nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒01‒11
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Development Policy through the Lens of Social Structure By Oriana Bandiera; Robin Burgess; Erika Deserranno; Ricardo Morel; Imran Rasul; Munshi Sulaiman
  2. The 'mighty girl' effect: does parenting daughters alter attitudes towards gender norms? By Borrell-Porta, Mireia; Costa-Font, Joan; Philipp, Julia
  3. Building Social Cohesion in Ethnically Mixed Schools: An Intervention on Perspective Taking By Sule Alan; Ceren Baysan; Mert Gumren; Elif Kubilay
  4. Fear of the dark: How terrorist events affect trust in the long run By Elisa Borghi; Michela Braga; Francesco Scervini
  5. Proximity Can Induce Diverse Friendships: A Large Randomized Classroom Experiment By Julia M. Rohrer; Tamás Keller; Felix Elwert
  6. The Legacy of the Missing Men: The Long-Run Impact of World War I on Female Labor Force Participation By Gay, Victor
  7. Political Attitudes and Participation Among Young Arab Workers: A Comparison of Formal and Informal Workers in Five Arab Countries Impacts: Evidence from Turkey By Walid Merouani; Rana Jawad
  8. Corruption and the Cultural Evolution of Family Ties By Anastasia Latina; Dimitrios Varvarigos
  9. Education and Consanguineous Marriage By Akyol, Pelin; Mocan, Naci
  10. Rousseau's social contract or Machiavelli's virtue? A measure of fiscal credibility By Nicolas End
  11. Using Social Recognition to Address the Gender Difference in Volunteering for Low Promotability Tasks By Banerjee, Ritwik; Mustafi, Priyoma
  12. Heterogeneity in the Support for Mandatory Masks Unveiled By Muhammad Maaz; Anastasios Papanastasiou; Bradley J. Ruffle; Angela L. Zheng

  1. By: Oriana Bandiera; Robin Burgess; Erika Deserranno; Ricardo Morel; Imran Rasul; Munshi Sulaiman
    Abstract: This paper studies how the social structure of village economies affects policy implementation by local agents. We randomly select one of two viable candidates to deliver an agricultural extension program in rural Ugandan villages. We show that delivery agents favor their own social ties over ex-ante identical farmers connected to the other (non-selected) candidate and that this is inconsistent with output maximization or targeting the poorest. Favoritism disappears when the potential delivery agents belong to the same social group. Using the randomised allocation of the program across villages, we show how unobserved social structures explain the variation in delivery rates and program effectiveness that we often observe in the data.
    Keywords: social structure, development policy, social ties, agriculture extension
    JEL: O10 O20 D80
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: Borrell-Porta, Mireia; Costa-Font, Joan; Philipp, Julia
    Abstract: We study the effect of parenting daughters on attitudes towards gender norms in the UK; specifically, attitudes towards the traditional male breadwinner norm in which it is the husband's role to work and the wife's to stay at home. We find robust evidence that rearing daughters decreases fathers' likelihood to hold traditional attitudes. This result is driven by fathers of school-aged daughters, for whom the effects are robust to the inclusion of individual fixed effects. Our estimates suggest that fathers' probability to support traditional gender norms declines by approximately 3%age points (8%) when parenting primary school-aged daughters and by 4%age points (11%) when parenting secondary school-aged daughters. The effect on mothers' attitudes is generally not statistically significant. These findings are consistent with exposure and identity theories. We conclude that gender norm attitudes are not stable throughout the life-course and can significantly be shaped by adulthood experiences.
    Keywords: gender norms; gender division of work; gender role attitudes; attitude formation; daughters; child gender
    JEL: J7 Z1
    Date: 2019–01–01
  3. By: Sule Alan; Ceren Baysan; Mert Gumren; Elif Kubilay
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of an educational program that aims to build social cohesion in ethnically mixed schools by developing perspective-taking ability in children. The program is implemented in a high-stakes context where the ethnic composition in schools has changed due to a massive influx of refugee children. We measure a comprehensive set of outcomes that characterize a cohesive school environment, including peer violence incidents, the prevalence of inter-ethnic social ties, and prosocial behavior. Using randomized variation in program implementation, we find that the program significantly lowers peer violence and victimization on school grounds. The program also reduces the likelihood of social exclusion and increases inter-ethnic social ties in the classroom. We find that the program significantly improves prosocial behavior, measured by incentivized tasks: treated students exhibit significantly higher trust, reciprocity, and altruism toward each other as well as toward anonymous out-school peers. We show that this enhanced prosociality is welfare improving from the ex-post payoff perspective. We investigate multiple channels that could explain the results, including ethnic bias, impulsivity, empathetic concern, behavioral norms, and perspective-taking. Children’s increased effort to take others’ perspectives emerges as the most robust mechanism to explain our results.
