nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒12‒14
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. COVID-19, Trust and Solidarity in the EU By Aksoy Cevat Giray; Antonio Cabrales; Mathias Dolls; Windsteiger Lisa
  2. The Brexit referendum and the rise in hate crime; conforming to the new norm By Facundo Albornoz; Jake Bradley; Silvia Sonderegger
  3. Christian missions and anti-gay attitudes in Africa By Maxim Ananyev; Michael Poyker
  4. Personal norms — and not only social norms — shape economic behavior By Bašic, Zvonimir; Eugenio Verrina
  5. Birth in Hard Times When You Belong To Minorities By Bertoli, Paola; Grembi, Veronica; Nguyen, The Linh Bao
  6. Political Ideology, Cooperation, and National Parochialism Across 42 Nations By Angelo Romano; Matthias Sutter; James H. Liu; Daniel Balliet
  7. Social contacts in the post-lockdown period By Ambra Poggi
  8. Love Thy Neighbour? Brexit and Hate Crime By Carr, Joel; Clifton-Sprigg, Joanna; James, Jonathan; Vujic, Suncica
  9. Social learning along international migrant networks By Yuan Tian; Maria Esther Caballero; Brian K. Kovak
  10. Emotions in Online Content Diffusion By Yifan Yu; Shan Huang; Yuchen Liu; Yong Tan

  1. By: Aksoy Cevat Giray; Antonio Cabrales; Mathias Dolls; Windsteiger Lisa
    Abstract: We design and conduct large-scale surveys and experiments in eleven European countries to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on social trust, reciprocity, solidarity as well as institutional trust. Using incentivized outcome questions on trust and solidarity towards fellow citizens, people from other EU countries and non-EU countries, we assess the causal effect of priming respondents about the COVID-19 crisis. We find that respondents correctly believing that they live in an EU country with a below average COVID-19 incidence show higher levels of trust and reciprocity towards fellow citizens than respondents in the control group. In contrast, respondents who wrongly assume to live in a high incidence country reveal a lower level of reciprocity. For respondents who rightly believe that incidence is high in their country we find positive treatment effects on solidarity. Our study further establishes that the pandemic reduces trust in institutions, in particular for those respondents who (rightly) believe that their country’s is strongly hit by COVID-19.
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Facundo Albornoz; Jake Bradley; Silvia Sonderegger
    Abstract: We show that the sharp increase in hate crime following the Brexit referendum was more pronounced in more pro-remain areas. This is consistent with a model where behavior is dictated by the desire to conform to imperfectly observed social norms in addition to following individual preferences, and where the referendum revealed that society’s real preferences over immigration were less positive than previously thought. For identification, we exploit the feature that the referendum revealed new information overnight in a context where other determinants of attitudes remained constant. The data can be replicated with a sensible parameterization of the model.
    Keywords: Hate crime, Brexit, attitudes towards immigrants, social norms, value of information
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Maxim Ananyev; Michael Poyker
    Abstract: We argue that colonial Christian missions had a long-term impact on anti-gay attitudes in Africa. We use a geo-coded representative survey of African countries and the location of historical Christian missions to estimate a significant and economically meaningful association between proximity to historical missions and anti-gay sentiments today. Using anthropological data on pre-colonial acceptance of homosexual practices among indigenous groups, we show that the establishment of missions, while nonrandom, was exogenous to pre-existing same-sex patterns among indigenous population. The estimated effect is driven by persons of Christian faith and statistically indistinguishable from zero on samples of Muslims, nonbelievers, and followers of traditional indigenous religions. Thus, we argue that our results are indicative of a causal effect of missionary religious conversion to Christianity.
    Keywords: Missions, Africa, Tolerance, Homosexuals, Religion
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Bašic, Zvonimir (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Eugenio Verrina (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: While social norms have received great attention within economics, little is known about the role of personal norms. We propose a simple utility framework — which assumes that people care about monetary payoff, social norms and personal norms — and design a novel two-part experiment to investigate the predictive value of personal norms across four economic games. We show that personal norms — together with social norms and monetary payoff — are highly predictive of individuals’ behavior. Moreover, they are: i) inherently distinct from social norms across a series of economic contexts, ii) robust to an exogenous increase in social image concerns, which increases the predictive value of social norms but does not weaken that of personal norms, and iii) complementary to social norms in predicting behavior, as a model with both personal and social norms outperforms a model with only one of the two norms. Taken together, our results support personal norms as a key driver of economic behavior, relevant in a wide array of economic settings.
    Keywords: Personal norms, social norms, social image, reputation, elicitation method, normative conflict
    JEL: C91 D01 D63 D64 D91
    Date: 2020–10
  5. By: Bertoli, Paola; Grembi, Veronica; Nguyen, The Linh Bao
    Abstract: Combining a unique dataset of birth records with municipal-level real estate infor- mation, we assess the impact of the 2008 recession on the health of immigrant newborns in Italy. Health at birth (e.g., low birth weight) of immigrants deteriorated more than health at birth of Italians. The negative effects on immigrants are not equally dis- tributed across ethnicities, but rather they are driven by the main economic activity of the ethnicity and its related network at the municipal level. Immigrants whose ethnicity is mainly employed in the sectors most affected during the recession, suffered the most. By contrast, the recession hardship is mitigated for immigrants in municipalities where their ethnic network is organized through more registered immigrant associations. The characteristics of ethnic groups and their organization at the municipal level do not explain the heterogeneous effects on Italian newborns and this confirms network rather than neighborhood effects.
