nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒12‒07
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Social Proximity and the Erosion of Norm Compliance By Bicchieri, Cristina; Dimant, Eugen; Gächter, Simon; Nosenzo, Daniele
  2. Ethnic cooperation and conflict in Kenya By Barriga, Alicia; Ferguson, Neil T. N.; Fiala, Nathan; Leroch, Martin Alois
  3. Family Ties and the Pandemic: Some Evidence from Sars-CoV-2 By Luca Di Gialleonardo; Mauro Marè; Antonello Motroni; Francesco Porcelli
  4. Revenge of the Experts: Will COVID-19 Renew or Diminish Public Trust in Science? By Eichengreen, Barry; Aksoy, Cevat Giray; Saka, Orkun
  5. Political Connections and White-collar Crime: Evidence from Insider Trading in France By Bourveau, Thomas; Coulomb, Renaud; Sangnier, Marc
  6. The Volunteer’s Dilemma explains the Bystander Effect By Pol Campos-Mercade
  7. Blockchain and Institutions (I): trust and (de)centralization By Plinio Limata

  1. By: Bicchieri, Cristina (University of Pennsylvania); Dimant, Eugen (University of Pennsylvania); Gächter, Simon (University of Nottingham); Nosenzo, Daniele (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: We study how individuals' compliance with norms of pro-social behavior is influenced by other actors' compliance in a novel, dynamic, and non-strategic experimental setting. We are particularly interested in the role that social proximity among peers plays in eroding or upholding norm compliance. Our results suggest that social proximity is crucial. In settings without known proximity, norm compliance erodes swiftly because participants only conform to observed norm violations of their peers while ignoring norm compliance. With known social proximity, participants conform to both types of observed behaviors, thus halting the erosion of norm compliance. Our findings stress the importance of the broader social context for norm compliance and show that, even in the absence of social sanctions, compliance can be sustained in repeated interactions, provided there is group identification, as is the case in many social encounters in natural and online environments.
    Keywords: norm compliance, social norms, social proximity
    JEL: C92 D64 D9
    Date: 2020–11
  2. By: Barriga, Alicia; Ferguson, Neil T. N.; Fiala, Nathan; Leroch, Martin Alois
    Abstract: There is growing evidence that ethnic divisions and conflict experience affect social capital and economic interactions, in both positive and negative ways. However, recent work has suggested that the experience of electoral violence in Kenya does not correlate with laboratory behavior between the two largest ethnic groups, the Luo and Kikuyu. We conduct a similar set of experiments measuring social capital and find the same results: altruism, trusting and trustworthy behavior, and cooperation between these two ethnic groups are not affected by priming people on the ethnic identity of their partners or on the salience of election conflict. Our findings suggest electoral violence does not necessarily lead to changes in behavior between ethnic groups and that cooperative failure across groups may be easily overstated or have other mechanisms.
    Keywords: ethnic cooperation,conflict,election violence,priming
    JEL: C90 H41 O43
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Luca Di Gialleonardo (Mefop, Rome, Italy); Mauro Marè (Tuscia and Luiss University, Italy); Antonello Motroni (Mefop, Rome, Italy); Francesco Porcelli (University of Bari)
    Abstract: This paper provides an empirical analysis of the relationship between the strength of family ties and the spread of Sars-CoV-2. The dataset is constructed for a cross-section of 63 countries combining different data sources, to cover seven dimensions: the spread of the virus, family ties, trust and religion, policies implemented to stop the outbreak, status of the economy, geography, demography. We observe a robust positive relationship between family ties and the contagion rate across the world; in particular, the attitude of parents towards the wellbeing for their children is the main force that drives the positive correlation with the contagion. Instead, the respect toward parents (the variable love-parents) seems to be a component of the family ties which negatively correlates with the diffusion of Sars-CoV-2, leading to the final quadratic relationship between the overall family ties strength and the spread of the virus. As conclusive evidence, we observe that the death rate, as well as the recovery rate, are not affected by the strength of family ties and other social capital variables. What matters, in this case, are structural variables like GPD, number of hospital beds per capita, life expectance, median age and geographical location.
