nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒10‒12
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Hate Trumps Love: The Impact of Political Polarization on Social Preferences By Eugen Dimant
  2. Parental Involvement and the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Preferences, Attitude and Personality Traits By Maria Zumbuehl; Thomas Dohmen; Gerard Pfann
  3. Formation of flower networks with endogenous information benet from connections By Laurent, Thibault; Panova, Elena
  4. Clean Energy Innovation and the Influence of Venture Capitalists' Social Capital By Till Fust
  5. Knowledge Networks and Strong Tie Creation: the Role of Relative Network Position By Maria Tsouri; ;
  6. Regional Variations in the Brexit Vote: Causes and Potential Consequences By David Blackaby; Stephen Drinkwater; Catherine Robinson
  7. Public Discourse and Socially Responsible Market Behavior By Björn Bartling; Vanessa Valero; Roberto A. Weber; Yao Lan
  8. Large Losses from Little Lies: Randomly Assigned Opportunity to Misrepresent Substantially Lowers Later Cooperation and Worsens Income Inequality By Michalis Drouvelis; Jennifer Gerson; Nattavudh Powdthavee; Yohanes E. Riyanto
  9. Traditional Norms, Access to Divorce and Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Indonesia By Olivier Bargain; Jordan Loper; Roberta Ziparo
  10. Alone, Together. Product Discovery Through Consumer Ratings By Tommaso Bondi
  11. Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply By Boelmann, Barbara; Raute, Anna; Schönberg, Uta

  1. By: Eugen Dimant (University of Pennsylvania; CESifo, Munich; Identity and Conflict Lab)
    Abstract: Political polarization has ruptured the fabric of U.S. society. The focus of this paper is to examine various layers of (non-)strategic decision-making that are plausibly affected by political polarization through the lens of one's feelings of hate and love for Donald J. Trump. In several pre-registered experiments, I document the behavioral-, belief-, and norm-based mechanisms through which perceptions of interpersonal closeness, altruism, and cooperativeness are affected by polarization, both within and between political factions. To separate ingroup-love from outgroup-hate, the political setting is contrasted with a minimal group setting. I find strong heterogeneous effects: ingroup-love occurs in the perceptional domain (how close one feels towards others), whereas outgroup-hate occurs in the behavioral domain (how one helps/harms/cooperates with others). In addition, the pernicious outcomes of partisan identity also comport with the elicited social norms. Noteworthy, the rich experimental setting also allows me to examine the drivers of these behaviors, suggesting that the observed partisan rift might be not as forlorn as previously suggested: in the contexts studied here, the adverse behavioral impact of the resulting intergroup conflict can be attributed to one's grim expectations about the cooperativeness of the opposing faction, as opposed to one's actual unwillingness to cooperate with them.
    Keywords: Identity, Norms, Political Polarization, Social Preferences, Trump
    JEL: B41 D01 D9
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Maria Zumbuehl (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Thomas Dohmen (University of Bonn, Maastricht University, IZA, DIW and CESifo); Gerard Pfann (Maastricht University, CEPR, CESifo, IZA, DIA and SOFI)
    Abstract: We empirically investigate the link between parental involvement and shaping of the economic preferences, attitudes and personality traits of their children. We exploit information on the risk and trust attitudes, the Big Five personality traits and locus of control of parents and their children, as well as rich information about parental efforts in the upbringing of their children from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study. Our results show that parents who are more involved in the upbringing of their children have children with more favourable attitudes and traits. These children rank higher in traits that further their success in life, and they are more similar to their parents in those attitudes, where the optimum level is more ambiguous.
    Keywords: Risk preferences, trust, intergenerational transmission, cultural transmission, social mobility, SOEP
    JEL: D9 Z1 J13 J62
  3. By: Laurent, Thibault; Panova, Elena
    Abstract: Various social networks share prominent features: clustering, rightskewed degree distribution, segregation into densely connected com- munities. We build network formation game rationalizing these features with signal-extraction benet by network participants. The players build network to exchange their private signals on the relevant state. We show that a family of Nash equilibrium networks possesses the above-mentioned prominent features of real networks. We show, furthermore, that networks with these features are e¢ cient.
    Keywords: network formation, endogenous information benet, clustering, hubs, differentiated priors, Bayesian learning in networks.
