nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒01‒04
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Social Side of Early Human Capital Formation: Using a Field Experiment to Estimate the Causal Impact of Neighborhoods By John List; Fatemeh Momeni; Yves Zenou
  2. Trust and Contracts: Empirical Evidence By Francesco D'Acunto; Jin Xie; Jiaquan Yao
  3. In Business Groups We Trust By Anaïs HAMELIN; Vivien LEFEBVRE; Laurent WEILL
  4. Community multiculturalism and self-reported immigrant crime: Testing three theoretical mechanisms By Leerkes, Arjen; Fokkema, Tineke; Bening, Jonathan
  5. Hate crime increases with minoritized group rank By Cikara, Mina; Fouka, Vasiliki; Tabellini, Marco
  6. Immigration, Political Ideologies and the Polarization of American Politics By Axel Dreher; Sarah Langlotz; Johannes Matzat; Anna Maria Mayda; Christopher Parsons
  7. Contextualizing oppositional cultures: A multilevel network analysis of status orders in schools By Hanno Kruse; Clemens Kroneberg

  1. By: John List; Fatemeh Momeni; Yves Zenou
    Abstract: The behavioral revolution within economics has been largely driven by psychological insights, with the sister sciences playing a lesser role. This study leverages insights from sociology to explore the role of neighborhoods on human capital formation at an early age. We do so by estimating the spillover effects from a large-scale early childhood intervention on the educational attainment of over 2000 disadvantaged children in the United States. We document large spillover effects on both treatment and control children who live near treated children. Interestingly, the spillover effects are localized, decreasing with the spatial distance to treated neighbors. Perhaps our most novel insight is the underlying mechanisms at work: the spillover effect on non-cognitive scores operate through the child's social network while parental investment is an important channel through which cognitive spillover effects operate. Overall, our results reveal the importance of public programs and neighborhoods on human capital formation at an early age, highlighting that human capital accumulation is fundamentally a social activity.
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Francesco D'Acunto; Jin Xie; Jiaquan Yao
    Abstract: Trust between parties should drive the negotiation and design of contract: if parties did not trust each others' reaction to unplanned events, they might agree to pay higher costs of negotiation to complete contracts. Using a unique sample of U.S. principal-agent consulting contracts and a negative shock to trust between parties staggered across space and over time, we find that lower trust increases contract completeness. Not only contract complexity but also the verifiable states of the world contracts cover increase after a drop in trust. The results hold for several text-analysis-based measures of completeness and do not arise when agents are also principals (shareholders) or in other falsification tests. Non-compete agreements, confidentiality and indemnification clauses, and restrictions to agents' actions are more likely to be added to contracts signed in the same locations, same industries, and same years after a negative shock to trust.
    Keywords: empirical contract theory, incomplete contracts, cultural economics, beliefs and choice, corporate finance, consulting, textual analysis, non-compete agreements, big five, fraud, accounting, management, organization
    JEL: D86 D91 J33 L14 Z10
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Anaïs HAMELIN (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg); Vivien LEFEBVRE (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg); Laurent WEILL (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of trust on the prevalence of business groups. Using firm-level information on group affiliation, we perform estimations on a large sample of 258,984 companies from twenty-five European countries. We find that higher trust is associated with a lower probability to be affiliated to a business group. Our findings accord with the hypothesis that higher trust diminishes the incentives for a firm to internalize transactions through the emergence of a business group. We also find limited evidence that the negative effect of trust on group affiliation is stronger for firms with higher information asymmetries. We furthermore conclude that trust is a substitute for the quality of formal institutions. Our work contributes to a better understanding of the reasons why business groups exist. It completes the institutional voids perspective by showing that informal institutions must be taken into account to understand the prevalence of business groups.
    Keywords: business groups, trust.
