nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒09‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Golfing with Trump: social capital, decline, inequality, and the rise of populism in the US By Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Lee, Neil; Lipp, Cornelius
  2. Political Activists as Free-Riders: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment By Anselm Hager; Lukas Hensel; Johannes Hermle; Christopher Roth
  3. The social costs of crime over trust: An approach with machine learning By Angelo Cozzubo
  4. Populism and Social Polarization in European Democracies By Victor Ginsburgh; Sergio Perelman; Pierre Pestieau
  5. Neighborhoods, Networks, and Delivery Methods By Emilia Barili; Paola Bertoli; Veronica Grembi
  6. Efficiency Wages with Motivated Agents By Jesper Armouti-Hansen; Lea Cassar; Anna Deréky
  7. Trustworthiness in the Financial Industry By Andrej Gill; Matthias Heinz; Heiner Schumacher; Matthias Sutter
  8. Selection into Leadership and Dishonest Behavior of Leaders: A Gender Experiment By Kerstin Grosch; Stephan Müller; Holger A. Rau; Lilia Zhurakhovska
  9. It Does (not) Get Better: Expected Income Violation and Altruism By Julien Benistant; Remi Suchon
  10. To Share or Not to Share: An Experiment on Information Transmission in Networks By Sergio Currarini; Francesco Feri; Bjoern Hartig; Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez

  1. By: Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Lee, Neil; Lipp, Cornelius
    Keywords: populism; social capital; inequality; economic and demographic decline; Donald Trump; counties; US
    JEL: D31 D72 O15 R11
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Anselm Hager; Lukas Hensel; Johannes Hermle; Christopher Roth
    Abstract: How does a citizen’s decision to participate in political activism depend on the participation of others? We conduct a nation-wide natural field experiment in collaboration with a major European party during a recent national election. In a seemingly unrelated survey, we randomly provide canvassers with true information about the canvassing intentions of their peers. When learning that more peers participate in canvassing than previously believed, canvassers significantly reduce both their canvassing intentions and behavior as measured through a smartphone application. Treatment effects are larger for supporters with weaker social ties to the party and for supporters with higher career concerns within the party.
    Keywords: political activism, natural field experiment, strategic behaviour, beliefs
    JEL: D80 P16
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Angelo Cozzubo (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: In Peru, 55% of the population considers insecurity as the country's main problem. The present study seeks to contribute to the understanding of the social costs of crime in Peru by measuring the impact of patrimonial crime on trust in public institutions, using victimization surveys and censuses of police stations and municipalities and using the newly implemented machine-learning techniques in Stata combined with propensity score matching. Results: reduction of 3 percentage points (pp.) in the probability of trusting in the police and Serenazgo in the short term and 2 pp. in judicial power in the long term. Female victims would lose more confidence in Serenazgo and the Public Ministry. Robustness in the presence of unobservables, different pairings, and falsification tests, which would suggest potential causal character.
    Date: 2020–08–20
  4. By: Victor Ginsburgh; Sergio Perelman; Pierre Pestieau
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to explain populist attitudes that are prevailing in a number of European democracies. Populist attitudes expectedly lead to social protests and populist votes. We capture the populist wave by relying not on voting behavior but rather on values that are traditionally viewed as populist values, such as distrust of institutions and neighbors, rejection of migrations and strong preferences for law and order. Our study covers the period 2004 to 2018 and 25 European countries for which we match aggregated indicators of populist values and social polarization computed from ESS and SILC survey micro-data, respectively. We find that social polarization, along with other factors, can explain populist attitudes. We also observe that both populist attitudes and polarization vary across countries much more than over time, with the exception of authoritarian values which appear positively correlated with social polarization, particularly among baby-boomers and younger cohorts.
    Keywords: populism, polarization, social divide
    JEL: D63 I30
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Emilia Barili; Paola Bertoli; Veronica Grembi
    Abstract: We investigate potential mechanisms of information transmission among patients when explaining territorial variations in the use of cesarean sections. Defining networks as mothers living in the same Italian municipality (average size approximately 10,000 residents), we show that a one standard deviation increase of the incidence of cesarean sections for the 12 months before the delivery date in the future mother’s municipality of residence increases the probability of her receiving the treatment by 3%. This result captures mainly network effects for Italian mothers, while it captures both network and neighborhood effects for foreign mothers. Both groups adjust for the transmission of complementary information, such as the incidence of complications due to cesarean sections. The selection of mothers across hospitals does not uniquely explain our results, which are robust to alternative sample selections.
