nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Who Voted for Trump? Populism and Social Capital By Paola Giuliano; Romain Wacziarg
  2. The Effects of Social Capital on Government Performance and Turnover: Theory and Evidence from Italian Municipalities By Lockwood, Ben; Porcelli, Francesco; Redoano, Michela; Bracco, Emanuele; Liberini, Federica; Sgroi, Daniel
  3. Can Charter Schools Boost Civic Participation? The Impact of Democracy Prep Public Schools on Voting Behavior By Brian Gill; Emilyn Rubel Whitesell; Sean P. Corcoran; Charles Tilley; Mariel Finucane Liz Potamites
  4. Caught between Cultures: Unintended Consequences of Improving Opportunity for Immigrant Girls By Dahl, Gordon B.; Felfe, Christina; Frijters, Paul; Rainer, Helmut
  5. Culture and portfolios: trust, precautionary savings and home ownership By Fleck, Johannes; Monninger, Adrian
  6. From Fear to Hate: How the Covid-19 Pandemic Sparks Racial Animus in the United States By Runjing Lu; Yanying Sheng
  7. Team Incentives, Social Cohesion, and Performance: A Natural Field Experiment By Delfgaauw, Josse; Dur, Robert; Onemu, Oke; Sol, Joeri
  8. Local ambassadors promote mobile banking in Northern Peru By Marcos Agurto; Habiba Djebbari; Sudipta Sarangi Author-Name: Brenda Silupú Author-Name: Carolina Trivelli Author-Name: Javier Torres
  9. Does Trust in Home Countries Matter for Formal Remittances? By Kamal Kasmaoui; Farid Makhlouf; Youssef Errami
  10. Trust or Property Rights ? Can Trusted Relationships Substitute for Costly Land Registration in West African Cities ? By Letrouit,Lucie Michele Maya; Selod,Harris
  11. Peer Effects and Fertility Preferences in China: Evidence from the China Labor-Force Dynamics Survey By Nie, Peng; Wang, Lu; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
  12. The Employment Effects of Ethnic Politics By Francesco Amodio; Giorgio Chiovelli; Sebastian Hohmann
  13. Social Learning along International Migrant Networks By Yuan Tian; Maria Esther Caballero; Brian K. Kovak
  14. The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Role Attitudes: Evidence from Immigrant Mothers-In-Law By Bredtmann, Julia; Höckel, Lisa Sofie; Otten, Sebastian
  15. The Show Must Go On: How to Elicit Lablike Data on the Effects of COVID-19 Lockdown on Fairness and Cooperation By Irene Maria Buso; Daniela Di Cagno; Sofia De Caprariis; Lorenzo Ferrari; Vittorio Larocca; Francesca Marazzi; Luca Panaccione; Lorenzo Spadoni

  1. By: Paola Giuliano; Romain Wacziarg
    Abstract: We argue that low levels of social capital are conducive to the electoral success of populist movements. Using a variety of data sources for the 2016 US Presidential election at the county and individual levels, we show that social capital, measured either by the density of memberships in civic, religious and sports organizations or by generalized trust, is significantly negatively correlated with the vote share and favorability rating of Donald Trump around the time of the election.
    JEL: D72 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Lockwood, Ben (University of Warwick); Porcelli, Francesco (Universit`a di Bari); Redoano, Michela (University of Warwic); Bracco, Emanuele (Universit`a di Verona); Liberini, Federica (University of Bath); Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper makes three contributions. First, it presents a theoretical analysis of how both the civic preference and information aspects of social capital impact on government performance and turnover, employing a political agency model with both moral hazard and adverse selection. Second, it presents novel measures of both local government performance and on social capital at the Italian municipality level, using administrative data and an online survey respectively. Third, empirical results show that higher social capital improves government performance, especially in the first term of office, but also increases turnover of incumbent mayors, as predicted by the theory. The voting rule predicted by the theory has the feature that the level effect of social capital on the incumbent vote share is negative, but the interaction between social capital and performance is positive. Our empirical results also support this prediction.
    Keywords: Social Capital ; Voting ; Elections ; Government Efficiency JEL codes: H41 ; H72 ; D72
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Brian Gill; Emilyn Rubel Whitesell; Sean P. Corcoran; Charles Tilley; Mariel Finucane Liz Potamites
    Abstract: This study examines the impact of Democracy Prep on voter registration and participation in the 2016 election.
