nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2020‒12‒21
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Revenge of the Experts: Will Covid-19 Renew or Diminish Public Trust in Science? By Barry Eichengreen ⓡ; Cevat Giray Aksoy ⓡ; Orkun Saka
  2. The "Fake News" Effect: Experimentally Identifying Motivated Reasoning Using Trust in News By Michael Thaler
  3. Altruism born of suffering? The impact of an adverse health shock on pro-social behaviour By Nicole Black; Elaine De Gruyter; Dennis Petrie; Sarah Smith
  4. Parents, Neighbors and Youth Crime By Díaz, Carlos; Patacchini, Eleonora
  5. Trust and Compassion in Willingness to Share Mobility and Sheltering Resources in Evacuations: A case Study of the 2017 and 2018 California Wildfires By Wong, Stephen D; Walker, Joan L; Shaheen, Susan A
  6. Promise, Trust and Betrayal: Costs of Breaching an Implicit Contract By Levy, Daniel; Young, Andrew
  7. Drivers of organic farming: Lab-in-the-field evidence of the role of social comparison and information nudge in networks in Vietnam. By Kene Boun My; Phu Nguyen-Van; Thi Kim Cuong Pham; Anne Stenger; Tuyen Tiet; Nguyen To-The
  8. Ethnicity and gender influence the decision making in a multinational state: The case of Russia By Tatiana Kozitsina; Anna Mikhaylova; Anna Komkova; Anastasia Peshkovskaya; Anna Sedush; Olga Menshikova; Mikhail Myagkov; Ivan Menshikov
  9. Social Capital Contributions to Food Security: A Comprehensive Literature Review By Saeed Nosratabadi; Nesrine Khazami; Marwa Ben Abdallah; Zoltan Lackner; Shahab S. Band; Amir Mosavi; Csaba Mako

  1. By: Barry Eichengreen ⓡ; Cevat Giray Aksoy ⓡ; Orkun Saka
    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.
    JEL: H0
    Date: 2020–11
  2. By: Michael Thaler
    Abstract: Motivated reasoning posits that people distort how they process information in the direction of beliefs they find attractive. This paper creates a novel experimental design to identify motivated reasoning from Bayesian updating when people enter into the experiment with endogenously different beliefs. It analyzes how subjects assess the veracity of information sources that tell them the median of their belief distribution is too high or too low. A Bayesian would infer nothing about the source veracity from this message, but a motivated reasoner would believe the source were more truthful when it reports the direction that he is more motivated to believe. Experimental results show evidence for politically-motivated reasoning about immigration, income mobility, crime, racial discrimination, gender, climate change, and gun laws. Motivated reasoning from these messages leads people's beliefs to become more polarized and less accurate, even though the messages are uninformative.
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Nicole Black; Elaine De Gruyter; Dennis Petrie; Sarah Smith
    Abstract: ‘Altruism born of suffering’ (ABS) predicts that, following an adverse life event such as a health shock, individuals may become motivated to act pro-socially. However, this has not yet been examined systematically. Using data from the United States Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find that a health shock does not lead to a general increase in pro-social behaviour. Instead, ABS is akin to a specific shock that affects giving to health charities, with an increase in the probability of giving and amounts donated to health charities coming at the expense of other non-religious charities.
    Date: 2020–12–10
  4. By: Díaz, Carlos (Catholic University of Uruguay); Patacchini, Eleonora (Cornell University)
    Abstract: We study the interplay between parental and peer socialization in shaping criminal behavior among adolescents. We develop a simple cultural transmission model where parents affect how society influences their children's decisions. The model predicts that parental and peer socialization are substitutes in the development of juvenile crime. We then take the model to the data using information on a representative sample of adolescents in the United States. Using the geographical distances be- tween residential addresses of individuals in the same grade and school to measure peer influences, we find that negative peer effects on juvenile crime are significantly lower for teenagers with engaged mothers. Consistently with the prediction of our model, this evidence reveals an important role of parents in mediating the impact of neighborhoods on youth crime. The influence of parents is especially important for drug trafficking, assault and battery.
    Keywords: neighborhood peer effects, juvenile delinquency, parental involvement
    JEL: J13 K42 R11 R23 Z13
    Date: 2020–11
  5. By: Wong, Stephen D; Walker, Joan L; Shaheen, Susan A
    Abstract: Advances in the sharing economy – such as transportation network companies (e.g., Lyft, Uber) and home sharing (e.g., Airbnb) – have coincided with the increasing need for evacuation resources. While peer-to-peer sharing under normal circumstances often suffers from trust barriers, disaster literature indicates that trust and compassion often increase following disasters, improving recovery efforts. We hypothesize that trust and compassion could trigger willingness to share transportation and sheltering resources during an evacuation. To test this hypothesis, we distributed a survey to individuals impacted by the 2017 Southern California Wildfires (n=226) and the 2018 Carr Wildfire (n=284). We estimate binary logit choice models, finding that high trust in neighbors and strangers and high compassion levels significantly increase willingness to share across four sharing scenarios. Assuming a high trust/compassion population versus a low trust/compassion population results in a change of likelihood to share between 30% and 55%, depending on scenario. Variables related to departure timing and routing – which capture evacuation urgency – increase transportation sharing willingness. Volunteers in past disasters and members of community organizations are usually more likely to share, while families and previous evacuees are typically less likely. Significance of other demographic variables is highly dependent on the scenario. Spare seatbelts and bed capacity, while increasing willingness, are largely insignificant. These results suggest that future sharing economy strategies should cultivate trust and compassion before disasters via preparedness within neighborhoods, community-based organizations, and volunteer networks, during disasters through communication from officials, and after disasters using resilience-oriented and community-building information campaigns.
