nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒11‒09
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Trust and Specialization: Evidence from U.S. States By José De Sousa; Amélie Guillin; Julie Lochard; Arthur Silve
  2. Trust or property rights? Can trusted relationships substitute for costly land registration in West African cities? By Lucie Letrouit; Harris Selod
  3. Social Norms and Legal Design By Bruno Deffains; Claude Fluet
  4. Close social networks among older adults: the online and offline perspectives By Beatriz Sofía Gil-Clavel; Emilio Zagheni; Valeria Bordone
  5. Social Barriers to Female Migration: Theory and Evidence from Bangladesh By Amirapu, Amrit; Asadullah, M Niaz; Wahhaj, Zaki
  6. Inequality, institutions and cooperation By Thomas Markussen; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
  7. Why are connections to editorial board members of economics journals valuable? By Lorenzo Ductor; Bauke Visser

  1. By: José De Sousa; Amélie Guillin; Julie Lochard; Arthur Silve
    Abstract: Is culture a determinant of a jurisdiction’s comparative advantage? U.S. states that display a high level of generalized trust specialize in more “complex” industries that use contracts more intensively in their input-output relationships. This pattern is not driven by differences in states’ other observable characteristics or by unobservable time-varying industry- or state-specific factors, and it does not reflect selection by export destination. Theoretical considerations suggest that trust may be endogenous to the location of complex industries. An instrumental variable strategy that leverages the contemporary trust impact of historical racial discrimination confirms that trust factors into the comparative advantage of U.S. states.
    Keywords: : Trust, Complexity, Comparative Advantage, Specialization
    JEL: F10 Z13
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Lucie Letrouit (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Harris Selod (The World Bank - The World Bank - The World Bank)
    Abstract: Using an urban land use model, we study the market failures associated with land tenure insecurity and information asymmetry, and analyze households' responses to mitigate tenure insecurity. When buyers and sellers of land plots can pair along trusted kinship lines whereby deception (the nondisclosure 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. We compare the overall surpluses under these trust and registration models and under a hybrid version of the model that reffects 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 su ciently reduced.
    Keywords: Land markets,property rights,information asymmetry,informal land use,land registration,ethnic kinship
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Bruno Deffains; Claude Fluet
    Abstract: We consider legal obligations against a background of social norms, e.g., societal norms, profes-sional codes of conduct or business standards. Violations of the law trigger reputational sanctions insofar as they signal non-adherence to underlying norms, raising the issue of the design of offences. When society is only concerned with the trade-off between deterrence and enforcement costs, legal standards defining offences should align on underlying norms so long as the latter are not too deficient. When providing productive information to third parties is also a concern, legal standards should either align on underlying norms with fines that trade off deterrence against the provision of information; or legal standards should be more demanding and enforced with purely symbolic sanctions, e.g., public reprimands. Our analysis has implications for general law enforcement and regulatory policies.
    Keywords: : Stigmatization, reputational sanctions, social norms, law enforcement, legal standard, com-pliance, deterrence.
    JEL: D8 K4 Z13
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Beatriz Sofía Gil-Clavel (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Emilio Zagheni (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Valeria Bordone (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Qualitative studies have found that the use of Information and Communication Technologies is related to an enhanced quality of life for older adults, as these technologies might act as a medium to access social capital regardless of distance. In order to quantitatively study the association between older people’s characteristics and the likelihood of having a network of close friends offline and online, we use data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and from Facebook. Using a novel approach to analyze aggregated and anonymous Facebook data within a regression framework, we show that the associations between having close friends and age, sex and being a parent are the same offline and online. Migrants who use internet are less likely to have close friends offline, but migrants who are Facebook users are more likely to have close friends online, suggesting that digital relationships may compensate for the potential lack of offline close friendships among older migrants.
    Keywords: Europe, old age, social capital, social network
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Amirapu, Amrit; Asadullah, M Niaz; Wahhaj, Zaki
    Abstract: Traditional gender norms can restrict independent migration by women, thus preventing them from taking advantage of economic opportunities in urban non-agricultural industries. However, women may be able to circumvent such restrictions by using marriage to engage in long-distance migration - if they are able to match with migrating grooms. Guided by a theoretical model in which women make marriage and migration decisions jointly, we hypothesize that marriage and labour markets will be inextricably linked by the possibility of marital migration. To test our hypotheses, we use the event of the construction of a major bridge in Bangladesh - which dramatically reduced travel time between the economically deprived north-western region and the manufacturing belt located around the capital city Dhaka - as a source of plausibly exogenous variation in migration costs. Our empirical ffndings support our model's main predictions and provide strong evidence for the existence of social barriers to female migration.
    Keywords: migration,marriage markets,female labour force participation,gender norms
    JEL: J12 J16 J61 O15 O18 R23
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Thomas Markussen; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: We examine the effects of randomly introduced economic inequality on voluntary co-operation and whether this relationship is influenced by the quality of local institutions, as proxied by corruption. We use representative data from a large-scale lab-in-the-field public goods experiment with over 1,300 participants across rural Vietnam. Our results show that inequality adversely affects aggregate contributions, and this is on account of high endowment individuals contributing a significantly smaller share than those with low endowments. This negative effect of inequality on cooperation is exacerbated in high corruption environments. We nd that corruption leads to more pessimistic beliefs about others' contributions in heterogeneous groups, and this is an important mechanism explaining our results. In doing so, we highlight the indirect costs of corruption that are understudied in the literature. These findings have implications for public policies aimed at resolving local collective action problems.
    Keywords: Inequality, institutions, corruption, public goods, lab-in-field experiment
    JEL: H41 D73 D90 O12
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Lorenzo Ductor (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Bauke Visser (Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute)
    Abstract: Using novel and large-scale data, we estimate the causal effect of being connected to an editorial board member of an economics journal on a department’s or coauthor’s success in publishing in the journal. Prior studies suggests that editors are helping colleagues not themselves and that connections lead to markedly better papers. Instead, we explicitly take into account that authors and editorial board members are not two distinct sets of persons and find that of the overall 27% increase in a department’s annual publication record in a journal, 73% is thanks to the increase in the number of publications by editorial board members themselves. At the individual level, co-authors publish 7% more articles in the journal, excluding the work with the editorial board member. More editorial power, captured by the member’s role in the submission process, and long service on the editorial board lead to substantially larger increases. We analyze various mechanisms. Rather than a marked increase in quality thanks to connections, we find no such increase (nor signs of favoritism). Analysis of individual-level connections suggests that connections act as signals of a coauthor’s quality.
    Keywords: editorial boards, networks, collaboration
    JEL: A11 D71 I26 J44 O30
    Date: 2020–10–20

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