nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒10‒05
nineteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Economic Behaviours and Preferences: Experimental Evidence from Wuhan By Jason Shachat; Matthew J. Walker; Lijia Wei
  2. Abstentions and Social Networks in Congress By Marco Battaglini; Valerio Leone Sciabolazza; Eleonora Patacchini
  3. Migration and Cultural Change By Sulin Sardoschau; Arthur Silve; Hillel Rapoport
  4. GOLFING WITH TRUMP: Social capital, decline, inequality, and the rise of populism in the US By Andres Rodriguez-Pose; Neil Lee; Cornelius Lipp
  5. Intergenerational contacts and Covid-19 spread: Omnipresent grannies or bowling together? By Albertini, Marco; Sage, Lucas; Scherer, Stefani
  6. Trust, Temperature Fluctuations, and Asylum Applications By Marcella Veronesi; Stefano Carattini
  7. Trust, Happiness, and Pro-social Behavior By Carattini, Stefano; Roesti, Matthias
  8. Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression By Giulietti, Corrado; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Zenou, Yves
  9. Knowledge Networks and Strong Tie Creation: the Role of Relative Network Position By Maria Tsouri; ;
  10. A Stranger Thing? Sweden – The Upside Down of Multilevel Trust By Erlingsson, Gissur Ó
  11. The evolution of morality By Matthijs van Veelen
  12. Mining and the Quality of Public Services : The Role of Local Governance and Decentralization By Konte,Maty; Vincent,Rose Camille
  13. Urban Design, Public Spaces, and Social Cohesion : Evidence from a Virtual Reality Experiment By Llopis Abella,Jimena; Fruttero,Anna; Tas,Emcet Oktay; Taj,Umar
  14. On the Origins of Gender-Biased Behavior: The Role of Explicit and Implicit Stereotypes By Eliana Avitzour; Adi Choen; Daphna Joel; Victor Lavy
  15. A Political Model of Trust By Marina Agranov; Ran Eilat; Konstantin Sonin
  16. Trust and Trustworthiness in Procurement Contracts with Retainage By Matthew J. Walker; Elena Katok; Jason Shachat
  17. Animal Spirits in the Beautiful Game. Testing social pressure in professional football during the COVID-19 lockdown By Cueva, Carlos
  18. Comparative Assessment of Mental Wellbeing, Social Networks, and Earnings of Haitian and Hispanic Farm Workers in Florida By Onel, Gulcan
  19. Reciprocity and the interaction between the unemployed and the caseworker By van den Berg, Gerard J.; Kesternich, Iris; Müller, Gerrit; Siinger, Bettina M.

  1. By: Jason Shachat (Durham University Business School; Economics and Management School, Wuhan University); Matthew J. Walker (Durham University Business School); Lijia Wei (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University)
    Abstract: We examine how the emergence of Covid-19 in Wuhan, and the ramifications of associated events, influence pro-sociality, trust and attitudes towards risk and ambiguity. We assess these influences using an experiment consisting of financially incentivized economic tasks. We establish causality via the comparison of a baseline sample collected pre-epidemic with five sampling waves starting from the imposition of a stringent lock- down in Wuhan and completed six weeks later. We find significant long-term increases - measured as the difference between the baseline and final wave average responses - in altruism, cooperation, trust and risk tolerance. Participants who remained in Wuhan during the lockdown exhibit lower trust and cooperation relative to other participants. We identify transitory effects from two events that permeated the public psyche. First, in the immediate aftermath of the Wuhan lockdown, there is a decrease in trust and an increase in ambiguity aversion. Second, the news of a high-profile whistleblower's death also decreases trust while heightening risk aversion.
    Keywords: Covid-19, Social Preferences, Cooperation, Trust, Risk Preferences
    JEL: C93 D64 D81 D91 I18
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Marco Battaglini; Valerio Leone Sciabolazza; Eleonora Patacchini
    Abstract: We study the extent to which personal connections among legislators influence abstentions in the U.S. Congress. Our analysis is conducted by observing representatives' abstention for the universe of roll call votes held on bills in the 109th-113th Congresses. Our results show that a legislator's propensity to abstain increases when the majority of his or her alumni connections abstains, even after controlling for other well-known predictors of abstention choices and a vast set of fixed effects. We further reveal that a legislator is more prone to abstain than to take sides when the demands from personal connections conflict with those of the legislator's party.
