nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒08‒17
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Non-selfish behaviour: Are social preferences or social norms revealed in distribution decisions? By Heap, Shaun P. Hargreaves; Matakos, Konstantinos; Weber, Nina Sophie
  2. Cultural Identity and Social Capital in Italy By Sgroi, Daniel; Redoano, Michela; Liberini. Federica; Lockwood, Ben; Emanuele Bracco, Emanuele; Porcelli, Francesco
  3. Mechanisms of Social Capital in Organizations: How Team Cognition Influences Employee Commitment and Engagement By Kroll, Alexander; DeHart-Davis, Leisha; Vogel, Dominik
  4. Communication, Expectations and Trust: an Experiment with Three Media By Anna Lou Abatayo; John Lynham; Katerina Sherstyuk
  5. Generosity during Covid-19 the effect of social distancing and framing on donations in dictator games By Lotti, Lorenzo
  6. On the Dynamics of Corruption By Costas Azariadis; Yannis M. Ioannides
  7. The predicting abilities of social trust and good governance on economic crisis duration By Nguyen, Jessica; Dinh, Tue; Selart, Marcus
  8. Anxiety for the pandemic and trust in financial markets By Roy Cerqueti; Valerio Ficcadenti
  9. Altruism, Insurance, And Costly Solidarity Commitments By Barrett, Chris; Nourani, Vesall; Patacchini, Eleonora; Walker, Thomas
  10. Political Connections and Financial Constraints: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe By Bussolo, Maurizio; De Nicola, Francesca; Panizza, Ugo; Varghese, Richard
  11. Political connections and the super-rich in Poland By Katarzyna Salach; Michal Brzezinski
  12. Political connections and remuneration of bank board's members: Moderating effect of gender diversity By Catarina Alexandra Neves Proença; Mário António Gomes Augusto; José Maria Ruas Murteira
  13. Polarization, Antipathy, and Political Activism By Zhang, Hanzhe; Wu, Jiabin
  14. Social capital and resilience make an employee cooperate for coronavirus measures and lower his/her turnover intention By Keisuke Kokubun; Yoshiaki Ino; Kazuyoshi Ishimura
  15. The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia By Samuel Bazzi; Gabriel Koehler-Derrick; Benjamin Marx

  1. By: Heap, Shaun P. Hargreaves; Matakos, Konstantinos; Weber, Nina Sophie
    Abstract: People frequently behave non-selfishly in situations where they can reduce their own payoff to help others. It is typically assumed that such pro-social behaviour arises because people are motivated by a social preference. An alternative explanation is that they follow a social norm. We test with two survey experiments (N=2,408) which of these two explanations can better explain decisions people make in a simple distribution game under three different elicitation mechanisms. Unlike previous studies, we elicit preferences and perceived social norms directly for each subject. We find that i) norm-following better explains people’s distributive choices compared to social preferences and ii) lack of confidence in one’s social preference –itself explained by weaker social identification— predicts norm-following. Our findings imply that the Pareto criterion has weaker (than previously thought) foundations for welfare evaluations, but this effect may be attenuated in societies with stronger social identification. Perhaps unexpectedly, but unsurprisingly given i) above, we find that different mechanisms for eliciting social preferences have no effect on distribution decisions.
    Date: 2020–07–23
  2. By: Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick, IZA & ESRC CAGE Centre); Redoano, Michela (University of Warwick); Liberini. Federica (University of Bath); Lockwood, Ben (University of Warwick); Emanuele Bracco, Emanuele (Universit`a di Verona); Porcelli, Francesco (Universit`a di Bari)
    Abstract: Italy became one nation only relatively recently and as such there remains significant regional variation in trust in government and society (so-called “social capital”) as well as in language and diet. In an experiment conducted across three Italian cities we exploit variation in family background generated through internal migration and make use of novel measures of social capital, language and diet to develop a new index of cultural heritage. Our new index predicts social capital, while self-reported identity does not. The missing link between the past and current identity seems to come through grandparents (especially maternal grandmothers) who have a strong role in developing the cultural identity of their grandchildren.