    Keywords: Charter schools, civics, Democracy Prep
  4. By: Dahl, Gordon B. (University of California, San Diego); Felfe, Christina (University of Würzburg); Frijters, Paul (London School of Economics); Rainer, Helmut (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: What happens when immigrant girls are given increased opportunities to integrate into the workplace and society, but their parents value more traditional cultural outcomes? Building on Akerlof and Kranton's identity framework (2000), we construct a simple game-theoretic model which shows how expanding opportunities for immigrant girls can have the unintended consequence of reducing their well-being, since identity-concerned parents will constrain their daughter's choices. The model can explain the otherwise puzzling findings from a reform which granted automatic birthright citizenship to eligible immigrant children born in Germany after January 1, 2000. Using survey data we collected in 57 schools in Germany and comparing those born in the months before versus after the reform, we find that birthright citizenship lowers measures of life satisfaction and self-esteem for immigrant girls. This is especially true for Muslims, where traditional cultural identity is salient. Birthright citizenship results in disillusionment where immigrant Muslim girls believe their chances of achieving their educational goals are lower and the perceived odds of having to forgo a career for family rise. Consistent with the model, immigrant Muslim parents invest less in their daughters' schooling and have a lower probability of speaking German with their daughters if they are born after the reform. We further find that immigrant Muslim girls granted birthright citizenship are less likely to self-identify as German, are more socially isolated, and are less likely to believe foreigners can have a good life in Germany. In contrast, immigrant boys experience, if anything, an improvement in well-being and little effect on other outcomes. Taken together, the findings point towards immigrant girls being pushed by parents to conform to a role within traditional culture, whereas boys are allowed to take advantage of the opportunities that come with citizenship. Alternative models can explain some of the findings in isolation, while our identity model is consistent with all of the findings simultaneously.
    Keywords: immigrant assimilation, cultural identity, intergenerational conflict
    JEL: Z18 J15 J16
    Date: 2020–07
  5. By: Fleck, Johannes; Monninger, Adrian
    Abstract: This paper shows that individual beliefs on the effectiveness of formal and informal sources of risk sharing determine financial precautionary behavior. We present empirical evidence demonstrating that higher trust in public insurance systems reduces net liquid wealth while higher trust in communal insurance increases it. This dichotomy is consistent with theories on access to private risk sharing networks. Moreover, we find that both types of trust associate positively with the probability to take on financial risk for the purpose of becoming a homeowner and the related loan-to-value ratio. Our findings are robust across a wide range of econometric controls and specifications. JEL Classification: D14, D31, E71, G5
    Keywords: household saving, portfolio liquidity, public and communal insurance
    Date: 2020–08
  6. By: Runjing Lu; Yanying Sheng
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on racial animus, as measured by Google searches and Twitter posts including a commonly used anti-Asian racial slur. Our empirical strategy exploits the plausibly exogenous variation in the timing of the first Covid-19 diagnosis across regions in the United States. We find that the first local diagnosis leads to an immediate increase in racist Google searches and Twitter posts, with the latter mainly coming from existing Twitter users posting the slur for the first time. This increase could indicate a rise in future hate crimes, as we document a strong correlation between the use of the slur and anti-Asian hate crimes using historic data. Moreover, we find that the rise in the animosity is directed at Asians rather than other minority groups and is stronger on days when the connection between the disease and Asians is more salient, as proxied by President Trump's tweets mentioning China and Covid-19 at the same time. In contrast, the negative economic impact of the pandemic plays little role in the initial increase in racial animus. Our results suggest that de-emphasizing the connection between the disease and a particular racial group can be effective in curbing current and future racial animus.
    Date: 2020–07
  7. By: Delfgaauw, Josse (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Dur, Robert (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Onemu, Oke (Leiden University); Sol, Joeri (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We conduct a field experiment in a Dutch retail chain of 122 stores to study the interaction between team incentives, team social cohesion, and team performance. Theory predicts that the effect of team incentives on team performance increases with the team's social cohesion, because social cohesion reduces free-riding behavior. In addition, team incentives may lead to more co-worker support or to higher peer pressure and thereby can affect the team's social cohesion. We introduce short-term team incentives in a randomly selected subset of stores and measure for all stores, both before and after the intervention, the team's sales performance, the team's social cohesion as well as co-worker support and peer pressure. The average treatment effect of the team incentive on sales is 1.5 percentage points, which does not differ significantly from zero. In line with theory, the estimated treatment effect increases with social cohesion as measured before the intervention. Social cohesion itself is not affected by the team incentives.