    Keywords: Engineering, Evacuations, sharing economy, shared mobility, ridehailing, homesharing, California wildfire
    Date: 2020–10–14
  6. By: Levy, Daniel; Young, Andrew
    Abstract: We study the cost of breaching an implicit contract in a goods market. Young and Levy (2014) document an implicit contract between the Coca-Cola Company and its consumers. This implicit contract included a promise of constant quality. We offer two types of evidence of the costs of breach. First, we document a case in 1930 when the Coca-Cola Company chose to avoid quality adjustment by incurring a permanently higher marginal cost of production, instead of a one-time increase in the fixed cost. Second, we explore the consequences of the company’s 1985 introduction of “New Coke” to replace the original beverage. Using the Hirschman’s (1970) model of Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, we argue that the public outcry that followed New Coke’s introduction was a response to the implicit contract breach.
    Keywords: Invisible Handshake; Implicit Contract; Customer Market; Long-Term Relationship; Cost of Breaching a Contract; Cost of Breaking a Contract; Coca-Cola; New Coke; Exit Voice and Loyalty; Nickel Coke; Sticky Prices; Rigid Prices; Price Stickiness; Price Rigidity; Cost of Price Adjustment; Menu Cost; Cost of Quality Adjustment
    JEL: E31 K10 L11 L16 L66 M20 M30 N80 N82
    Date: 2020–11–25
  7. By: Kene Boun My; Phu Nguyen-Van; Thi Kim Cuong Pham; Anne Stenger; Tuyen Tiet; Nguyen To-The
    Abstract: This study examines farmers’ investments in organic farming using the data from a contextualized lab-in-the-field experiment in Northern Vietnam. We analyze how network structures, information nudge and social comparison between farmers impact their decisions. Results show that networks play a key role in encouraging the adoption of organic farming. However, this effect differs depending on the type of network (circle, star or complete), indicating that the role of individuals and the number of individual connections matter. We find that the cooperation incentivized by social comparison can be more easily achieved in decentralized networks like circle networks than in star networks or complete networks. Our results suggest that policymakers can rely on social interaction and social comparison between farmers as well as on information nudge to encourage farmers to make decisions that support sustainable agriculture in Vietnam.
    Keywords: Lab-in-the-field; Network; Nudge; Organic agriculture; Social comparison..
    JEL: C91 C93 O13 Q12
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Tatiana Kozitsina (Babkina); Anna Mikhaylova; Anna Komkova; Anastasia Peshkovskaya; Anna Sedush; Olga Menshikova; Mikhail Myagkov; Ivan Menshikov
    Abstract: Individuals' behavior in economic decisions depends on such factors as ethnicity, gender, social environment, personal traits. However, the distinctive features of decision making have not been studied properly so far between indigenous populations from different ethnicities in a modern and multinational state like the Russian Federation. Addressing this issue, we conducted a series of experiments between the Russians in Moscow (the capital of Russia) and the Yakuts in Yakutsk (the capital of Russian region with the mostly non-Russian residents). We investigated the effect of socialization on participants' strategies in the Prisoner's Dilemma game, Ultimatum game, and Trust game. At the baseline stage, before socialization, the rates of cooperation, egalitarianism, and trust for the Yakuts are higher than for the Russians in groups composed of unfamiliar people. After socialization, for the Russians all these indicators increase considerably; whereas, for the Yakuts only the rate of cooperation demonstrates a rising trend. The Yakuts are characterized by relatively unchanged indicators regardless of the socialization stage. Furthermore, the Yakutsk females have higher rates of cooperation and trust than the Yakuts males before socialization. After socialization, we observed the alignment in indicators for males and females both for the Russians and for the Yakuts. Hence, we concluded that cultural differences can exist inside one country despite the equal economic, politic, and social conditions.
    Date: 2020–12
  9. By: Saeed Nosratabadi; Nesrine Khazami; Marwa Ben Abdallah; Zoltan Lackner; Shahab S. Band; Amir Mosavi; Csaba Mako
    Abstract: Social capital creates a synergy that benefits all members of a community. This review examines how social capital contributes to the food security of communities. A systematic literature review, based on Prisma, is designed to provide a state-of-the-art review on capacity social capital in this realm. The output of this method led to finding 39 related articles. Studying these articles illustrates that social capital improves food security through two mechanisms of knowledge sharing and product sharing (i.e., sharing food products). It reveals that social capital through improving the food security pillars (i.e., food availability, food accessibility, food utilization, and food system stability) affects food security. In other words, the interaction among the community members results in sharing food products and information among community members, which facilitates food availability and access to food. There are many shreds of evidence in the literature that sharing food and food products among the community member decreases household food security and provides healthy nutrition to vulnerable families and improves the food utilization pillar of food security. It is also disclosed that belonging to the social networks increases the community members' resilience and decreases the community's vulnerability that subsequently strengthens the stability of a food system. This study contributes to the common literature on food security and social capital by providing a conceptual model based on the literature. In addition to researchers, policymakers can use this study's findings to provide solutions to address food insecurity problems.
    Date: 2020–12

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