    JEL: D72 D74 D91
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: Sulin Sardoschau; Arthur Silve; Hillel Rapoport
    Abstract: We examine both theoretically and empirically how migration affects cultural change in home and host countries. Our theoretical model integrates various compositional and cultural transmission mechanisms of migration-based cultural change for which it delivers distinctive testable predictions on the sign and direction of convergence. We then use the World Value Survey for the period 1981-2014 to build time-varying measures of cultural similarity for a large number of country pairs and exploit within country-pair variation over time. Our evidence is inconsistent with the view that immigrants are a threat to the host country’s culture. While migrants do act as vectors of cultural diffusion and bring about cultural convergence, this is mostly to disseminate cultural values and norms from host to home countries (i.e., cultural remittances).
    Keywords: migration, cultural change, globalization
    JEL: F22 Z10
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Andres Rodriguez-Pose; Neil Lee; Cornelius Lipp
    Abstract: In 2000 Robert Putnam forecast that United States (US) democracy was at risk from the twin challenges of declining civic engagement and rising interpersonal inequality. Sixteen years later, his predictions were vindicated by the election of Donald Trump as president of the US. This paper analyses the extent to which the election of Donald Trump was related to levels of social capital and interpersonal inequalities and posits a third alternative: that the rise in vote for Trump in 2016 was the result of long-term economic and population decline in areas with strong social capital. This hypothesis is confirmed by the econometric analysis conducted for counties across the US. Long-term declines in employment and population – rather than in earnings, salaries, or wages – in places with relatively strong social capital propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. By contrast, low social capital and high interpersonal inequality were not connected to a surge in support for Trump. These results are robust to the introduction of control variables and different inequality measures. The analysis also shows that the discontent at the base of the Trump margin is not just a consequence of the 2008 crisis but had been brewing for a long time. Places in the US that remained cohesive but witnessed an enduring decline are no longer bowling alone, they are golfing with Trump.
    Keywords: Populism, social capital, inequality, economic and demographic decline, Donald Trump, counties, US
    JEL: D31 D72 O15 R11
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Albertini, Marco; Sage, Lucas; Scherer, Stefani
    Abstract: Many scientists are currently contributing research on SARS-CoV2, with social scientists focusing on demographic and behavioral aspects when it comes to the diffusion of the virus. Recent publications include valid contributions about the importance of population’s demographic composition to understand country-differences in fatalities, and some speculations about the origins of different pace and patterns of diffusion. Among them the idea that intergenerational contacts would contribute to explain the fast spread and high fatality among the elderly population in some countries. We argument that in order to contribute to the scientific knowledge speculation is not enough and acknowledge that in the absence of solid, comparable data it is difficult to bring these ideas to an empirical test. Further, we present a simulation experiment shedding serious doubts on the importance of intergenerational contacts to spread the virus on the elderly population but underlining, instead, the importance of the high connectedness within the elderly population. That southern Europeans are not bowling alone seems to be more relevant to explain high diffusion among elderly than their contact to their (grand-)children.
    Date: 2020–06–18
  6. By: Marcella Veronesi; Stefano Carattini
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between generalized trust, temperature fluctuations during the maize growing season, and international migration by asylum seekers. A priori generalized trust can be expected to have an ambiguous effect on migration. On the one hand, countries with higher trust may exhibit higher adaptive capacity to temperature fluctuations and so lower climate-induced migration. On the other hand, trust may also facilitate migration by increasing the likelihood that communities invest in risk sharing through migration and enjoy reliable networks supporting migrants. Hence, it is an empirical question whether trust mitigates or increases the impact of climate change on migration. Our findings are consistent with an ambivalent effect of trust on migration. We find that for moderate temperature fluctuations, trust mitigates the impact of weather on migration. This effect is driven by the role of trust in increasing adaptive capacity. However, for severe temperature fluctuations, communities with higher trust experience more migration. Overall, the former effect dominates the latter, so that the net effect is that trust mitigates migration. Our findings point to important policy implications concerning the role of trust in fostering adaptation by facilitating collective action, and the need for targeted interventions to support adaptation and increase resilience in low-trust societies in which collective action may be harder to achieve.