    JEL: G21 O16
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Leerkes, Arjen (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, and Erasmus University Rotterdam); Fokkema, Tineke (NIDI, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and University of Groningen); Bening, Jonathan
    Abstract: There is considerable contextual variation in crime among immigrants and their native-born descendants, and this study aims to understand that variation better. It examines whether municipal variation in self-reported crimes among Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch men living in 35 representative Dutch cities (N=911), including the four largest cities, is associated with municipal variation in multicultural attitudes, or 'community multiculturalism', among the native-Dutch (N=2,556). We propose, and test, a mechanism-based theoretical model that links Berry's acculturation theory to general strain theory, social bonding theory, and collective efficacy theory. Evidence is found for a protective effect of community multiculturalism for immigrant crime, which is mostly explained by collective efficacy theory with somewhat weaker evidence for general strain theory and social bonding theory. We discuss implications for the discussion on the (dis)advantages of multiculturalism, and suggest various avenues for further inquiry into immigrants' 'context of reception', and how the acculturation attitudes among established groups affect social cohesion outcomes in multi-ethnic societies.
    Keywords: acculturation theory, immigrant crime, context of reception, local-level variation, migration
    JEL: K13 I30 Y80 O15
    Date: 2020–12–08
  5. By: Cikara, Mina; Fouka, Vasiliki; Tabellini, Marco
    Abstract: People are on the move in unprecedented numbers across the globe. How does migration affect local intergroup dynamics? In contrast to accounts that emphasize stereotypical features of groups as determinants of their treatment, we propose the social group reference dependence hypothesis: violence and negative attitudes toward each minoritized group will depend on the number and size of other minoritized groups in a community. Specifically, as groups increase in rank in their relative size (e.g., to largest minority within a community), discriminatory behavior and attitudes toward them should increase accordingly. We test this hypothesis across U.S. counties between 1990 and 2010. Consistent with this prediction we find that, as Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, and Arab populations increase in rank relative to one another, they become more likely to be targeted with hate crimes and more negative attitudes. The rank effect holds above and beyond group size/proportion, growth rate, and a number of other alternative explanations. This framework makes novel predictions about how demographic shifts may affect coalitional structures in the coming years and helps explain previous findings in the literature. More broadly, our results complement the existing literature by indicating that attitudes and behaviors toward social categories are not fixed or driven only by features associated with those groups, such as stereotypes.
    Date: 2020–12–17
  6. By: Axel Dreher; Sarah Langlotz; Johannes Matzat; Anna Maria Mayda; Christopher Parsons
    Abstract: We study the extent to which migrant inflows to the United States affect the political polarization of campaign donors and the ideology of politicians campaigning for the House of Representatives in the 1992-2016 period. Implementing various polarization measures based on ideology data derived from 16 million campaign finance contributors, our results show that migrant inflows causally increase the polarization of both campaign donations and leading political candidates. Our estimates hold over the medium-run, although the effects decline over time. The effects of migration are stronger if counties host migrants from more distant cultures, or if incoming migrants are similarly educated. Our main results hold when we focus on refugees as opposed to all immigrants on aggregate.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, polarization, political ideology, United States
    JEL: J15 F52 F63
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Hanno Kruse (Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne, 50923 Köln, Germany); Clemens Kroneberg (of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne, 50923 Köln, Germany)
    Abstract: Different lines of research have argued that specific groups, such as boys or ethnic minorities, are more prone to develop an anti-school culture than others, leading to group differences in the social acceptance of high performers. Taking an ecological view, we ask to what extent the school context promotes or prevents the emergence of group-specific oppositional cultures. Theoretically, we argue that group-based oppositional cultures become more likely in schools with low socio-economic resources and in schools where socio-economic differences align with demographic attributes. We test our hypotheses based on data from a large-scale, four-wave network panel survey among more than 3000 students in Germany. Applying stochastic actor-oriented models for the coevolution of networks and behavior, we find that group-based oppositional cultures in which students like high performers less are very rare. However, in line with theoretical expectations, boys tend to evaluate high-performing peers less positively than girls do in schools that are less resourceful. Moreover, ethnic minority boys tend to evaluate high performers less positively than majority boys do in schools where the former tend to come from socio-economically less resourceful families.
    Keywords: gender, ethnicity, school performance, social networks, stochastic actor-oriented models
    JEL: I24 Z13
    Date: 2020–12

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