nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒05‒04
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance By Cristina Bicchieri; Eugen Dimant; Simon Gaechter; Daniele Nosenzo
  2. Culture, Institutions and Economic Growth. By Marion Payen; Patrick Rondé
  3. A Social Network Analysis of Occupational Segregation By I. S. Buhai; M. J. van der Leij
  4. Lock-downs, Loneliness and Life Satisfaction By Daniel S. Hamermesh
  5. Polygyny, inequality, and social unrest By Krieger, Tim; Renner, Laura
  6. Viral Social Media Videos Can Raise Pro-Social Behaviours When an Epidemic Arises By Youting Guo; Jason Shachat; Matthew J. Walker; Lijia Wei
  7. The Geographic Spread of COVID-19 Correlates with Structure of Social Networks as Measured by Facebook By Theresa Kuchler; Dominic Russel; Johannes Stroebel
  8. Can Child Marriage Law Change Attitudes and Behaviour? Experimental Evidence from an Information Intervention in Bangladesh By Amrit Amirapu; M Niaz Asadullah; Zaki Wahhaj
  9. Curse of the Mummy-ji: The Influence of Mothers-in-Law on Women in India By S Anukriti; Catalina Herrera-Almanza; Mahesh Karra; Praveen Kumar Pathak

  1. By: Cristina Bicchieri; Eugen Dimant; Simon Gaechter; Daniele Nosenzo
    Abstract: We study how an individual‘s compliance with social norms is inuenced by other actors‘ norm compliance. In a repeated non-strategic Take-or-Give donation experiment we show that giving is considered socially appropriate while taking is socially inappropriate. Observing norm violations erodes an individual‘s own norm compliance. We show that the erosion of norm compliance is led by a change in norm-related beliefs. This change has a major effect on individuals who initially obey the norm, driving them to non-compliance, whereas initially non-compliant individuals do not change their taking behavior. Erosion is halted when individuals have even minimal social proximity to those they observe: individuals now also pay attention to norm followers.
    Keywords: norm compliance, social norms, social proximity
    JEL: C92 D64 D90
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Marion Payen; Patrick Rondé
    Abstract: Are formal and informal institutions complementary or substitutable ? In this article, we argue that formal and informal institutions have a complementary relationship rather than a substitutable one. We study the possible complementarity between formal institutions, measured by Institutional Profiles Database (IPD), and informal institutions, measured by the World Value Survey (WVS), by including both into a growth model. Our main result shows that the interaction effect between informal and formal institutions in a country positively impacts growth, which support the hypothesis of a complementary between both of them.
    Keywords: economic growth, formal institutions, informal institutions.
    JEL: O11 O43
    Date: 2020
  3. By: I. S. Buhai; M. J. van der Leij
    Abstract: We develop a network model of occupational segregation between social groups divided along gender or racial dimensions, generated by the existence of positive assortative matching among individuals from the same group. If referrals are important for job search, then expected homophily in the structure of job contact networks induces different career choices for individuals from different social groups. This further translates into stable occupational segregation equilibria in the labor market. We derive conditions for wage and unemployment inequality in the segregation equilibria and characterize both the first and the second best social welfare optima. We find that utilitarian socially optimal policies always involve segregation, but that integration policies are justifiable by additional distributional concerns. Our analysis suggests that social interaction through homophilous job referral networks is an important channel for the propagation and persistence of gender and racial inequalities in the labour market, complementary to classical theories such as taste or statistical discrimination.
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Daniel S. Hamermesh
    Abstract: Using the 2012-13 American Time Use Survey, I find that both who people spend time with and how they spend it affect their happiness, adjusted for numerous demographic and economic variables. Satisfaction among married individuals increases most with additional time spent with spouse. Among singles, satisfaction decreases most as more time is spent alone. Assuming that lock-downs constrain married people to spend time solely with their spouses, simulations show that their happiness may have been increased compared to before the lock-downs; but sufficiently large losses of work time and income reverse this inference. Simulations demonstrate clearly that, assuming lock-downs impose solitude on singles, their happiness was reduced, reductions that are made more severe by income and work losses.
    JEL: I12 I31 J22
    Date: 2020–04
  5. By: Krieger, Tim; Renner, Laura
    Abstract: This paper proposes three theoretical mechanisms through which polygyny may be related to social unrest. The mechanisms are related to different dimensions of grievance-inducing and, partly, greed-related inequality, which may occur in polygynous societies. These dimensions include (i) economic, reproductive and social inequality resulting in relative deprivation among non-elite men; (ii) inequality within elites when it comes to the distribution of resources and inheritance, both related to the relative position of dependent family members in a clan; and (iii) gender inequality in general. Using data for 41 African countries from 1990{2014, we provide evidence for these mechanisms and their relationship to social unrest. We find that especially the first and third dimension of inequality are correlated with social unrest. Furthermore, we consider several potential counter-arguments but do not find support for them.
