nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒08‒24
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. What Do Lost Wallets Tell Us about Survey Measures of Social Capital? By David Tannenbaum; Alain Cohn; Christian Lukas Zünd; Michel André Maréchal
  2. Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance By Cristina Bicchieri; Eugen Dimant; Simon Gächter; Daniele Nosenzo
  3. Social Norms as a Barrier to Women's Employment in Developing Countries By Seema Jayachandran
  4. Social capital and the spread of Covid-19: Insights from European countries By Alina Kristin Bartscher; Sebastian Seitz; Sebastian Siegloch; Michaela Slotwinski; Nils Wehrhöfer
  5. Imperfect Information, Social Norms, and Beliefs in Networks By Rapanos, Theodoros; Sommer, Marc; Zenou, Yves
  6. Cooperation and the management of local common resources in remote rural communities: Evidence from Odisha, India By Ward, Patrick S.; Alvi, Muzna Fatima; Makhija, Simrin; Spielman, David J.
  7. Social Capital, Networks, and Economic Wellbeing By Hellerstein, Judith K.; Neumark, David
  8. Hiding Behind the Veil of Ashes: Social Capital in the Wake of Natural Disasters By Victor Stephane
  9. Unequal Opportunities, Social Groups, and Redistribution By Rene Schwaiger; Jürgen Huber; Michael Kirchler; Daniel Kleinlercher; Utz Weitzel
  10. State capacity, reciprocity and the social contract By Besley, Timothy
  11. Trustworthiness in the Financial Industry By Andrej Gill; Matthias Heinz; einer Schumacher; Matthias Sutter
  12. Behaviour Modification Model for Improving Social Capital and Fostering Eclectic Theories of Economics By Mathew, C. D.; Aithal, Sreeramana
  13. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident and the Set of Values of the Japanese People (Japanese) By HIROTA Shigeru; YODO Masato; YANO Makoto
  14. Social capital may mediate the relationship between social distance and COVID-19 prevalence By Keisuke Kokubun

  1. By: David Tannenbaum; Alain Cohn; Christian Lukas Zünd; Michel André Maréchal
    Abstract: We validate survey measures of social capital with a new data set that examines whether citizens report a lost wallet to its owner. Using data from more than 17,000 lost wallets across 40 countries, we find that survey measures of social capital - especially questions concerning generalized trust or generalized morality - are strongly and significantly correlated with country-level differences in wallet reporting rates. A second finding is that lost wallet reporting rates predict unique variation in economic development and government effectiveness not captured by existing measures, suggesting this data set also holds promise as a useful indicator of social capital.
    Keywords: social capital, trust, honesty, field experiment, surveys
    JEL: C93 C83 Z10 O10
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Cristina Bicchieri (University of Pennsylvania, Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics); Eugen Dimant (University of Pennsylvania, Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics; CESifo, Munich; IZA, Bonn); Simon Gächter (University of Nottingham); Daniele Nosenzo (University of Nottingham, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER))
    Abstract: We study how an individual's compliance with social norms is influenced 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 sociallyinappropriate.Observing norm violations erodesanindividual'sownnormcompliance.Weshowthatthe 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 D9
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Seema Jayachandran
    Abstract: This article discusses cultural barriers to women's participation and success in the labor market in developing countries. I begin by describing how gender norms influence the relationship between economic development and female employment, as well as how gender norms vary substantially across societies at the same level of economic development. I then examine several specific gender-related social norms and how they constrain women's employment. I present examples of policies aimed at dismantling these cultural barriers to female employment and the impacts they have.
    JEL: J16 J20 O10
    Date: 2020–06
  4. By: Alina Kristin Bartscher (University of Bonn); Sebastian Seitz (ZEW and University of Mannheim); Sebastian Siegloch (ZEW and University of Mannheim); Michaela Slotwinski (ZEW and University of Basel); Nils Wehrhöfer (ZEW and University of Mannheim)
    Abstract: We explore the role of social capital in the spread of the recent Covid-19 pandemic in independent analyses for Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. We exploit within-country variation in social capital and Covid-19 cases to show that high-social-capital areas accumulated between 12% and 32% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita from mid-March until mid-May. Using Italy as a case study, we find that high-social-capital areas exhibit lower excess mortality and a decline in mobility. Our results have important implications for the design of local containment policies in future waves of the pandemic.