  3. By: Kroll, Alexander; DeHart-Davis, Leisha; Vogel, Dominik (University of Hamburg)
    Abstract: While previous research has shown that organizational social capital benefits organizations and creates performance gains, most of this work examined this relationship at the macro level based on organizational aggregates. In this article, we study organizational social capital effects at the micro level, that is, its impact on important work-related attitudes of employees within organizations. We argue that individual perceptions of organization-wide social capital matter in determining employee attitudes like engagement and commitment. We also point to the critical role of team cognition in shaping individual perceptions of social capital in organizations. Using a representative sample of nearly twelve hundred individuals from two local government organizations in North Carolina, we find support for the indirect effect of team cognition on employee work attitudes. The findings suggest that a promising way to increase the social capital of organizations is through interventions at the team level.
    Date: 2019–06–09
  4. By: Anna Lou Abatayo (Bocconi University, University of Hawaii at Manoa and University of Guelph); John Lynham (University of Hawaii at Manoa); Katerina Sherstyuk (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
    Abstract: We study how communication under differ popular media affects trust game play. Three communication media are considered: traditional face-to- face, Facebook groups, and anonymous online chat. We consider post-communication changes in player expectations and preferences, and further analyze the contents of group communications to understand the channels though which communication enhances sender and receiver behavior. For senders, social, emotional and game-relevant contents of communication all matter, significantly influencing both their expectations of fair return and preferences towards receivers. Receiver increased trustworthiness is mostly explained by their adherence to the social norm of sending back a fair share in return for the full amount received. Remarkably, these results do not qualitatively differ among the three communication media; while face-to-face had the largest volume of messages, all three media proved equally effective in enhancing trust and trustworthiness.
    Keywords: communication technology; laboratory experiments; trust games; contents analysis
    JEL: C72 C92 D83
    Date: 2020–07
  5. By: Lotti, Lorenzo
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of prolonged social distancing on generosity by analyzing the responses of 1255 US citizens to dictator games spread out over eight weeks of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the isolation and the negative effects on employment and household �nances, individuals became more generous over this time period. There is signi�cant heterogeneity in the effect of additional regressors, such as perceived contagion risk, on the likelihood and amount donated to strangers, family members, or the government. At the same time, signi�cant effects of the position of games with respect to the others highlight the signi�cant role of framing on generous behaviours.
    Keywords: Generosity, Dictator Game, Social Preferences, Framing, Altruism, Covid-19
    JEL: C71 D63 D64 D71 D91 I14
    Date: 2020–08–04
  6. By: Costas Azariadis; Yannis M. Ioannides
    Abstract: To examine the joint evolution of corruption and per capita GDP, we augment the standard lifecycle model of capital accumulation by three endogenous state variables that describe institutions and culture, and by three fixed parameters that proxy for personal morality and social interactions. Institutions that regulate economic incentives are decided by majority vote over a binary agenda that pits “strong” against ‘weak” property rights. Culture consists of slow changing social conventions which generate behavioral norms in the public and private sectors. Norms spread consumption externalities that impact the occupational opportunities of current households, and become in turn a reflection of past household choices. Our main theoretical finding is that societies with collectivist cultures and corruptiontolerant norms behave very differently from the individualistic ones of neoclassical growth theory. Collectivist society features include: (a) highly nonlinear GDP and corruption dynamics; (b) dominant roles for culture and social norms as engines of institutional quality, corruption and growth; and (c) majorities that favor diluted property rights, thus splitting the world economy into individualistic and collectivist convergence clubs with two distinct stable long-run states. These hypotheses receive a fair amount of support from international data. Variations in social norms, culture and human capital typically explain more than half of the variance in per capita GDP across countries and time. Many alternative measures of culture seem to be highly significant determinants of corruption and institutional quality. The fact that we control for culture in many alternative ways supports our confidence in the largely favorable tests of our main hypotheses.
    Keywords: growth, institutions, corruption, social norms, culture, voting, social interactions.
    JEL: F43 O11 O43 O47 D70 Z10
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Nguyen, Jessica; Dinh, Tue; Selart, Marcus
    Abstract: In this paper, we uncover the relationships among social trust, corruption and the duration of economic crises. Our theoretical foundation is based on a collection of studies from different academic fields, especially political science, sociology and economics. We corroborate our arguments with both descriptive analysis and regression analysis of secondary data. Our dataset includes 11,364 observations distributed across 211 countries. The quantitative findings show that social trust is correlated with the duration of economic crises. Connecting our theoretical stance with the empirical evidence, we propose several possible explanations for the findings and provide both theoretical and practical implications.