    JEL: D82 D85 C72
    Date: 2020–09–24
  4. By: Till Fust
    Abstract: This study contributes to the understanding of the enabling role that venture capitalists can play in bringing new innovative technologies to market, with a focus on clean energy technologies. Applying the structural model introduced by Sorensen (2007) that allows to control for a potential sorting bias, I estimate the influence of venture capital investor's social capital on startups' funding and exit performance, with social capital de ned as the investors' eigencentrality and constraint within the network of investors. Looking at startups' first venture capital funding rounds in California between 2001 and 2019, this study finds a positive and significant influence of the lead investor's eigencentrality on the funding amount raised and the exit probability of the firm. Furthermore, a less constrained lead investor also increases the chance of the startup's eventual exit. But no differentiated effect for cleantech startups compared to other industries is found.
    Keywords: Venture Capitalists;CleanEnergy; Clean Technologies; Startups; Capital Funding; Cleantech startup
    JEL: O14 O33 Q41 Q42
    Date: 2020–09–29
  5. 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
  6. By: David Blackaby (Swansea University and WISERD); Stephen Drinkwater (University of Roehampton, London CReAM (UCL), IZA Bonn and WISERD); Catherine Robinson (University of Kent and WISERD)
    Abstract: There were large regional differentials in the Brexit vote. Most notably, the percentage voting to leave the EU ranged from 38% in Scotland and 40% in London to 59% in the East and West Midlands. Turnout also varied across Britain, from a low of 67% in Scotland to 77% in the South East and South West. Existing empirical studies have tended to focus on the demographic composition of geographical areas to identify the key socio-economic characteristics in explaining spatial and other variations in the leave vote - with age and education found to be important drivers. We use the British Social Attitudes Survey to provide a more nuanced picture of regional differences in the Brexit vote by examining in particular the role that national identity and attitudes towards immigration played. In addition to education, we find that national identity exerted a strong influence on the probability voting leave in several English regions, including the East, North East, London and South East. Whereas, over and above this, concerns about immigration had a quantitatively large and highly significant impact in all regions bar London, and the East to a lesser extent. Differences by country of birth are also explored, with national identity and concerns about immigration having a larger impact for the English-born. Our findings are then discussed in the light of changes that have affected regional economies during the process of increased globalisation, austerity, the current Covid-19 crisis and recent UK government announcements to rebalance the economy.
    Keywords: Brexit; Regional Economies; Globalisation; Immigration
    JEL: D72 R11 F60 J61
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Björn Bartling; Vanessa Valero; Roberto A. Weber; Yao Lan
    Abstract: We investigate the causal impact of public discourse on socially responsible market behavior. We conduct laboratory market experiments with products that differ in their production costs and social impact, and provide market actors and impacted third parties with the opportunity to discuss appropriate market behavior. Across two studies that vary characteristics of the discourse, the external impact and the participants, we find that public discourse substantially increases market social responsibility. Our findings suggest that discussions and campaigns focusing on appropriate market behavior can be powerful tools for shaping responsible norms governing market conduct and addressing inefficiencies due to market failures.
    Keywords: public discourse, market failure, externalities, social responsibility, social norms, experiment, communication
    JEL: C92 D62 D83 M14
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Michalis Drouvelis; Jennifer Gerson; Nattavudh Powdthavee; Yohanes E. Riyanto
    Abstract: Social media has made anonymized behavior online a prevalent part of many people’s daily interactions. The implications of this new ability to hide one’s identity information remain imperfectly understood. Might it be corrosive to human cooperation? This paper investigates the possibility that a small deceptive act of misrepresenting some information about one’s real identity to others – a social media-related behavior commonly known as ‘catfishing’ – increases the likelihood that the individual will go on to behave uncooperatively in an otherwise anonymous prisoner’s dilemma game. In our intention-to-treat analysis, we demonstrated that randomly allowing people to misrepresent their gender identity information reduced the aggregate cooperation level by approximately 12-13 percentage points. Not only that the average catfisher was substantially more likely to go on to defect than participants in the control and the true gender groups, those who were paired with a potential catfisher also defected significantly more often as well. Participants also suffered a significant financial loss from having been randomly matched with a catfisher; 64% of those who played against someone who chose to misrepresent information about their gender received a payoff of zero from the prisoner’s dilemma game. Our results suggest that even small short-term opportunities to misrepresent one’s identity to others can potentially be extremely harmful to later human cooperation and the economic well-being of the victims.