    Keywords: migration, climate change, trust, adaptation
    JEL: O15 Q54 Z13
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Carattini, Stefano; Roesti, Matthias
    Abstract: This paper combines several large-scale surveys with different identification strategies to shed new light on the determinants of cooperative behavior. We provide evidence indicating that the well-being maximizing level of trust is above the income maximizing level. Higher trust is also linked to more cooperative and pro-social behaviors, including the private provision of global public goods such as climate change mitigation. Consistent with “warm glow” theories of pro-social behavior, our results show that individuals may enjoy being more cooperative than what would lead them to maximize their income, which is reflected in higher levels of well-being.
    Keywords: Cooperation, generalized trust, pro-social behavior, pro-environmental behavior, well-being
    JEL: Q50 H41 I31 D64
    Date: 2020–09
  8. By: Giulietti, Corrado (University of Southampton); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton); Zenou, Yves (Monash University)
    Abstract: This study investigates whether exposure to peer depression in adolescence affects own depression in adulthood. We find a significant long-term depression peer effect for females but not for males in a sample of U.S. adolescents who are followed into adulthood. An increase of one standard deviation of the share of own-gender peers (schoolmates) who are depressed increases the probability of depression in adulthood by 2.6 percentage points for females (or 11.5% of mean depression). We also find that the peer effect is already present in the short term when girls are still in school and provide suggestive evidence for why it persists over time. In particular, we show that peer depression negatively affects the probability of college attendance and the likelihood of working, and leads to a reduction in income of adult females. Further analysis reveals that individuals from families with a lower socioeconomic background are more susceptible to peer influence, thereby suggesting that family can function as a buffer.
    Keywords: peer effects, depression, contagion, gender, family background, adolescence, policy
    JEL: I12 Z13
    Date: 2020–09
  9. By: Maria Tsouri; ;
    Abstract: The proximity literature usually treats proximity in terms of common attributes shared by agents, disregarding the relative position of an actor inside the network. This paper discusses the importance of such dimension of proximity, labelled as in-network proximity, and proposes an empirical measurement for it, assessing its impact (jointly with other dimensions of proximity) on the creation of strong knowledge network ties in ICT in the region of Trentino. The findings show that actors with higher in-network proximity are more attractive for both other central actors and peripheral ones, which is further strengthening their position within the network.
    Keywords: knowledge networks, in-network proximity, strong ties, proximity dimensions
    Date: 2020–09
  10. By: Erlingsson, Gissur Ó (Centre for Local Government Studies)
    Abstract: There are good reasons to expect that citizens will appreciate local government more than central government. Sure enough, previous studies have found support for this assumption. Nevertheless, I will argue that it is theoretically far too simple to think that decentralization and citizen’s proximity to decision-making by definition trumps centralization and distance. As with comparative country studies, institutional quality must be taken into account in analyses of local government and multilevel trust. To illustrate this point, a closer investigation of Sweden – a decentralised, high-trust and low-corruption country – is conducted. Looking back over the past 20 years, and studying several indicators of trust, Sweden turns out to be a curious outlier from the general pattern: Swedes trust municipalities far less than the state. Ex ante, these findings are puzzling. To make them intelligible, while at the same time aiming to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of multilevel trust, I argue that the unfortunate combination of three factors have brought about this curious circumstance: 1) the far-reaching decentralisation and principal role Swedish municipalities have successively been given in implementing assignments which lie at the heart of Swedish welfare state policies; 2) that several of the municipalities’ assignments are particularly susceptible to corruption; and 3) that the increase in responsibilities as well as the increased danger zones for corruption has not been accompanied by institutions that ensure transparency and checks-and-balances in local government, ultimately leaving Swedish local government with institutions that obfuscate accountability.