    Keywords: field experiment, team incentives, social cohesion, peer pressure, co-worker support, sales performance
    JEL: C93 M52
    Date: 2020–07
  8. By: Marcos Agurto; Habiba Djebbari; Sudipta Sarangi Author-Name: Brenda Silupú Author-Name: Carolina Trivelli Author-Name: Javier Torres
    Abstract: We experiment with a novel way to boost information acquisition that exploits existing social ties between the promoter of a new financial technology and community members. We offer information and training workshops on a new mobile-money platform in peri-urban and rural areas in Peru. In the treatment group, workshops are led by promoters who are personally known to the invited participants. In the control group, comparable individuals are invited to attend similar workshops, but the workshops are led by agents external to the community. Our findings suggest that lack of information impedes product adoption, which is itself limited by lack of trust in the individual who provides the information.
    Keywords: Financial inclusion, social networks, information transmission, trust
    JEL: D91 G23 I22 I31 O33
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Kamal Kasmaoui (IRMAPE - Institut de Recherche en Management et Pays Emergents - ESC Pau); Farid Makhlouf (IRMAPE - Institut de Recherche en Management et Pays Emergents - ESC Pau); Youssef Errami (IRMAPE - Institut de Recherche en Management et Pays Emergents - ESC Pau)
    Abstract: This note studies the empirical relationship between trust and remittances. Using historical data from the 2010-2014 wave of World Values Survey (WVS) for interpersonal trust and World Bank for remittances. Results underline the substitution role played by interpersonal trust with remittances. Migrants send fewer of formal remittances when the rate of interpersonal trust in the country of origin is high.
    Keywords: Remittances,Institutions,Social Capital,Interpersonal Trust
    Date: 2020–07–01
  10. By: Letrouit,Lucie Michele Maya; Selod,Harris
    Abstract: The paper studies the market failures associated with land tenure insecurity and information asymmetry in an urban land use model, and analyzes households'responses to mitigate tenure insecurity. When buyers and sellers of land plots can pair along trusted kinship lines whereby deception (the non-disclosure of competing claims on a land plot to a buyer) is socially penalized, information asymmetry is attenuated, but overall participation in the land market is reduced. Alternatively, when owners can make land plots secure by paying to register them in a cadaster, both information asymmetry and tenure insecurity are reduced, but the registration cost limits land market participation at the periphery of the city. The paper then compares the overall surpluses under these trust and registration models and under a hybrid version of the model that reflects the context of today's West African cities where both registration and trusted relationships are simultaneously available to residents. The analysis highlights the substitutability of trusted relationships to costly registration and predicts the gradual evolution of economies towards the socially preferable registration system if registration costs can be sufficiently reduced.
    Date: 2020–06–30
  11. By: Nie, Peng (Xi’an Jiaotong University); Wang, Lu (Xi’an Jiaotong University); Sousa-Poza, Alfonso (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: Despite empirical evidence that individuals form their fertility preferences by observing social norms and interactions in their environments, the exact impact of these peer effects remains unclear. We thus use data from the 2014 and 2016 China Labor-force Dynamics Survey to investigate the association between community-level peer effects and fertility preferences among Chinese women aged 18-49. Whereas our baseline results indicate that 11.96% of these women would prefer 1 or no children, 74.1% would like 2 children, and 13.93% would prefer 3 or more children. A one unit increase in community-level peer fertility reduces the preference of wanting only one child by 14.3%, whereas it increases the probability of preferring three children by 9.3% and four or more children by 4.8%. Hence, overall, we find a relatively strong peer effect on individual fertility preferences in communities characterized by generally low fertility rates, which provides support for the role of social norms in the fertility choices of reproductive-aged Chinese women.
