community experiencing the same feeling. Such a negative collective emotion, which we define as aggrievement, fuels the desire to take revenge against traditional parties and the richer elite, a common trait of populist rhetoric. The theory predicts higher support for the protest party when individuals identify more strongly with their local community and when a higher share of community members are aggrieved. We test this theory using longitudinal data on British households and exploiting the emergence of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in Great Britain in the 2010 and 2015 national elections. Empirical findings robustly support theoretical predictions. The psychological mechanism postulated by our theory survives the controls for alternative non-behavioral mechanisms (e.g. information sharing or political activism in local communities).
    Keywords: electoral behaviour, protest vote, populism, relative deprivation, community cohesion, UK Independence Party
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Liangfei Qiu (Warrington College of Business, University of Florida, USA); Asoo Vakharia (Warrington College of Business, University of Florida, USA); Arunima Chhikara (Warrington College of Business, University of Florida, USA)
    Abstract: The prevalence of consumers sharing their purchases on social media platforms (e.g., Instagram, and Pinterest) and the use of this information by potential future consumers have substantial implications for online retailing. In this study, we examine how product characteristics and the type of information provider jointly moderate the purchase decision in a social network setting. We first propose an analytical observational learning framework integrating the impact of product differentiation and social ties. Then, we use two experimental studies to validate our analytical results and provide additional insights. Our key findings are that the effect of learning from strangers is stronger for vertically differentiated products than for horizontally differentiated products. However, the effect of learning from friends does not depend on whether the underlying product is horizontally or vertically differentiated. What is more interesting is the nuanced role of social ties: For horizontally differentiated products, the effect of learning increases with the strength of social ties. In addition, “contact-based” tie strength is more important than “structure-based” tie strength in accelerating observational learning. These findings provide a motivation for online retailers to generate alternative strategies for increasing product sales through social networks. For example, online retailers offering horizontally differentiated products have strong incentives to cooperate with social media platforms (e.g., Instagram and Pinterest) in encouraging customers to share their purchase information.
    Keywords: Multi-Dimensional Observational Learning; Social Ties; Product Differentiation
    JEL: C91 C93 D83
    Date: 2019–09
  6. By: Ivan Soraperra (CREED - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision Making - UvA - Universiteit van Amsterdam); Anton Suvorov (National Research University Higher School of Economics [Moscow]); Jeroen van de Ven (ASE - Amsterdam School of Economics - UvA - University of Amsterdam [Amsterdam]); Marie Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Several studies show that social image concerns stimulate pro-social behavior. We study a setting in which there is uncertainty about which action is pro-social. Then, the quest for a better social image can potentially conflict with genuinely pro-social behavior. This conflict can induce \bad" behavior, where people lower both their own and others' material payoffs to preserve a good image. This setting is relevant for various types of credence goods. For example, recommending an inexpensive treatment reduces the expert's profits and may not satisfy the true needs of the client, but is generally good for the expert's image (as it signals the lack of greed). We test experimentally if people start to act bad in order to look good. We find that people care about their social image, but social image concerns alone do not induce them to act bad. That is, without future interactions, social image concerns do not lead to bad behavior. However, with future interactions, where building up a good image has instrumental value (reputational concerns), we do find evidence of bad behavior in the short run to secure higher earnings in the long run.
    Keywords: Social image,credence goods,prosocial behavior,reputation
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Oluwadamilola Aguda; Obas John Ebohon; Chris Leishman
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationships between young adults’ housing tenure, social capital, and elements of perceived job security in Britain. Young adults are faced with different situations that continue to shape their housing consumptions and decisions. Socio-psychological dimension of housing tenure decisions has been receiving attention by housing market analysts and practitioners seeking deeper understandings of UK housing market dynamics, particularly in the wake of changing tastes and preferences of young people with regards to housing decisions across major cities of the world. More specifically, very little research has been done to investigate the contributions of social capital formation, for example, neighbourhood or social integration and social relations, separated by perceived job security, on housing tenure transitions among British young adults. The initial steps taken include a synthesis of existing literature and confirmation of data availability for the study. This will ensure existing efforts are not duplicated, opening up and further revealing how the current study may contribute to existing knowledge. A quantitative approach has been designed to analyse the data obtained from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). The hypothesis drawn is that individual young adult’s tenure mobility may vary by combinations of the direction of transition, social capital, and perceived job security. It is our view that findings from this study will significantly enhance our understanding of tenure shifts amongst young adults in the UK and provide property developers, local authorities, and central governments the knowledge and information to guide urban renewal towards achieving better social cohesion and sustainable communities.
    Keywords: housing tenure; Job Security; Neighbourhood Integration; Social Capital Formation; UK
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2019–01–01
  8. By: Sarracino, Francesco; O'Connor, Kelsey J.
    Abstract: Recent studies suggest that economic growth and well-being can grow together in the long run in presence of generous social safety nets, increasing social capital and declining income inequality. We put these conditions to a test in an attempt to explain the absence of a relation between economic growth and well-being in Luxembourg. To this aim we apply an error correction model to a panel of 15 Western European countries, and we use the results to predict life satisfaction in Luxembourg between 1991 and 2015. We find that the flat trend of life satisfaction in Luxembourg is likely the result of four forces acting in opposite directions. This suggests that the available list of moderating conditions -- although not exhaustive -- is a promising starting point to design new policies to durably improve well-being.
    Keywords: time-series; subjective well-being; error correction model; life satisfaction; dynamics; inclusive growth
    JEL: D60 E6 I31 O11 O21
    Date: 2019–09–13

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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