nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒01‒06
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Driven by Institutions, Shaped by Culture: Human Capital and the Secularization of Marriage in Italy By David de la Croix; Fabio Mariani; Marion Mercier
  2. Radical Distrust: Are Economic Policy Attitudes Tempered by Social Trust? By Hans Pitlik; Martin Rode
  3. Identifying network ties from panel data: theory and an application to tax competition By Áureo de Paula; Imran Rasul; Pedro CL Souza
  4. Informative social interactions By Arrondel, Luc; Calvo-Pardo, Hector; Giannitsarou, Chryssi; Haliassos, Michael
  5. Interpersonal trust in a hospital context : a proposed analysis of the effects of proximities By Laurent Mériade; Corinne Rochette; Damien Talbot
  6. Studying More to Vote Less: Education and Voter Turnout in Italy By Harka, Elona; Rocco, Lorenzo
  7. Peer effects in stock market participation: Evidence from immigration By Anastasia Girshina; Thomas Y. Mathä; Michael Ziegelmeyer
  8. Do Appeals to Donor Benefits Raise More Money than Appeals to Recipient Benefits? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment with Pick.Click.Give. By John A. List; James J. Murphy; Michael K. Price; Alexander G. James
  9. Social Security Expansion and Neighborhood Cohesion: Evidence from Community-Living Older Adults in China By Bradley, Elizabeth; Chen, Xi; Tang, Gaojie

  1. By: David de la Croix (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Fabio Mariani (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Marion Mercier (CNRS, Université Paris-Dauphine)
    Abstract: We study the mechanisms behind the process of secularization and how they relate to human capital accumulation. We fist analyze empirically the spread of civil (vs religious) marriages in Italy. Successively using a panel of municipality-level census data and a sample of individuals from a household survey, we document a robust, positive correlation between human capital and secularization in marriage. Moreover, secularization is found to be more responsive to education (i) in the presence of high levels of social capital and/or weak family ties, and (ii) after the legalization of divorce in 1971. To understand the mechanisms behind these results, we develop a theory of religiosity, education, and marriage choices, in which individuals who divorce face a relatively higher return to human capital compared to religious capital. Our theory suggests that a positive association between human capital and secularization can emerge across individuals (and localities) even in the absence of a direct effect of education on religiosity. Consistent with our empirical findings, the legalization of divorce plays a central role in unleashing the forces of secularization in marriage, and different patterns in the education - secularization nexus can be traced back to different systems of incentives, as shaped by civic capital and family ties.
    Keywords: Secularization; Human capital; Marriage; Divorce
    JEL: Z12 J12 I25 N34 O4
    Date: 2019–12–12
  2. By: Hans Pitlik; Martin Rode
    Abstract: Debates about the appropriate role of markets and governments are often shaped by sharply contrasting opinions. Based on individual data from the World Values Survey and the European Values Study for up to 190,000 respondents in a sample of 68 democratic countries, we find that social trust is associated with tempered attitudes regarding government intervention and redistribution. Results corroborate ideas from socio-psychological research that trusting people have personality attributes which work towards a moderation on politically divisive topics. Complementary to the existing literature on political polarisation, this opens the possibility that trusting societies may be superior at implementing controversial policy reforms because social trust reduces the probability of extreme attitude formation.
    Keywords: Social trust, polarisation, policy attitudes, preference formation
    Date: 2019–12–18
  3. By: Áureo de Paula (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Imran Rasul (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London and IFS); Pedro CL Souza (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: 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: 2019–10–21
  4. By: Arrondel, Luc; Calvo-Pardo, Hector; Giannitsarou, Chryssi; Haliassos, Michael
    Abstract: We design, field and exploit survey data from a representative sample of the French population to examine whether informative social interactions enter households'stockholding decisions. Respondents report perceptions about their circle of peers with whom they interact about financial matters, their social circle and the population. We provide evidence for the presence of an information channel through which social interactions influence perceptions and expectations about stock returns, and financial behavior. We also find evidence of mindless imitation of peers in the outer social circle, but this does not permeate as many layers of financial behavior as informative social interactions do.
