nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒01‒20
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Are Political and Charitable Giving Substitutes? Evidence from the United States By Maria Petrova; Ricardo Perez-Truglia; Andrei Simonov; Pinar Yildirim
  2. Diversity, Immigration, and Redistribution By Alberto F. Alesina; Stefanie Stantcheva
  3. Yes, The Medium Matters: How Facebook and Twitter boost Populism in Europe By Piergiuseppe Fortunato; Marco Pecoraro
  4. Housing insecurity, homelessness and populism: Evidence from the UK By Fetzer, Thiemo; Sen, Srinjoy; Souza, Pedro CL
  5. Effect of environmental and altruistic attitudes on willingness-to-pay for organic and fair trade coffee in Flanders By L Maaya; M Meulders; N Surmont; Martina Vandebroek
  6. It is about timing: Network prestige in asynchronous online discussions By Chen, Bodong; Huang, Tianhui

  1. By: Maria Petrova; Ricardo Perez-Truglia; Andrei Simonov; Pinar Yildirim
    Abstract: We provide evidence that individuals substitute between political contributions and charitable contributions. We document these findings using micro data from the American Red Cross and from the Federal Election Commission. As a source of causal identification, we exploit exogenous shocks to charitable and political giving. First, we show that foreign natural disasters, which are positive shocks to charitable giving, crowd out political giving. Second, we show that political advertisement campaigns, which are positive shocks to political giving, crowd out charitable giving. Our evidence suggests that individuals give to political and charitable causes to satisfy similar needs. Our findings also suggest that some of the drivers of charitable giving, such as other-regarding preferences, may be driving political giving too.
    JEL: D64 H84
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: Alberto F. Alesina; Stefanie Stantcheva
    Abstract: This paper provides a simple conceptual framework that captures how different perceptions, attitudes, and biases about immigrants or minorities can shape preferences for redistribution. Through the lens of this framework, we review the empirical literature on the effects of racial diversity and immigration on support for redistribution in the US and Europe.
    JEL: H21 H41 J15 P16
    Date: 2020–01
  3. By: Piergiuseppe Fortunato; Marco Pecoraro
    Abstract: This paper examines how socio-economic characteristics, changes in the technology of political communication and their interactions affect the sentiments of the electorate and favor the spread of populist ideas in Europe. Using both European-wide and national surveys we find a significant association between exposure to online political activity and diffusion of populist ideas such as Euroscepticism only among less educated and economically vulnerable individuals. We also show that it is not the use of the internet per se that matters but the specific use of social networks for political activity.
    Keywords: Populism, Euroscepticism, Internet, Social Networks, Education
    JEL: D72 N34 L82 L86 Z13
    Date: 2020–01
  4. By: Fetzer, Thiemo (University of Warwick); Sen, Srinjoy (University of Warwick); Souza, Pedro CL (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Homelessness and precarious living conditions are on the rise across much of the Western world. This paper exploits exogenous variation in the affordability of rents due to a cut that substantially lowered housing benefit – a welfare benefit aimed at helping low income households pay rent. Before April 2011, local housing allowance covered up to the median level of market rents; from April 2011 onwards, only rents lower than the 30th percentile were covered. We exploit that the extent of cuts significantly depend on statistical noise due to estimation of percentiles. We document that the affordability shock caused a significant increase in: evictions; individual bankruptcies; property crimes; share of households living in insecure temporary accommodation; statutory homelessness and actual rough sleeping. The fiscal savings of the cut are much smaller than anticipated. We estimate that for every pound saved by the central government, council spending to meet statutory obligations for homelessness prevention increases by 53 pence. We further document political effects: the housing benefit cut causes lower electoral registration rates and is associated with lower turnout and higher support for Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, most likely driven by its unequal impact on the composition of those that engage with democratic processes.
    Keywords: housing markets, welfare cuts, austerity, voting JEL Classification: H2, H3, H5, P16, D72
    Date: 2019
  5. By: L Maaya; M Meulders; N Surmont; Martina Vandebroek
    Abstract: Sustainability labels on food products provide information to consumers that the product has been produced in an ethical way. We explore the knowledge and purchasing behaviour of the organic label and fair trade label. Secondly, we investigate the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for food products bearing organic and fair trade labels. Thirdly, we evaluate the correlation in WTP for organic and fair trade. Lastly, we examine the effect of environmental and altruistic attitudes on WTP for both sustainability labels. We draw our conclusions by analyzing a stated choice experiment on consumers coffee buying behaviour in Flanders, Belgium. Our results suggest that knowledge for the fair trade label is higher than that of the organic label. The importance of the organic and fair trade labels on coffee purchase decisions and their WTP estimates were similar. We found a high correlation in WTP for both labels. Our results indicate significant effects of environmental and altruistic attitudes in WTP for both organic and fair trade labels.
    Keywords: Coffee, Organic, Fair trade, Willingness-to-pay, Attitudes
    Date: 2018–10
  6. By: Chen, Bodong (University of Minnesota); Huang, Tianhui
    Abstract: Asynchronous online discussions are broadly used to support social learning. This paper reports on an undergraduate class’s online discussion activities over one semester. Applying Social Network Analysis, this study revealed a participation gap among students reflected by their varied levels of network prestige. The low-prestige group initiated equivalent volumes of interactions but were less reciprocated. In-depth analysis found the high-prestige group also advantageous in other network measures such as closeness centrality and eigenvector centrality, as well as the strength, persistence, and reciprocity of their ties. To probe potential explanations of the revealed gap, we further contrasted post content and posting behaviors between two groups. Results did not identify any significant differences in post content but found low-prestige students’ participation less timely and more temporally compressed. This paper calls for attention to the participation gap in online discussions, micro-level temporal patterns of student activities, and practical means to scaffold student participation in asynchronous online discussions.
    Date: 2019–03–18

This nep-soc issue is ©2020 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.