    Keywords: Recessions,Immigrants,Low birth weight,Premature babies,Networks
    JEL: I1 I12 J15 J60
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Angelo Romano (Leiden University); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); James H. Liu (Massey University, Auckland, NZ); Daniel Balliet (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Political ideology has been hypothesized to be associated with cooperation and national parochialism (i.e., greater cooperation with members of one’s nation), with liberals thought to have more cooperation with strangers and less national parochialism, compared to conservatives. However, previous findings are limited to few – and predominantly western – nations. Here, we present a large-scale cross-societal experiment that can test hypotheses on the relation between political ideology, cooperation, and national parochialism around the globe. To do so, we recruited 18,411 participants from 42 nations. Participants made decisions in a prisoner’s dilemma game, and we manipulated the nationality of their interaction partner (national ingroup member, national outgroup member, or unidentified stranger). We found that liberals, compared to conservatives, displayed slightly greater cooperation, trust in others, and greater identification with the world as a whole. Conservatives, however, identified more strongly with their own nation and displayed slightly greater national parochialism in cooperation. Importantly, the association between political ideology and behavior was significant in nations characterized by higher wealth, stronger rule of law, and better government effectiveness. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the association between political ideology and cooperation.
    Keywords: Cooperation, political ideology, culture, parochial altruism
    Date: 2020–11
  7. By: Ambra Poggi
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought tighter restrictions on the daily lives of millions of people. In this paper, we investigate the effects of the pandemic on social contacts during the post-lockdown period in the UK. We find a negative correlation between social contacts and individual concerns for health risks and a new lockdown. We also find a substantial “inefficiency” in socialization in the post-lockdown period. These results support a scenario in which social contacts stay low for a long while, perhaps impacting negatively on wellbeing in the long run.
    Keywords: social contacts, COVID-19, count model, inefficiency
    JEL: Z13 D91 H12 I18 C13
    Date: 2020–12
  8. By: Carr, Joel (University of Antwerp); Clifton-Sprigg, Joanna (University of Bath); James, Jonathan (University of Bath); Vujic, Suncica (University of Antwerp)
    Abstract: We provide causal evidence of the impact of the Brexit referendum vote on hate crime in the United Kingdom (UK). Using various data sources, including unique data collected from the UK Police Forces by Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, and various estimation methods (difference-in-differences, event-study analysis and synthetic control methods), we find that the Brexit referendum led to an increase in hate crime by around 15-25%. This effect was concentrated in the first quarter after the referendum and was larger in areas that voted to leave the European Union (EU). We also provide evidence against the hypotheses that this was due to victims' greater willingness to report crimes or due to changes in police behaviour and perceptions of the victims. We also present suggestive evidence that the media and social media played a small but significant role in the increase in hate crime.
    Keywords: Brexit, referendum vote, hate crime, synthetic control method
    JEL: D72 J15 K42
    Date: 2020–11
  9. By: Yuan Tian; Maria Esther Caballero; Brian K. Kovak
    Abstract: We document the transmission of social distancing practices from the United States to Mexico along migrant networks during the early 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Using data on pre-existing migrant connections between Mexican and U.S. locations and mobile-phone tracking data revealing social distancing behavior, we find larger declines in mobility in Mexican regions whose emigrants live in U.S. locations with stronger social distancing practices. We rule out confounding pre-trends and use a variety of controls and an instrumental variables strategy based on U.S. stay-at-home orders to rule out the potential influence of disease transmission and migrant sorting between similar locations. Given this evidence, we conclude that our findings represent the effect of information transmission between Mexican migrants living in the U.S. and residents of their home locations in Mexico. Our results demonstrate the importance of personal connections when policymakers seek to change fundamental social behaviors.
    Keywords: Social Learning, Migration, Mexico-U.S., Network, COVID-19
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Yifan Yu; Shan Huang; Yuchen Liu; Yong Tan
    Abstract: Social media-transmitted online information, particularly content that is emotionally charged, shapes our thoughts and actions. In this study, we incorporate social network theories and analyses to investigate how emotions shape online content diffusion, using a computational approach. We rigorously quantify and characterize the structural properties of diffusion cascades, in which more than six million unique individuals transmitted 387,486 articles in a massive-scale online social network, WeChat. We detected the degree of eight discrete emotions (i.e., surprise, joy, anticipation, love, anxiety, sadness, anger, and disgust) embedded in these articles, using a newly generated domain-specific and up-to-date emotion lexicon. We found that articles with a higher degree of anxiety and love reached a larger number of individuals and diffused more deeply, broadly, and virally, whereas sadness had the opposite effect. Age and network degree of the individuals who transmitted an article and, in particular, the social ties between senders and receivers, significantly mediated how emotions affect article diffusion. These findings offer valuable insight into how emotions facilitate or hinder information spread through social networks and how people receive and transmit online content that induces various emotions.
    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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