    Keywords: Information networks,Social interactions,Subjective expectations,Peer effects,Portfolio choice
    JEL: D12 D83 D84 G11 C42
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Laurent Mériade (CleRMa - Clermont Recherche Management - Clermont Auvergne - École Supérieure de Commerce (ESC) - Clermont-Ferrand - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Corinne Rochette (CleRMa - Clermont Recherche Management - Clermont Auvergne - École Supérieure de Commerce (ESC) - Clermont-Ferrand - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Damien Talbot (CleRMa - Clermont Recherche Management - Clermont Auvergne - École Supérieure de Commerce (ESC) - Clermont-Ferrand - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne)
    Abstract: Interpersonal trust is defined as a social resource that facilitates cooperation by enabling better coordination of interaction. The "Proximity school" shows that the closer the players are on a spatial, cognitive, social, organizational or institutional dimension, the greater the likelihood that they forge a strong relationship. Through the case study of a French cancer diagnosis, treatment and research center-Centre de Lutte Contre le Cancer (CLCC)-our research objective is to analyse how the proximities between actors in a public hospital are involved in the construction of interpersonal trust. The notion of trust is characterized by its cognitive and affective dimensions according to a grid of proximity. We show how proximity affects trust in these two dimensions. Résumé La confiance interpersonnelle est définie comme une ressource sociale qui facilite la coopération en permettant une meilleure coordination des interactions entre des acteurs. L'École de la Proximité montre que plus ces acteurs sont proches sur un plan spatial, cognitif, social, organisationnel ou institutionnel, plus la probabilité qu'ils nouent une relation est forte. À partir de l'étude de cas d'un Centre de Lutte contre de le Cancer (CLCC), notre objectif de recherche vise à analyser en quoi les proximités entre les acteurs d'un établissement hospitalier participent à la construction de la confiance interpersonnelle. La confiance est ainsi caractérisée dans ses dimensions cognitive et affective à partir de la grille de la proximité. Nous montrons quels sont les effets des proximités sur la confiance dans ses deux dimensions.
    Keywords: confiance,case study,interpersonal,public hospital,trust,proximity,proximités,hôpital,public,interpersonnel Keywords: trust,hospital
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Harka, Elona (University of Padova); Rocco, Lorenzo (University of Padova)
    Abstract: We use Italian municipality data on education and voter participation in national elections to estimate the effect of schooling on voter turnout. By adopting a fixed effect instrumental variable identification strategy, we find that education reduces voter turnout, more so in municipalities with higher income, lower social capital, which experienced political misconduct in the past and have low institutional quality. Analysis with individual data confirms these results. We discuss several mechanisms to rationalize our findings ranging from the opportunity cost of time to disaffection and civic protest.
    Keywords: voter turnout, education, Italy, protest
    JEL: I20 I26 D72
    Date: 2019–12
  7. By: Anastasia Girshina; Thomas Y. Mathä; Michael Ziegelmeyer
    Abstract: This paper studies how peers’ financial behaviour affects individuals’ own investment choices. To identify the peer effect, we exploit the unique composition of the Luxembourg population and use the differences in stock market participation across various immigrant groups to study how they affect stock market participation of natives. We solve the reflection problem by instrumenting immigrants’ stock market participation with lagged participation rates in their countries of birth. We separate the peer effect from the contextual and correlated effects by controlling for neighbourhood and individual characteristics. We find that stock market participation of immigrant peers has sizeable effects on that of natives. We also provide evidence that social learning is one of the channels through which the peer effect is transmitted. However, social learning alone does not account for the entire effect and we conclude that social utility might also play an important role in peer effects transmission.
    Keywords: Peer effects, stock market participation, social utility, social learning
    JEL: D14 D83 G11 I22
    Date: 2019–12
  8. By: John A. List; James J. Murphy; Michael K. Price; Alexander G. James
    Abstract: We partnered with Alaska’s Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions Program to implement a statewide natural field experiment with 540,000 Alaskans designed to explore whether targeted appeals emphasizing donor benefits through warm glow impact donations. Results highlight the relative import of appeals to self. Individuals who received such an appeal were 4.5 percent more likely to give and gave 20 percent more than counterparts in the control group. Yet, a message that instead appealed to recipient benefits had no effect on average donations relative to the control group. We also find evidence of long-run effects of warm glow appeals in the subsequent year.
    JEL: C93 D03 D64 H41 L3
    Date: 2019–12
  9. By: Bradley, Elizabeth (Vassar College); Chen, Xi (Yale University); Tang, Gaojie (Jinan University)
    Abstract: Grants and services provided by the government may crowd out informal arrangements, thus weakening informal caring relations and networks. In this paper, we examine the impact of social security expansion on neighborhood cohesion of elders using China's New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS), one of the largest existing pension program in the world. Since its launch in 2009, more than 400 million Chinese have enrolled in NRPS. We use two waves of China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) to examine the effect of pension receipt on two dimensions of neighborhood cohesion among older adults, i.e. participation in collective recreational activities (e.g., socializing and organizational activities) and altruistic activities (e.g., helping those in need in the community), and the frequencies of these activities. Employing an instrumental variable approach, our empirical strategy addresses the endogeneity of pension receipt via exploiting geographic variation in pension program roll-out. We find evidence that receiving pension only slightly reduces collective recreational activities while significantly crowding out altruistic activities in the communities.
    Keywords: neighborhood cohesion, pension, crowd out, diversity
    JEL: H55 I38 O22
    Date: 2019–12

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