    Keywords: Covid-19, social capital, collective action, health costs, Europe
    JEL: D04 A13 D91 H11 H12 I10 I18
    Date: 2020–06
  5. By: Rapanos, Theodoros; Sommer, Marc; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We develop a simple Bayesian network game in which players, embedded in a network of social interactions, bear a cost from deviating from the social norm of their peers. All agents face uncertainty about the private benefits and the private and social costs of their actions. We prove the existence and uniqueness of a Bayesian Nash equilibrium and characterize players' optimal actions. We then show that denser networks do not necessary increase agents' actions and welfare. We also find that, in some cases, it is optimal for the planner to affect the payoffs of selected individuals rather than all agents in the network. We finally show that having more information is not always beneficial to agents and can, in fact, reduce their welfare. We illustrate all our results in the context of criminal networks in which offenders do not know with certitude the probability of being caught and do not want to be different from their peers in terms of criminal activities.
    Keywords: Bayesian games; beliefs; Conformism; crime; networks; value of information
    JEL: C72 D82 D85 K42
    Date: 2019–10
  6. By: Ward, Patrick S.; Alvi, Muzna Fatima; Makhija, Simrin; Spielman, David J.
    Abstract: It is widely recognized that local management of common pool resources can be more efficient and more effective than private markets or top-down government management, especially in remote rural communities in which the institutions necessary for the enforcement of centrally-imposed regulations may be weak or prone to elite capture. In this paper, we explore the propensity for cooperation in the management of local common resources by introducing a variant of a public goods game among remote rural communities in the state of Odisha, in eastern India. We explore various patterns of cooperation, including free riding behavior, unconditional cooperation (altruism), and conditional cooperation, in which individuals' propensity toward cooperation is tied to their beliefs about the level of cooperation among their peers. We find that a significant portion of our sample fall into this latter category, but also that their expectations about the level of contributions among their peers is somewhat malleable, and beneficial activities from external actors such as NGOs can foster increased social cohesion which increases both the level of these expectations and the manner in which these expectations are translated into subsequent cooperative behavior. We also find that cooperation is somewhat fragile, with group heterogeneity and risk in the returns to cooperative behavior posing a threat to the stability of the cooperative system.
    Keywords: INDIA; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; rural areas; resources; cooperation; nongovernmental organizations; risk; governance; local public goods; local common resources; experimental games; voluntary contribution mechanism
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Hellerstein, Judith K. (University of Maryland); Neumark, David (University of California, Irvine)
    Abstract: One definition of social capital is the "networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". This definition of social capital highlights two key features. First, it refers to connections between people, shifting our focus from characteristics of individuals and families to the ties between them. Second, it emphasizes that social capital is present not simply because individuals are connected, but rather when these network relationships lead to productive social outcomes. In that sense, social capital is productive capital, in the same way that economists think of physical capital or human capital as productive capital. Social capital, under this definition, is still very broad. Networks can be formed along many dimensions of society in which people interact – neighborhoods, workplaces, extended families, schools, etc. We focus on networks whose existence fosters social capital in one specific way: by facilitating the transfer of information that helps improve the economic wellbeing of network members, especially via better labor market outcomes. We review evidence showing that networks play this important role in labor market outcomes, as well as in other outcomes related to economic wellbeing, paying particular attention to evidence of how networks can help less-skilled individuals. We also discuss the measurement of social capital, including new empirical methods in machine learning that might provide new evidence on the underlying connections that do – or might – lead to productive networks. Throughout, we discuss the policy implications of what we know so far about networks and social capital.
    Keywords: social capital, networks
    JEL: J1 J8
    Date: 2020–06
  8. By: Victor Stephane (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of natural disasters on social capital. By heterogeneously affecting people in a community, natural disasters create a temporary information asymmetry on their post-disaster income. Using an original dataset collected in rural Ecuador, we provide suggestive evidence that households use this asymmetric information to pretend to be poorer than they actually are, in order to escape from solidarity mechanisms in the aftermath of the shock. The magnitude of this effect decreases with the level of wealth inequality in the community and vanishes in the most unequal communities where bilateral cooperation is rather fostered.
    Keywords: Social Capital,Moral Hazard,Asymmetric Information,Volcanic Eruptions,Ecuador
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Rene Schwaiger; Jürgen Huber; Michael Kirchler; Daniel Kleinlercher; Utz Weitzel
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the role of unequal opportunities and social group membership in preferences for redistribution. We present results from a large-scale online experiment with more than 4,000 participants. The experiment features a real-effort task and a subsequent dictator game with native Germans and immigrants to Germany. We find that dictator transfers are higher under unequal opportunities than under equal opportunities in the real-effort task. Furthermore, different from native dictators, who transfer equal amounts to both groups, immigrant dictators transfer more to in-group than to out-group receivers under unequal opportunities. Finally, we show that political preferences partly explain transfer behavior.