    Keywords: Trust; Multi-level trust; Accountability; Impartiality; Corruption; Local government; Decentralisation; Sweden
    JEL: D02 H70
    Date: 2020–09–24
  11. By: Matthijs van Veelen (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Most of the literature on the evolution of human pro-sociality looks at reasons why evolution made us not play the Nash equilibrium in prisoners’ dilemmas or public goods games. We suggest that in order to understand human morality, and human prosocial behaviour, we should look at reasons why evolution made us not play the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium in sequential games, such as the ultimatum game and the trust game. The “rationally irrational†behavior that can evolve in those games is a better match with actual human behaviour, including ingredients of morality such as honesty, responsibility, and sincerity, and also less nice properties, such as anger, as well as the incidence of conflict. Moreover, it can not only explain why humans have evolved to know wrong from right, but also why other animals, with similar population structures and similar rates of repetition, have not evolved the morality that humans have.
    JEL: C73
    Date: 2020–09–22
  12. By: Konte,Maty; Vincent,Rose Camille
    Abstract: This paper investigates the local effects of mining on the quality of public services and on people's optimism about their future living conditions. It also assesses the mediating role of local institutions and local governments'taxing rights in shaping the proximity-to-mine effects. The empirical framework connects more than 130,000 respondents from the Afrobarometer survey data (2005-2015) to their closest mines based on the geolocation coordinates of the enumeration areas (EA) and data on the mines and their respective status from the SNL Metals&Mining. The geo-referenced data are matched with new indicators on local governments'taxing rights across the African continent. The results suggest that citizens living near an active mine are less likely to approve government performance in key public goods and services -- including health, job creation and improving living standards of the poor. On the mediating role of local governance and local taxing rights, the findings point to a negative effect of local corruption, yet a positive effect of local authorities? discretion over tax and revenues. However, the positive marginal effect of local taxing powers tends to reduce in environments with poor quality of local governance, high incidence of bribe payment and low level of trust in local government officials. Residents of mining communities with low corruption and comparatively high-level of raising revenue ability have the highest rate of positive appraisal compared to the other scenarios.
    Keywords: Mining&Extractive Industry (Non-Energy),Energy and Natural Resources,Coastal and Marine Resources,Local Government,Social Accountability,Regional Governance
    Date: 2020–09–08
  13. By: Llopis Abella,Jimena; Fruttero,Anna; Tas,Emcet Oktay; Taj,Umar
    Abstract: Public spaces can be an instrument to increase social cohesion, yet they are often underutilized. This paper presents findings from a randomized virtual reality experiment with more than 2,000 participants in Karachi, Pakistan. The paper investigates the relationship between urban design, willingness to use public spaces, and social cohesion. The findings show that exposure to a two-and-a-half-minute-long virtual reality experience featuring various urban design and social diversity elements has a statistically significant impact. In particular, improvements in the design of a public park through the virtual reality experience increased the park's perceived attractiveness and participants'willingness to use it. Exposure to diverse social groups in the virtual reality experience, by itself, had mixed impacts on social cohesion indicators such as trust and perception of and willingness to interact with outgroups. The impacts varied by ethnic affiliation, income, sex, and education level. This may be partly explained by the segregated nature of Karachi and the high prevalence of mistrust of outgroups. The paper illustrates how modern technology can be used as an effective, low-cost tool for diagnosing social phenomena, soliciting feedback about urban interventions for inclusive design, and promoting social contact.
    Keywords: Social Cohesion,Educational Sciences,Gender and Development,Social Inclusion&Institutions,Economic Growth,Economic Theory&Research,Industrial Economics
    Date: 2020–09–21
  14. By: Eliana Avitzour; Adi Choen; Daphna Joel; Victor Lavy
    Abstract: In recent years, explicit bias against women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is disappearing but gender discrimination is still prevalent. We assessed the gender-biased behavior and related explicit and implicit stereotypes of 93 math teachers to identify the psychological origins of such discrimination. We asked the teachers to grade math exam papers and assess the students’ capabilities while manipulating the perceived gender of the students to capture gender-biased grading and assessment behavior. We also measured the teachers’ implicit and explicit stereotypes regarding math, gender, and talent. We found that implicit, but not explicit, gender stereotypes correlated with grading and assessment behavior. We also found that participants who underestimated their own implicit stereotypes engaged in more pro-male discrimination compared to those who overestimated or accurately estimated them. Reducing implicit gender stereotypes and exposing individuals to their own implicit biases may be beneficial in promoting gender equality in STEM fields.