    Date: 2020–07–28
  8. By: Roy Cerqueti; Valerio Ficcadenti
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has generated disruptive changes in many fields. Here we focus on the relationship between the anxiety felt by people during the pandemic and the trust in the future performance of financial markets. Precisely, we move from the idea that the volume of Google searches about "coronavirus" can be considered as a proxy of the anxiety and, jointly with the stock index prices, can be used to produce mood indicators -- in terms of pessimism and optimism -- at country level. We analyse the "very high human developed countries" according to the Human Development Index plus China and their respective main stock market indexes. Namely, we propose both a temporal and a global measure of pessimism and optimism and provide accordingly a classification of indexes and countries. The results show the existence of different clusters of countries and markets in terms of pessimism and optimism. Moreover, specific regimes along the time emerge, with an increasing optimism spreading during the mid of June 2020. Furthermore, countries with different government responses to the pandemic have experienced different levels of mood indicators, so that countries with less strict lockdown had a higher level of optimism.
    Date: 2020–08
  9. By: Barrett, Chris; Nourani, Vesall; Patacchini, Eleonora; Walker, Thomas
    Abstract: Inter-household transfers play a central role in village economies. Whether understood as informal insurance, credit, or social taxation, the dominant conceptual models used to explain transfers rest on a foundation of self-interested dynamic behavior. Using experimental data from households in rural Ghana, where we randomized private and publicly observable cash payouts repeated every other month for a year, we reject two core predictions of the dominant models. We then add impure altruism and social taxation to a model of limited commitment informal insurance networks. The data support this new model's predictions, including that unobservable income shocks may facilitate altruistic giving that better targets less-well-off individuals within one's network, and that too large a network can overwhelm even an altruistic agent, inducing her to cease giving.
    Date: 2019–11
  10. By: Bussolo, Maurizio; De Nicola, Francesca; Panizza, Ugo; Varghese, Richard
    Abstract: We examine whether political connections ease fi nancial constraints faced byfi rms. Usingfi rm-level data from six Central and Eastern European economies, we show that politically connected fi rms are characterized by: (i) higher leverage, (ii) lower pofi tability, (iii) lower capitalization, (iv) lower marginal productivity of capital, and (v) lower levels of investment than unconnected fi rms. Politically connected fi rms borrow more because they have easier access than unconnectedfi rms to credit but tend to be less productive than unconnected fi rms. Our results are consistent with the idea that political connections distort capital allocation and may have welfare costs.
    Keywords: Corruption; Financial constraints; investment; Political Connections
    JEL: D22 O17 P12 P14
    Date: 2019–11
  11. By: Katarzyna Salach (University of Warsaw); Michal Brzezinski (University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: We use newly collected original panel data on the super-wealthy individuals in Poland (observed over 2002-2018) to study the impact of the rich’s political connections on their wealth level, mobility among the rich and the risk of dropping off the rich list. The multimillionaires are classified as politically connected if we find reliable news stories linking their wealth to political contacts or questionable licenses, or if a person was formerly an informant of communist Security Service or member of the communist party, or when the origins of wealth are connected to the privatization process. We find that political connections are not associated with the wealth level of Polish multimillionaires, but that they are linked to the 20-30% lower probability of upward mobility in the ranking of the rich. Moreover, being a former member of the communist party or secret police informant increases the risk of dropping off the Polish rich list by 79%. Taken together, our results show that, contrary to some other post-socialist countries such as Russia or Ukraine, there is little evidence that the Polish economy suffers from crony capitalism.
    Keywords: the super-rich, oligarchs, political connections, crony capitalism, Poland.