    Keywords: cooperation, misrepresentation, social media, social dilemma, experiment
    JEL: C92 D91
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Olivier Bargain; Jordan Loper; Roberta Ziparo
    Abstract: Social norms can interact with formal institutions in shaping women’s autonomy. We examine this question in the context of legal reforms and their differentiated impact on divorce and empowerment across traditional modes of post-marital cohabitation. Global evidence first shows that the degree of ancestral matrilocality (i.e. the practice of living with the bride’s relatives after marriage) correlates with contemporaneous opinions about gender role. This is especially the case in countries with low divorce rates such as Indonesia. We then exploit a policy experiment for this country, which exogenously fosters women’s access to justice and ability to divorce. We theoretically establish how women originating from matrilocal ethnic groups should respond to the reform compared to those from patrilocal ethnicities. We confirm the model predictions using a panel difference-in-difference approach: the former divorce more and, when in stable marriages, experience a significant improvement in well-being and empowerment. This result is consistently obtained for a broad range of outcomes including women’s health, fertility control, asset value, women’s and children’s well-being as well as women’s final say over key decisions. Modern legal reforms compound with ancestral norms and exacerbate potential inequalities between women of different ethnic origins. This conclusion calls for better tailored policies that can transcend cultural contexts and overcome the adherence to informal laws.
    Keywords: Legal Reforms; Divorce; Ethnic Norms; Intra-Household Decision-Making
    JEL: D13 I15 I38 J16 K36 Z13
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Tommaso Bondi (NYU Stern School of Business, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012.)
    Abstract: Consumer ratings have become a prevalent driver of choice. I develop a model of social learning in which ratings can inform consumers about both product quality and their idiosyncratic taste for them. Depending on consumers’ prior knowledge, I show that ratings relatively advantage lower quality and more polarizing products. The reason lies in the stronger positive consumer self-selection these products generate: to buy them despite their deficiencies, their buyers must have a strong taste for them. Relatedly, consumer ratings should not be used to infer which products are polarizing: what is polarizing ex-ante needs not be so among its buyers. I test these predictions using Goodreads book ratings data, and find strong evidence for them. Goodreads appears to serve mostly a matching purpose: tracking the behavior of its users over time reveals an increasing degree of specialization as they gather experience on the platform: they rate books with a lower average and number of ratings, while focusing on fewer genres. Thus, they become less similar to their average peer. Taken together, the findings suggest that consumer ratings contribute to both the long tail and, relatedly, consumption segregation. For managers, this illustrates, counterintuitively, the reputational benefits of polarizing products, particularly early in a firm’s lifecycle, but only when paired with the ability to match with the right consumers.
    Keywords: consumer ratings; social learning; polarization; cultural markets.
    JEL: L13 L43 L96
    Date: 2019–09
  11. By: Boelmann, Barbara; Raute, Anna; Schönberg, Uta (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "Does the culture in which a woman grows up influence her labor market decisions once she has had a child? To what extent might the culture of her present social environment shape maternal labor supply? To address these questions, we exploit the setting of German reunification. A state socialist country, East Germany strongly encouraged mothers to participate in the labor market full-time, whereas West Germany propagated a more traditional male breadwinner-model. After reunification, these two cultures were suddenly thrown together, with consequent increased social interactions between East and West Germans through migration and commuting. A comparison of East and West German mothers on both sides of the former Inner German border within the same commuting zone shows that culture matters. Indeed, East German mothers return to work more quickly and for longer hours than West German mothers even two decades after reunification. Second, in exploiting migration across this old border, we document a strong asymmetry in the persistence of the culture in which women were raised. Whereas East German female migrants return to work earlier and work longer hours than their West German colleagues even after long exposure to the more traditional West German culture, West German migrants adjust their post-birth labor supply behavior nearly entirely to that of their East German colleagues. Finally, taking advantage of differential inflows of East German migrants across West German firms in the aftermath of reunification, we show that even a partial exposure to East German colleagues induces 'native' West German mothers to accelerate their return to work after childbirth, suggesting that migration might be a catalyst for cultural change." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en)) Additional Information Zusammenfassung
    JEL: J01

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