nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2019‒10‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment By Bharat Chandar; Uri Gneezy; John List; Ian Muir
  2. State Capacity, Reciprocity, and the Social Contract By Besley, Timothy J.
  3. Charitable giving by the poor: A field experiment on matching and distance to charitable output in Kyrgyzstan By Adena, Maja; Hakimov, Rustamdjan; Huck, Steffen
  4. The Comfort of the Future: The Role of Social Norms in Constructing the Ideal towards Sustainability – A Randomised Field Experiment By Idahosa; Love O; Marwa; Nyankomo; Akotey; Joseph O
  5. Identifying Network Ties from Panel Data: Theory and an Application to Tax Competition By Aureo de Paula; Imran Rasul; Pedro Souza
  6. Immigration, Diversity and Growth By Gradstein, Mark; Justman, Moshe
  7. Debunking Rumors in Networks By Luca Paolo Merlino; Nicole Tabasso
  8. Social Capital Inequality and Subjective Wellbeing of Older Chinese By Appau, Samuelson; Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Smyth, Russell; Zhang, Quanda
  9. The impact of welfare states on social trust: theoretical and empirical foundations By Tamilina, Larysa
  10. Social comparison and energy conservation in a collective action context: A field experiment By Serhiy Kandul; Bruno Lanz; Ghislaine Lang

  1. By: Bharat Chandar; Uri Gneezy; John List; Ian Muir
    Abstract: Even though social preferences affect nearly every facet of life, there exist many open questions on the economics of social preferences in markets. We leverage a unique opportunity to generate a large data set to inform the who's, what's, where's, and when's of social preferences through the lens of a nationwide tipping field experiment on the Uber platform. Our field experiment generates data from more than 40 million trips, allowing an exploration of social preferences in the ride sharing market using bid data. Combining experimental and natural variation in the data, we are able to establish tipping facts as well as provide insights into the underlying motives for tipping. Interestingly, even though tips are made privately, and without external social benefits or pressure, more than 15% of trips are tipped. Yet, nearly 60% of people never tip, and only 1% of people always tip. Overall, the demand-side explains much more of the observed tipping variation than the supply-side.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Besley, Timothy J.
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of civic culture in expanding fiscal capacity by developing a model based on reciprocal obligations; citizens pay their taxes and the state provides public goods. Civic culture evolves over time according to the relative payoff of civic-minded and materialist citizens. A strong civic culture manifests itself as high tax revenues sustained by high levels of voluntary tax compliance and provision of public goods. This captures the idea of government as a reciprocal social contract between the state and its citizens. The paper highlights the role of political institutions and common interests in the emergence civic culture.
    Date: 2019–08
  3. By: Adena, Maja; Hakimov, Rustamdjan; Huck, Steffen
    Abstract: Previous studies of charitable giving have focused on middle or higher income earners in Western countries, neglecting the poor. Despite this focus, the lowest income groups are often shown to contribute substantial shares of their income to charitable causes. In a large-scale natural field experiment with over 180,000 cli-ents of a micro-lending company in Kyrgyzstan, we study charitable giving by a population that is much poorer relative to the typical donors that have been stud-ied so far. In a 2x2 design, we explore two main hypotheses about giving by the poor: (i) that they are more price sensitive and (ii) that they care about their prox-imity to the charitable project. We find evidence in favor of the former hypothesis but not of the latter.
    Keywords: Charitable giving,field experiments,matching donations
    JEL: C93 D64 D12
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Idahosa; Love O; Marwa; Nyankomo; Akotey; Joseph O
    Abstract: In light of the high energy consumption associated with Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) in tourism accommodation establishments, as well as the concern for guests’ satisfaction which limits the environmental actions of these establishments, this study tests the hypothesis that thermal comfort is socially constructed, and as such, social norms will be effective in influencing HVAC consumption towards more sustainable levels. Within the framework of a randomised field experiment, the response of hotel guests to message prompts to set their room thermostat to a prescribed temperature is observed. Response behaviour is monitored using Temperature data logging devises place in the rooms. Findings suggest that social norms are effective in influencing hotel guests’ room temperature settings, indicating that thermal comfort is largely socially constructed. The implication of this is that the future of the current unsustainable trend in resource consumption and Green House Gas pollution, driven by the increasing adoption of, and demand for, HVAC systems in buildings, can be modified towards more sustainable levels. The application of the behavioural intervention to testing the social construction of thermal comfort, as well as the technology adopted for observing behaviour, are a novel contribution to the existing body of knowledge.