    Keywords: peer effects, fertility, fertility preferences, China
    JEL: D10 D71 J13
    Date: 2020–07
  12. By: Francesco Amodio (McGill University, CIREQ); Giorgio Chiovelli (Universidad de Montevideo); Sebastian Hohmann (Stockholm School of Economics SITE)
    Abstract: This paper studies the labor market consequences of ethnic politics in African democracies. We combine geo-referenced data from 15 countries, 32 parliamentary elections, 62 political parties, 243 ethnic groups, 2,200 electoral constituencies, and 400,000 individuals. We implement a regression discontinuity design that compares individuals from ethnicities connected to parties at the margin of electing a local representative in the national parliament. We find that having a local ethnic politician in parliament increases the likelihood of being employed by 2-3 percentage points. We hypothesize that this effect originates from strategic interactions between ethnic politicians and traditional leaders, the latter retaining the power to allocate land and agricultural jobs in exchange for votes. The available evidence supports this hypothesis. First, the employment effect is concentrated in the historical homelands of ethnicities with strong pre-colonial institutions. Second, individuals from connected ethnicities are more likely to be employed in agriculture, and in those countries where customary land tenure is officially recognized by national legislation. Third, they are also more likely to identify traditional leaders as partisan, and as being mainly responsible for the allocation of land. Evidence shows that ethnic politics shapes the distribution of productive resources across sectors and ethnic groups.
    Keywords: ethnic politics, employment, democracy, traditional leaders, Africa
    JEL: J15 J70 O10 P26 Q15
    Date: 2019–12
  13. By: Yuan Tian; Maria Esther Caballero; Brian K. Kovak
    Abstract: We document the transmission of social distancing practices from the United States to Mexico along migrant networks during the early 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Using data on pre-existing migrant connections between Mexican and U.S. locations and mobile-phone tracking data revealing social distancing behavior, we find larger declines in mobility in Mexican regions whose emigrants live in U.S. locations with stronger social distancing practices. We rule out confounding pre-trends and use a variety of controls and an instrumental variables strategy based on U.S. stay-at-home orders to rule out the potential influence of disease transmission and migrant sorting between similar locations. Given this evidence, we conclude that our findings represent the effect of information transmission between Mexican migrants living in the U.S. and residents of their home locations in Mexico. Our results demonstrate the importance of personal connections when policymakers seek to change fundamental social behaviors.
    JEL: D83 F22 I12 J61 O15
    Date: 2020–08
  14. By: Bredtmann, Julia (RWI); Höckel, Lisa Sofie (RWI); Otten, Sebastian (RWI)
    Abstract: Previous literature has shown that attitudes and preferences are intergenerationally transmitted from parents to their children. We contribute to this literature by analyzing whether gender role attitudes are also transmitted across cultural boundaries, i.e., from immigrants to natives. Focusing on mixed couples, we examine whether the gender role attitudes of foreign-born mothers-in-law can explain the fertility and labor supply decisions of native US women. Our results reveal that women's labor market participation is significantly positively related to the gender role attitudes in her mother-in-law's country of origin. Employing a new identification strategy, we show that this finding is due to the intergenerational transmission of gender norms rather than other unobservable characteristics of the mother-in-law's country of origin. These results suggest that the cultural values held in their source country do not only influence the behavior of immigrants and their descendants, but can also affect the labor force participation of native women. We do, however, not find evidence that intergenerationally transmitted gender role attitudes affect the fertility behavior of native women.
    Keywords: intergenerational transmission, gender role attitudes, culture, immigration, fertility, female labor force participation
    JEL: J13 J15 J22 D1
    Date: 2020–07
  15. By: Irene Maria Buso; Daniela Di Cagno; Sofia De Caprariis; Lorenzo Ferrari; Vittorio Larocca; Francesca Marazzi; Luca Panaccione; Lorenzo Spadoni
    Abstract: Given the impossibility of having participants in the lab during the COVID-19 lockdown, we introduce a novel methodology based on a multi-platform architecture that brings experimental subjects in a “Lab on the Web”. This methodology allows us to study the effects of Covid-19 lockdown in Italy on preferences for fairness and cooperation. Results from sessions of standard Ultimatum and linear Public Good games validate our methodology. Moreover, we show that the circumstances in which participants lived the lockdown significantly affect their behavior in the two games. In particular, participants are more selfish in the ultimatum bargaining and contribute more to public good when lockdown is longer and social isolation is stronger. We interpret these results as evidence of “social embeddedness” to compensate for “social distancing”.
    Keywords: Covid-19, economic experiment, fairness, voluntary contribution mechanism, cooperation
    JEL: C92 H41 C73
    Date: 2020

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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