    Keywords: Polygyny,Inequality,Women's Rights,Social Unrest,Africa,Institutions
    JEL: D74 J12 J16
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Youting Guo (School of Economics and Management, Wuhan University, China); Jason Shachat (School of Economics and Management, Wuhan University, China; Department of Economics and Finance, Durham University Business School, United Kingdom); Matthew J. Walker (Department of Economics and Finance, Durham University Business School, United Kingdom); Lijia Wei (School of Economics and Management, Wuhan University, China)
    Abstract: At the onset of an epidemic, can viral social media videos induce the high levels of trust and pro-sociality required for a successful community response? Shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China, we conducted an experiment assessing the impact of viral videos on individual preferences and pro-social behaviour. Prior to the experiment, participants viewed one of three videos culled from Chinese social media: a central government leader visiting a local hospital and supermarket, health care volunteers transiting to Wuhan, or an emotionally neutral video unrelated to the emergency. Viewing one of the first two videos leads to higher levels of prosociality and increased ambiguity aversion relative to the third video. The leadership video, however, induces lower levels of trust. Our results suggest ways to craft more effective crisis response efforts and provide insights into how the direction of information in hierarchies influences trust in community members.
    Keywords: Viral Social Media; Pro-Sociality; Risk Attitude; Health Communications; Experiment
    JEL: C93 H12 I12
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Theresa Kuchler; Dominic Russel; Johannes Stroebel
    Abstract: We use anonymized and aggregated data from Facebook to show that areas with stronger social ties to two early COVID-19 "hotspots" (Westchester County, NY, in the U.S. and Lodi province in Italy) generally have more confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 30, 2020. These relationships hold after controlling for geographic distance to the hotspots as well as for the income and population density of the regions. These results suggest that data from online social networks may prove useful to epidemiologists and others hoping to forecast the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
    JEL: I0 R0
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Amrit Amirapu; M Niaz Asadullah; Zaki Wahhaj
    Abstract: The practice of child marriage is ubiquitous in developing countries, where one in three girls is married before the age of 18. Although most developing countries have a legal minimum age of marriage, in practice marriage age is determined by social norms rather than the law. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that formal laws can influence social norms and marriage behaviour in a setting with weak law enforcement. We do this by administering a randomised video-based information treatment that accelerates knowledge transmission about a new child marriage law in Bangladesh. Our information treatments led to a change in participants' own attitudes and behaviour (including reported attitudes regarding appropriate marriage age and willingness to contribute to a charity that campaigns against child marriage), but did not substantially influence their beliefs about attitudes or practices prevalent in their community. Follow-up surveys conducted 5 and 10 months after the intervention show an increase in early marriage among adolescent girls within treatment households. These perverse effects are driven by households where the father and family elders were informed about the new law but are absent in households where only the mother is informed. The findings highlight a) the existence of informational frictions within housholds and b) the risk of a backlash effect against a law that contradicts traditional norms and practices.
    Keywords: age of marriage; social norms; formal institutions; legal change
    JEL: J12 J16 K36
    Date: 2020–03
  9. By: S Anukriti (Boston College and IZA); Catalina Herrera-Almanza (Northeastern University); Mahesh Karra (Boston University); Praveen Kumar Pathak (Jamia Millia Islamia)
    Abstract: Restrictive social norms and strategic constraints imposed by family members can limit women’s access to and benefits from social networks, especially in patrilocal societies. We characterize young married women’s social networks in rural India and analyze how inter-generational power dynamics within the household affect their network formation. Using primary data from Uttar Pradesh, we show that co-residence with the mother-in-law is negatively correlated with her daughter-in-law’s mobility and ability to form social connections outside the household, especially those related to health, fertility, and family planning. Our findings suggest that the mother-in-law’s restrictive behavior is potentially driven by the misalignment of fertility preferences between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. The lack of peers outside the household lowers the daughter-in-law’s likelihood of visiting a family planning clinic and of using modern contraception. We find suggestive evidence that this is because outside peers (1) positively influence daughter-in-law’s beliefs about the social acceptability of family planning and (2) enable the daughter-in-law to overcome mobility constraints by accompanying her to health clinics.
    Keywords: family planning, India, mobility, mother-in-law, reproductive health, social networks
    JEL: J12 J13 J16 O15
    Date: 2020–04

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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