    Keywords: Thermal Comfort, Social norms, Randomised Control Trial
    Date: 2018–07
  5. By: Aureo de Paula; Imran Rasul; Pedro Souza
    Abstract: Social interactions determine many economic behaviors, but information on social ties does not exist in most publicly available and widely used datasets. We present results on the identification of social networks from observational panel data that contains no information on social ties between agents. In the context of a canonical social interactions model, we provide sufficient conditions under which the social interactions matrix, endogenous and exogenous social effect parameters are all globally identified. While this result is relevant across different estimation strategies, we then describe how high-dimensional estimation techniques can be used to estimate the interactions model based on the Adaptive Elastic Net GMM method. We employ the method to study tax competition across US states. We find the identified social interactions matrix implies tax competition differs markedly from the common assumption of competition between geographically neighboring states, providing further insights for the long-standing debate on the relative roles of factor mobility and yardstick competition in driving tax setting behavior across states. Most broadly, our identification and application show the analysis of social interactions can be extended to economic realms where no network data exists.
    Date: 2019–10
  6. By: Gradstein, Mark; Justman, Moshe
    Abstract: International migration offers the potential for mutual economic gain-for migrants and their host countries-through an efficient reallocation of human resources and a fruitful meeting of cultures, even as cultural frictions may threaten their shared social fabric. Immigrants and natives have a common interest in prospering through cooperation but may have opposing views on how quickly immigrants should assimilate. Confrontation between the two populations can lead to immigrants culturally disengaging from the mainstream, and retard their economic integration. This paper analyzes these reciprocal cultural and economic effects, indicating the scope for growth-promoting and welfare enhancing assimilation policies.
    Date: 2019–09
  7. By: Luca Paolo Merlino (Department of Economics University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne); Nicole Tabasso (Department of Economics Ca' Foscari University of Venice; School of Economics, University of Surrey)
    Abstract: We study the diffusion of a true and a false opinion (the rumor) in a social network. Upon hearing an opinion, individuals may believe it, disbelieve it, or debunk it through costly verification. Whenever the truth survives in steady state, so does the rumor. Online social communication exacerbates relative rumor prevalence as long as it increases homophily or verification costs. Our model highlights that successful policies in the fight against rumors increase individuals’ incentives to verify.
    Keywords: Social Networks, Rumors, Verification
    JEL: D83 D85
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Appau, Samuelson; Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa; Smyth, Russell; Zhang, Quanda
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), this study provides insights on comparative wellbeing outcomes for older people who are institutionally segregated into clusters that produce uneven social capital. We present the first study that examines how institutionalized social capital inequality, measured by the social capital gap generated by hukou (household registration) status in China, affects the wellbeing of older people. Our results show that high levels of social capital inequality are associated with lower subjective wellbeing, measured by life satisfaction. This general conclusion is robust to a number of sensitivity checks including alternative ways of measuring subjective wellbeing and inequality. We also find that the negative relationship between social capital inequality and subjective wellbeing is strongest for people with a non-urban hukou living in urban areas. Our findings highlight the need for policies aimed at narrowing the social capital gap and the dismantling of institutional structures that hinder upward social capital mobility.
    Keywords: social capital, social networks, trust, social capital inequality, hukou, China
    JEL: I31 J14 O18
    Date: 2019–10–08
  9. By: Tamilina, Larysa
    Abstract: Based on the known mechanisms of trust formation, we analyze the relationship between the welfare state and social trust. Theoretical explanations show that, on the one hand, the state can destroy social trust through its negative impact on volunteering, individuals’ ability to cooperate, and a collective sense of responsibility. On the other hand, there are theories that argue about the possibility of synergy between the state and society, which are based on the idea that the state can keep the individual integrated when he or she is having difficulties, can provide a strong institutional framework within which trust deals can take place, and can foster voluntary associations from below.
    Keywords: social trust, welfare state formation, social policy
    JEL: Z0
    Date: 2018–01–01
  10. By: Serhiy Kandul; Bruno Lanz; Ghislaine Lang
    Abstract: This field experiment quantifies the impact of social norm information on the demand for indoor temperature. Based on high-frequency data from indoor temperature monitors, we provide participating households with a comparison of average temperature in their apartments relative to that measured in a control group. For more than 90 percent of participants, financial benefits of energy savings are only indirect, as building-level heating costs are shared across apartments in proportion to their volume. Despite the associated collective action problem, we estimate that the intervention induces a -0.28 °C reduction in average indoor temperature. This suggests that direct monetary incentives is not a pre-requisite for social comparison feedback to induce energy savings.
    Keywords: Informational intervention; Monetary incentives; Energy savings; Social comparison feedback; Social norms.
    JEL: C91 D12 D62 D91 H41 Q41
    Date: 2019–10

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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