    Keywords: online experiment, redistribution, fairness, migration
    JEL: C91 G11
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Besley, Timothy
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of civic culture in expanding fiscal capacity by developing a model based on reciprocal obligations; citizens pay their taxes and the state provides public goods. Civic culture evolves over time according to the relative payoff of civic-minded and materialist citizens. A strong civic culture manifests itself as high tax revenues sustained by high levels of voluntary tax compliance and provision of public goods. This captures the idea of government as a reciprocal social contract between the state and its citizens. The paper highlights the role of political institutions and common interests in the emergence civic culture.
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2020–07–23
  11. By: Andrej Gill; Matthias Heinz; einer Schumacher; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: The financial industry has been struggling with widespread misconduct and public mistrust. Here we argue that the lack of trust into the financial industry may stem from the selection of subjects with little, if any, trustworthiness into the financial industry. We identify the social preferences of business and economics students, and follow up on their first job placements. We find that during college, students who want to start their career in the financial industry are substantially less trustworthy. Most importantly, actual job placements several years later confirm this association. The job market in the financial industry does not screen out less trustworthy subjects. If anything the opposite seems to be the case: Even among students who are highly motivated to work in finance after graduation, those who actually start their career in finance are significantly less trustworthy than those who work elsewhere.
    Keywords: Trustworthiness in the Financial Industry
    JEL: C91 G20 M51
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Mathew, C. D.; Aithal, Sreeramana
    Abstract: Retrospective Experiential Learning (REL) is acting as a behaviour modification model in this study. REL is all about reproducing one's best work experience by reproducing what happened accidentally in the work-life. REL and other interventions result in improving the behaviour science knowledge of local tourist guides in the two tourist destinations Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) and Thenmala. Social capital is an improved ecosystem and inters relations among employees of the organisation. Kerala tourism is a role model for manpower development and improved service quality. It can develop its resources across the globe by providing consultancy services to other eco-tourism destinations like Kenya, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania by ensuring the triple bottom lines of eclectic theories of economics viz. ownership, location, and internationalization. Uniqueness and vibrancy of Kerala ecotourism can be taken to international levels by focusing on service quality through better application of behaviour science with greater emphasis on the developed learning theory Retrospective Experiential Learning.
    Keywords: Social capital, Eclectic, Theories of economics, Internationalisation, Applied behaviour science.
    JEL: A19 N5 Z1
    Date: 2020–03–15
  13. By: HIROTA Shigeru; YODO Masato; YANO Makoto
    Abstract: This study analyzes the impact of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 on the set of values of the Japanese people. Using panel data for two time periods, we examined the differences in the relationships between different values depending on the subjects' distance from the plant, which can be used as a proxy for the perception of seriousness of the accident. The major findings are as follows: In general, those who place a greater emphasis on family relationships have higher current happiness, prospect of happiness in the future, and life satisfaction. Moreover, for those living closer to the plant, this tendency becomes stronger, which means that the experience of this serious disaster and the anxiety can strengthen family ties. We also find that those who are more health conscious tend to have higher prospect of future happiness and a greater sense of self-determination, but if they live closer to the plant, the effect is weaker. This tells us that the accident has a negative impact on future happiness and a sense of self-determination. In addition, if they live closer to the plant and trust the media, their life satisfaction tends to be lower. On the other hand, those who trust the local assemblies more have a sense of their future prospects of happiness being brighter if they live closer to the plant. This implies that local assemblies may have a greater effect on people's prospect on future happiness than the central government. Thus, it is clear that the nuclear power plant accident affected the set of values of Japanese people.
    Date: 2020–05
  14. By: Keisuke Kokubun
    Abstract: The threat of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasing. Regarding the difference in the infection rate observed in each region, in addition to studies seeking the cause due to differences in the social distance (population density), there is an increasing trend toward studies seeking the cause due to differences in social capital. However, studies have not yet been conducted on whether social capital could influence the infection rate even if it controls the effect of population density. Therefore, in this paper, we analyzed the relationship between infection rate, population density, and social capital using statistical data for each prefecture. Statistical analysis showed that social capital not only correlates with infection rates and population densities but still has a negative correlation with infection rates controlling for the effects of population density. Besides, controlling the relationship between variables by mean age showed that social capital had a greater correlation with infection rate than population density. In other words, social capital mediates the correlation between population density and infection rates. This means that social distance alone is not enough to deter coronavirus infection, and social capital needs to be recharged.
    Date: 2020–07

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