    Keywords: cesarean sections; networks; neighborhood effects;
    JEL: I1 I12
    Date: 2020–09
  6. By: Jesper Armouti-Hansen; Lea Cassar; Anna Deréky
    Abstract: Many organizations nowadays combine profits with a social mission. This paper reveals a new hidden benefit of the mission: its role in facilitating the emergence of efficiency wages. We show that in a standard gift-exchange principals highly underestimate agents’ reciprocity and, thereby, offer wages that are much lower than the profit-maximizing level. This bias has a high social cost: if principals had correct beliefs and thus offered the profit-maximizing wage, efficiency would increase by 86 percent. However, the presence of a social mission (in the form of a positive externality generated by the agent’s effort), by increasing principals' trust, acts as a debiasing mechanism and, thereby, increases efficiency by 50 percent. These results contribute to our understanding of behavior in mission-oriented organizations, to the debate about the relevance of reciprocity in the workplace and open new questions about belief formation in prosocial contexts.
    Keywords: mission motivation, reciprocity, gift exchange, beliefs, efficiency wages
    JEL: D23 M52
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Andrej Gill; Matthias Heinz; Heiner 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, financial industry, selection, social preferences, experiment
    JEL: C91 G20 M51
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Kerstin Grosch; Stephan Müller; Holger A. Rau; Lilia Zhurakhovska
    Abstract: Leaders often have to weigh ethical against monetary consequences. Such situations may evoke psychological costs from being dishonest and dismissing higher monetary benefits for others. In a within-subjects experiment, we analyze such a dilemma. We first measure individual dishonest behavior when subjects report the outcome of a die roll, which determines their payoffs. Subsequently, they act as leaders and report payoffs for a group including themselves. In our main treatment, subjects can apply for leadership, whereas in the control treatment, we assign leadership randomly. Results reveal that women behave more dishonestly as leaders while men behave similarly in both the individual and the group decision. For female leaders, we find that sorting into leadership is not related to individual honesty preferences. In the control we find that female leaders do not increase dishonesty. A follow-up study reveals that female leaders become more dishonest after assuming leadership, as they align dishonest behavior with their belief on group members’ honesty preferences.
    Keywords: leadership, decision for others, lab experiment, gender differences, dishonesty
    JEL: C91 H26 J16
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Julien Benistant; Remi Suchon
    Abstract: We experimentally test whether the gap between expected and actual income impacts subsequent altruism. Participants first perform a real-effort task for a fixed wage and then play a dictator game. Between conditions, we vary the level and the timing of the revelation of the wage. In some conditions, participants know the wage before the real effort task and are not informed of the other potential levels. In some other conditions, they are informed of the distribution of wages before the real effort task, but the actual wage is only revealed afterward. Participants in the latter conditions can form expectations that may be higher or lower than their actual wage. Our model predicts that the gap between the expected and the actual wage impacts transfers in the subsequent dictator game. The results support this hypothesis: participants who get the low wage transfer less and are less likely to transfer when they are informed of the other potential levels than when they are not. Conversely, participants who get the high wage are more likely to transfer positive amounts when they are informed of the other potential levels. We use physiological (skin conductance response) and declarative data to discuss the role of emotions in our treatment effects.
    Date: 2020–08
  10. By: Sergio Currarini (University of Leicester); Francesco Feri (Royal Holloway, University of London and Università di Trieste); Bjoern Hartig (Royal Hollloway, University of London); Miguel A. Meléndez-Jiménez (University of Málaga)
    Abstract: We design an experiment to study how agents make use of information in networks. Agents receive payoff-relevant signals automatically shared with neighbors. We compare the use of information in different network structures, considering games in which strategies are substitute, complement and orthogonal. To study the incentives to share information across games, we also allow subjects to modify the network before playing the game. We find behavioral deviations from the theoretical prediction in the use of information, which depend on the network structure, the position in the network and the strategic nature of the game. There is also a bias toward oversharing information, which is related to risk aversion and the position in the network.
    Keywords: networks, experiment, information sharing, strategic complements, strategic substitutes, pairwise stability
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D82 D85
    Date: 2020–09

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