nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒03‒16
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Cultural Origin of Saving Behavior By Costa-Font, Joan; Giuliano, Paola; Ozcan, Berkay
  2. Governance and Group Conflict By Felix Koelle
  3. Media Bias and Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence By Fišar, Miloš; Reggiani, Tommaso G.; Sabatini, Fabio; Špalek, Jiří
  4. External Threat, Group Identity, and Support for Common Policies - The Effect of the Russian Invasion in Ukraine on European Union Identity By Kai Gehring
  5. When a Nudge Backfires: Combining (Im)Plausible Deniability with Social and Economic Incentives to Promote Behavioral Change By Gary E. Bolton; Eugen Dimant; Ulrich Schmidt
  6. Peer Effects in Networks: A Survey By Bramoullé, Yann; Djebbari, Habiba; Fortin, Bernard
  7. The Social Lives of Married Women : Peer Effects in Female Autonomy and Investments in Children By Kandpal,Eeshani; Baylis,Kathy
  8. Measuring Gender Norms in Domestic Work: A Comparison between Homosexual and Heterosexual Couples By Elisabeth Cudeville; Martine Gross; Catherine Sofer
  9. It's Not a Lie If You Believe the Norm Does Not Apply: Conditional Norm-Following with Strategic Beliefs By Cristina Bicchieri; Eugen Dimant; Silvia Sonderegger
  10. The Economics of Social Data By Dirk Bergemann; Alessandro Bonatti; Tan Gan
  11. Should I stay of should I go? Neighbors' effects on university enrollment By Barrios-Fernandez, Andres

  1. By: Costa-Font, Joan (London School of Economics); Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles); Ozcan, Berkay (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Traditional economic interpretations have not been successful in explaining differences in saving rates across countries. One hypothesis is that savings respond to cultural specific social norms. A seminal paper in economics (1) however did not find any effect of culture on savings. We revisit this evidence using a novel dataset, which allows us to study the saving behavior of up to three generations of immigrants in the United Kingdom. Against the backdrop of existing evidence, we find that cultural preferences are an important explanation for cross-country differences in saving behavior, and their relevance persists up to three generations.
    Keywords: saving, culture
    JEL: Z1 D0
    Date: 2020–02
  2. By: Felix Koelle (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: Many situations in the social and economic life are characterized by rivalry and conflict between two or more competing groups. Warfare, socio-political conflicts, political elections, lobbying, and R&D competitions are all examples of inter-group conflicts in which groups spend scarce and costly resources to gain an advantage over other groups. Here, we report on an experiment that investigates the impact of political institutions within groups on the development of conflict between groups. We find that relative to the case in which group members can decide individually on their level of conflict engagement, conflict significantly intensifies when investments are determined democratically by voting or when a single group member (the dictator) can decide on behalf of the group. These results hold for both symmetric and asymmetric contests, as well as for situations in which institutions are adopted exogenously or endogenously. Our findings thus suggest that giving people the possibility to vote is not the main reason for why democracies seem to engage in less wars than autocracies. Nevertheless, when giving participants the possibility to choose which institution to adopt, we find that the voting institution is the by far most popular one as it combines the desirable features of autonomy and equality
    Keywords: : Conflict, competition, institutions, democracy, groups, experiment
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Fišar, Miloš (Masaryk University); Reggiani, Tommaso G. (Cardiff University); Sabatini, Fabio (Sapienza University of Rome); Špalek, Jiří (Masaryk University)
    Abstract: We study the impact of media bias on tax compliance. Through a framed laboratory experiment, we assess how the exposure to biased news about government action affects compliance in a repeated taxation game. Subjects treated with positive news are significantly more compliant than the control group. The exposure to negative news, instead, does not prompt any significant reaction in respect to the neutral condition, suggesting that participants perceive the media negativity bias in the selection and tonality of news as the norm rather than the exception. Overall, our results suggest that biased news act as a constant source of psychological priming and play a vital role in taxpayers' compliance decisions.
    Keywords: tax compliance, media bias, taxation game, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C91 D70 H26 H31
    Date: 2020–01
  4. By: Kai Gehring
    Abstract: A major theory from social psychology claims that external threats can strengthen group identities and cooperation. This paper exploits the Russian invasion in Ukraine 2014 as a sudden increase in the perceived military threat for eastern European Union member states, in particular for the Baltic countries bordering Russia directly. Comparing low versus high-threat member states in a difference-in-differences design, I find a sizeable positive effect on EU identity. It is associated with higher trust in EU institutions and support for common EU policies. Different perceptions of the invasion cause a polarization of preferences between the majority and ethnic Russian minorities.
    Keywords: external threats, group identity, nation-building, trust, fiscal federalism, European Union, EU identity, Russia, Ukraine, Baltic
    JEL: D70 F50 H70 N44 Z10
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Gary E. Bolton; Eugen Dimant; Ulrich Schmidt
    Abstract: Both theory and recent empirical evidence on nudging suggest that observability of behavior acts as an instrument for promoting (discouraging) pro-social (anti-social) behavior. We connect three streams of literature (nudging, social preferences, and social norms) to investigate the universality of these claims. By employing a series of high-powered laboratory and online studies, we report here on an investigation of the questions of when and in what form backfiring occurs, the mechanism behind the backfiring, and how to mitigate it. We find that inequality aversion moderates the effectiveness of such nudges and that increasing the focus on social norms can counteract the backfiring effects of such behavioral interventions. Our results are informative for those who work on nudging and behavioral change, including scholars, company officials, and policy-makers.