    JEL: D31 D63 P36
    Date: 2020–07
  12. By: Catarina Alexandra Neves Proença (University of Coimbra, Ph.D. Student at Faculty of Economics); Mário António Gomes Augusto (University of Coimbra, Centre for Business and Economics,CeBER, Faculty of Economics); José Maria Ruas Murteira (University of Coimbra, Centre for Business and Economics,CeBER, Faculty of Economics)
    Abstract: This study investigates the effect of the political connections of members of banks' Boards of Directors on the remuneration of these boards, taking into account the gender diversity of their members. Using a panel of observations on 77 banks supervised by the ECB for the period 2013 to 2017, and the generalized method of moments (GMM), our results show that, when analyzing linear effects, political connections have a negative impact on the remuneration of the members of the banks' Boards of Directors, reducing them. However, when investigating the possible moderating effect, we found that when gender diversity is high, there is a non-linear, inverted U-shaped relationship between the political connections and the remuneration of members of the Boards of Directors of banks. Our results also show that the differentiating characteristics of the female gender, accentuate the negative effects of political connections on remuneration, making the institution's interests to be privileged at the expense of those of its personal agendas. Overall, these general results prove to be robust across different choices of the measures used for gender diversity.
    Keywords: Political connections, Gender diversity, Remuneration, ECB, GMM.
    JEL: G21 G28 G34 J16
    Date: 2020–06
  13. By: Zhang, Hanzhe (Michigan State University, Department of Economics); Wu, Jiabin (Department of Economics, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR)
    Abstract: We apply an evolutionary game theory model to explain polarization, antipathy, and political activism as a consequence of the co-evolution of individuals' ideologies and attitudes toward other ideologies. We show that the evolutionary process results in a vicious cycle with individuals becoming increasingly polarized on the ideological spectrum and the society ending up with two politically engaged groups sharing no common grounds and strong hatred against each other.
    Keywords: polarization; antipathy; political activism; value formation; cultural transmission; evolutionary game theory
    JEL: C73 Z13
    Date: 2020–08–04
  14. By: Keisuke Kokubun; Yoshiaki Ino; Kazuyoshi Ishimura
    Abstract: An important theme is how to maximize the cooperation of employees when dealing with crisis measures taken by the company. Therefore, to find out what kind of employees have cooperated with the company's measures in the current corona (COVID-19) crisis, and what effect the cooperation has had to these employees/companies to get hints for preparing for the next crisis, the pass analysis was carried out using awareness data obtained from a questionnaire survey conducted on 2,799 employees of Japanese companies in China. The results showed that employees with higher social capital and resilience were more supportive of the company's measures against corona and that employees who were more supportive of corona measures were less likely to leave their jobs. However, regarding fatigue and anxiety about the corona felt by employees, it was shown that it not only works to support cooperation in corona countermeasures but also enhances the turnover intention. This means that just by raising the anxiety of employees, even if a company achieves the short-term goal of having them cooperate with the company's countermeasures against corona, it may not reach the longer-term goal by making them increase their intention to leave. It is important for employees to be aware of the crisis and to fear it properly. But more than that, it should be possible for the company to help employees stay resilient, build good relationships with them, and increase their social capital to make them support crisis measurement of the company most effectively while keeping their turnover intention low.
    Date: 2020–07
  15. By: Samuel Bazzi (Boston University); Gabriel Koehler-Derrick (Harvard University); Benjamin Marx (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: Why do religious politics thrive in some societies but not others? This paper explores the institutional foundations of this process in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim democracy. We show that a major Islamic institution, the waqf, fostered the entrenchment of political Islam at a critical historical juncture. In the early 1960s, rural elites transferred large amounts of land into waqf —a type of inalienable charitable trust—to avoid expropriation by the government as part of a major land reform effort. Although the land reform was later undone, the waqf properties remained. We show that greater intensity of the planned reform led to more prevalent waqf land and Islamic institutions endowed as such, including religious schools, which are strongholds of the Islamist movement. We identify lasting effects of the reform on electoral support for Islamist parties, preferences for religious candidates, and the adoption of Islamic legal regulations (sharia). Overall, the land reform contributed to the resilience and eventual rise of political Islam by helping to spread religious institutions, thereby solidifying the alliance between local elites and Islamist groups. These findings shed new light on how religious institutions may shape politics in modern democracies.
    Keywords: Religion; Institutions; Land reform; Islam; Sharia Law
    JEL: D72 D74 P16 P26 Z12
    Date: 2020–05

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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