    Keywords: Family Ties, Sars-CoV-2, social capital, pandemic
    JEL: A13 I12 I18
    Date: 2020–11
  4. By: Eichengreen, Barry (University of California, Berkeley); Aksoy, Cevat Giray (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development); Saka, Orkun (University of Sussex)
    Abstract: It is sometimes said that an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will be heightened appreciation of the importance of scientific research and expertise. We test this hypothesis by examining how exposure to previous epidemics affected trust in science and scientists. Building on the "impressionable years hypothesis" that attitudes are durably formed during the ages 18 to 25, we focus on individuals exposed to epidemics in their country of residence at this particular stage of the life course. Combining data from a 2018 Wellcome Trust survey of more than 75,000 individuals in 138 countries with data on global epidemics since 1970, we show that such exposure has no impact on views of science as an endeavor but that it significantly reduces trust in scientists and in the benefits of their work. We also illustrate that the decline in trust is driven by the individuals with little previous training in science subjects. Finally, our evidence suggests that epidemic-induced distrust translates into lower compliance with health-related policies in the form of negative views towards vaccines and lower rates of child vaccination.
    Keywords: impressionable years, scientists, trust, epidemics, COVID-19
    JEL: D83 F50 I19
    Date: 2020–11
  5. By: Bourveau, Thomas; Coulomb, Renaud; Sangnier, Marc
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether political connections affect individuals' propensity to engage in white-collar crime. We identify connections by campaign donations or direct friendships and use the 2007 French Presidential election as a marker of change in the value of political connections to the winning candidate. We compare the behavior of Directors of publicly listed companies who were connected to the future President to the behavior of other non-connected Directors, before and after the election. Consistent with the belief that connections to a powerful politician can protect someone from prosecution or punishment, we uncover indirect evidence that connected Directors are more likely to engage in suspicious insider trading after the election: Purchases by connected Directors trigger larger abnormal returns, connected Directors are less likely to comply with trading disclosure requirements in a timely fashion, and connected Directors trade closer in time to their firms' announcements of results.
    Keywords: Political Connections, White-Collar Crime, Insider Trading
    JEL: D72 G14 G18 G38 K22 K42
    Date: 2020–11
  6. By: Pol Campos-Mercade (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: The bystander effect is the phenomenon that people are less likely to help others when they are in a group than when they are alone. The theoretical literature typically explains the bystander effect with the volunteer’s dilemma: if providing help is equivalent to creating a public good, then bystanders could be less likely to help in groups because they free ride on the other bystanders. This paper uses a dynamic game to experimentally test such strategic interactions as an explanation for the bystander effect. In line with the predictions of the volunteer’s dilemma, I find that bystanders help immediately when they are alone but help later and are less likely to help if they are part of a larger group. In contrast to the model’s predictions, subjects in need of help are helped earlier and are more likely to be helped in larger groups. This finding can be accounted for in an extended model that includes both altruistic and selfish bystanders. The paper concludes that the volunteer’s dilemma is a sensible way to model situations in which someone is in need of help, but it highlights the need to take heterogeneous social preferences into account.
    Keywords: volunteer’s dilemma, bystander effect, helping behavior, group size, altruism
    JEL: C92 D64 D90
    Date: 2020–11–27
  7. By: Plinio Limata (LUMSA University)
    Abstract: It has been argued that the adoption of the blockchain technology may lead to the disruption of many current institutions such as markets, property rights, public registries, and so on. The academic literature exploring the potential institutional applications of blockchain technologies is in its infancy but is proliferating. This literature review focuses on certain institutional critical aspects of the blockchain. Trust and (de)centralization are pivotal to the functioning of markets and society in general; blockchain promises to profoundly transform both and their correlated institutions. Technology and behaviors have a reciprocal influence. Results show several issues that must not be underestimated to develop the applications of the blockchain properly, and therefore reach shared benefits and avoid unintentional negative impacts at both micro (individual) and macro (societal) level.
    Keywords: blockchain, trust, decentralized governance
    JEL: A13 D26 P48 O33
    Date: 2020–11

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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