    Keywords: anti-social behavior, nudge, pro-social behavior, reputation, social norms
    JEL: C91 D64 D90
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Bramoullé, Yann (Laval University); Djebbari, Habiba (Aix-Marseille University); Fortin, Bernard (Université Laval)
    Abstract: We survey the recent, fast-growing literature on peer effects in networks. An important recurring theme is that the causal identification of peer effects depends on the structure of the network itself. In the absence of correlated effects, the reflection problem is generally solved by network interactions even in non-linear, heterogeneous models. By contrast, microfoundations are generally not identified. We discuss and assess the various approaches developed by economists to account for correlated effects and network endogeneity in particular. We classify these approaches in four broad categories: random peers, random shocks, structural endogeneity and panel data. We review an emerging literature relaxing the assumption that the network is perfectly known. Throughout, we provide a critical reading of the existing literature and identify important gaps and directions for future research.
    Keywords: assimilation, immigrant health advantage, ethnic attrition
    JEL: J15 J12 I14
    Date: 2020–01
  7. By: Kandpal,Eeshani; Baylis,Kathy
    Abstract: In patriarchal societies, sticky norms affect married women's social circles, their autonomy, and the outcomes of intra-household bargaining. This paper uses primary data on women's social networks in Uttarakhand, India; the modal woman has only three friends, and over 80 percent do not have any friends of another caste. This paper examines the effect of a shock to friends'empowerment on a woman's autonomy, specifically physical mobility, access to social safety nets, and employment outside the household; perceived social norms; and an outcome of household bargaining: investments in her children. The analysis instruments for endogenous network formation using a woman's age and her caste network in the village. The key peer effect is the impact of having a friend who received an empowerment shock on a woman who did not receive that shock. The results show significant peer effects on only a few of the examined measures of women's autonomy. In contrast, peer effects exist on all considered outcomes of a daughters? diet and time spent on chores. The findings suggest a large decay rate between effects on own empowerment and peer effects. Interventions targeting child welfare through women's empowerment may generate second-order effects on intra-household decision-making, albeit with substantial decay rates, and thus benefit from targeted rather than randomized rollout. In contract, interventions on gender roles and women's autonomy may be limited by the stickiness of social norms.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Gender and Development,Hydrology,Services&Transfers to Poor,Access of Poor to Social Services,Economic Assistance,Disability,Health Care Services Industry
    Date: 2019–04–25
  8. By: Elisabeth Cudeville (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne); Martine Gross (CéSor - Centre d’études en sciences sociales du religieux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Catherine Sofer (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Women throughout the world still do most of the unpaid domestic work. To reveal the impact of social norms beside traditional economic variables on the sharing of household tasks within couples, we choose to compare the sharing of tasks between heterosexual and homosexual couples in France based on econometric estimations. The results show that, other things being equal, heterosexual couples share tasks much more unequally than homosexual couples. Assuming that the behavior of same-sex couples is not affected by gendered social norms, we then propose a measure of the impact of these norms using a Blinder-Oaxaca type decomposition.
    Keywords: Household production,Gender Inequality,Division of Housework,Gender norms,Homosexual Couples,Heterosexual Couples
    Date: 2020–01
  9. By: Cristina Bicchieri; Eugen Dimant; Silvia Sonderegger
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate whether individuals strategically distort their beliefs about dominant norms. Embedded in the context of lying, we systematically vary both the nature of elicited beliefs (descriptive about what others do, or normative about what others approve of) and whether subjects are aware of the forthcoming lying opportunity at the belief-formation stage. We build a dual-self model of belief distortion applied to the context of social norms and derive a number of precise predictions. Our findings provide a perspective on why, when and which norm-relevant beliefs are strategically distorted and show that not all belief distortions are created equal.
    Keywords: lying, social norms, strategic beliefs, uncertainty
    JEL: C72 C91 D80 D90
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Dirk Bergemann (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Alessandro Bonatti (MIT); Tan Gan (Department of Economics, Yale University)
    Abstract: A data intermediary pays consumers for information about their preferences and sells the information so acquired to ï¬ rms that use it to tailor their products and prices. The social dimension of the individual data - whereby an individual’s data are predictive of the behavior of others - generates a data externality that reduces the intermediary’s cost of acquiring information. We derive the intermediary’s optimal data policy and show that it preserves the privacy of the consumers’ identities while providing precise information about market demand to the ï¬ rms. This enables the intermediary to capture the entire value of information as the number of consumers grows large.
    Keywords: Social data, Personal information, Consumer privacy, Privacy paradox, Data intermediaries, Data externality, Data flow, Data policy, Data rights
    JEL: D44 D82 D83
    Date: 2019–09
  11. By: Barrios-Fernandez, Andres
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the decision to attend university depends on university enrollment of close neighbors. I create a unique dataset combining detailed geographic information and educational records from different public agencies in Chile, and exploit the quasi-random variation generated by the rules that determine eligibility for student loans. I find that close neighbors have a large and significant impact on university enrollment of younger applicants. Potential applicants are around 11 percentage points more likely to attend university if a close neighbor enrolled the year before. This effect is particularly strong in areas with low exposure to university and among individuals who are more likely to interact; the effect decreases both with geographic and social distance and is weaker for individuals who have spent less time in the neighborhood. I also show that the increase in university attendance translates into retention and university completion. These effects are mediated by an increase in applications rather than by an improvement on applicants' academic performance. This set of results suggests that policies that expand access to university generate positive spillovers on close peers of the direct beneficiaries.
    Keywords: neighbors' effects; university access; spatial spillovers
    JEL: I21 R23
    Date: 2019–10

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.
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