    JEL: J16
    Date: 2020–09
  15. By: Marina Agranov (Caltech - Division of Humanities and Social Sciences); Ran Eilat (Ben-Gurion University - Department of Economics); Konstantin Sonin (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy)
    Abstract: We analyze a simple model of political competition, in which the uninformed median voter chooses whether to follow or ignore the advice of the informed elites. In equilibrium, information transmission is possible only if voters trust the elitesÕ endorsement of potentially biased candidates. When inequality is high, the elitesÕ informational advantage is minimized by the votersÕ distrust. When inequality reaches a certain threshold, the trust, and thus the information transmission, breaks down completely. Finally, the size of the elite forming in equilibrium depends on the amount of trust they are able to maintain.
    Keywords: trust, inequality, political economy, cheap talk, information club
    JEL: D72 D83
    Date: 2020
  16. By: Matthew J. Walker (Durham University Business School); Elena Katok (Naveen Jindal School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas); Jason Shachat (Durham University Business School)
    Abstract: When product quality is unverifiable by third parties, enforceable contracts that condition price upon quality are not feasible. If higher quality is also costly to deliver, moral hazard by sellers flourishes, particularly when procurement is via a competitive auction process. Retainage is a contractual mechanism that presents a solution to the third-party unverifiability problem, by setting aside a portion of the purchase price. After delivery, the buyer has sole discretion over the amount of retainage money that is released to the seller. While generally a feasible contract form to implement, retainage introduces a moral hazard for the buyer. We use laboratory experiments to investigate how and when retainage might be successfully used to facilitate trust and trustworthiness in procurement contracts. We observe that retainage induces a significant improvement in product quality when there are some trustworthy buyers in the population, consistent with a model of fair payment norms that we develop. This improvement is realized at the cost of increased buyer-seller profit inequalities. We also observe that at high levels of retainage, there is a welfaredecreasing market unraveling in which sellers do not bid on contracts. Our results imply that retainage incentives can mitigate the tension between competition and cooperation arising from reverse auctions, but only at appropriate levels of retainage
    Keywords: trust, procurement, reverse auction, retainage, moral hazard
    JEL: C92 L15 D86
    Date: 2020
  17. By: Cueva, Carlos
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic forced almost all professional football matches worlwide to be played in empty stadiums. This large-scale natural experiment offers a unique opportunity to assess the impact of social pressure on decision making and behavior. In particular, I investigate the effect of the home crowd on match outcomes and referee decisions. Using a large dataset from 41 professional football leagues in 30 different countries, I find that the home advantage in match outcomes drops by around one half and that referee bias against away teams completely disappears following the lockdowns. My results therefore suggest that social pressure exerted by home crowds has an important effect on the behavior of referees and on game outcomes.
    Date: 2020–09–11
  18. By: Onel, Gulcan
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Labor and Human Capital, Agricultural and Food Policy
    Date: 2020–07
  19. By: van den Berg, Gerard J. (University of Bristol); Kesternich, Iris (KU Leuven.); Müller, Gerrit (Institute for Employment Research); Siinger, Bettina M. (Tilburg University, Netspar)
    Abstract: We investigate how negatively reciprocal traits of unemployed individuals interact with "sticks" policies imposing constraints on individual job search effort in the context of the German welfare system. For this we merge survey data of long-term unemployed individuals, containing indicators of reciprocity as a personality trait, to a unique set of register data on all unemployed coached by the same team of caseworkers and their treatments. We find that the combination of a higher negative reciprocity and a stricter regime have a negative interaction effect on search effort exerted by the unemployed. The results are stronger for males than for females. Stricter regimes may therefore drive long-term unemployed males with certain types of social preferences further away from the labor market.
    Keywords: behavioral response; active labor market policy; monitoring; welfare; job search.
    JEL: D91 I38 J64
    Date: 2020–09–11

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