    Keywords: social cohesion, social exclusion, ethnic segregation, perspective taking
    JEL: I24 I28 C93
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Elisa Borghi; Michela Braga; Francesco Scervini
    Abstract: In this paper, we provide new evidence on whether individuals differ in their level of trust depending on their exposure to unexpected terrorist attacks during crucial life phases. In line with the well-grounded psychological theories on the formation of human beliefs, attitudes, and values, we find that exposure to traumatic and violent events in the two essential stages of human development – adolescence and early adulthood – reduces trust in other people. The formed values tend to be persistent over time, and the results are robust to several checks.
    Keywords: Social capital, Trust, Terrorism, Value formation
    JEL: A13 Z1
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Julia M. Rohrer (Department of Psychology, University of Leipzig & International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE), Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin); Tamás Keller (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies. 1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán utca 4. and Department of Economics, Corvinus University of Budapest. 1093 Budapest Fõvám tér 8. Computational Social Science - Research Center for Educational and Network Studies, Centre for Social Sciences. 1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán utca 4. and Evolutionary Systems Research Group, Centre for Ecological Research); Felix Elwert (Department of Sociology & Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Abstract: Can outside interventions foster socio-culturally diverse friendships? We executed a large field experiment that randomized the seating charts of 182 primary-school classrooms (N=2,996 students) for the duration of one semester. We found that being seated next to each other increased the probability of a mutual friendship from 15% to 22% on average. Furthermore, induced proximity increased the latent propensity toward friendship equally for all students, regardless of students’ dyadic similarity with respect to educational achievement, gender, and ethnicity. However, the probability of a manifest friendship increased more among similar than among dissimilar students. Our findings demonstrate that a scalable light-touch intervention can affect face-to-face networks and foster diverse friendships in groups that already know each other, but they also highlight that transgressing boundaries defined by ethnicity and gender remains an uphill battle.
    Keywords: Friendship formation, Social networks, Diversity, Homophily, Randomized field experiment, Deskmates
    JEL: C93 I21 I24 J18 Z13
    Date: 2020–12
  6. By: Gay, Victor
    Abstract: This article explores the pathways that underlie the diffusion of women’s participation in the labor force across generations. I exploit a severe exogenous shock to the sex ratio, World War I in France, which generated a large inflow of women in the labor force after the war. I show that this shock to female labor transmitted to subsequent generations until today. Three mechanisms of intergenerational transmission account for this result: parental transmission, transmission through marriage, and transmission through local social interactions. Beyond behaviors, the war also permanently altered beliefs toward the role of women in the labor force.
    Keywords: Female labor force participation; World War I; Sex ratio; Intergenerational transmission; Gender norms
    Date: 2021–01–07
  7. By: Walid Merouani (Centre de Recherche en Economie Appliquée pour le Développement); Rana Jawad (University of Bath)
    Abstract: Political participation by citizens is important to ensure good governance and the accountability of policy makers’ decisions and initiatives. However, this issue may be especially difficult in contexts of high informal labour, defined in this paper as workers not enrolled in the formal social security system. This paper examines the topic of political participation among young workers in five Arab countries: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia. It compares both formal and informal sector workers using data from the European Union’s 2018 SAHWA survey ( Amongst other variables, the paper tests the impact of informality on political participation. It uses four proxies for political participation to compare formal and informal workers in the case study countries: (1) affiliation to a political party or movement; (2) frequency of participation in political meetings/campaigns or participation in politics via the Internet; (3) frequency of speaking about politics and economic issues with peers; (4) voting in elections (both general and local). By controlling for demographic and socio-economic variables, the analysis uses discrete choice model to test the impact of this informality on the four proxies of political participation. An important contribution of this paper is to incorporate job satisfaction into the analysis. The results indicate that informal workers are less likely to participate in key political behaviours such as belonging to political parties, participating in political meetings and speaking about politics and voting with peers. The paper proposes some key policy implications arising from the analysis
    Date: 2020–12–20
  8. By: Anastasia Latina; Dimitrios Varvarigos
    Abstract: We study the relation between conjugal family ties and corruption, as well as the important role of this relation for the cultural transmission of preferences regarding the strength of family ties. We show that the impact of family ties on the level of corruption, which can be either positive or negative, feeds back into the very process through which preferences for family ties are diffused from the older to the younger generations. As a result, the relation between family ties and corruption sets in motion mechanisms that govern the dynamics of cultural transmission. These dynamics determine long-term outcomes in terms of the population’s cultural homogeneity or diversity with regard to their attitudes towards family ties.
    Keywords: Corruption, Cultural transmission, Family ties
    JEL: A13 D73 Z13
    Date: 2020–04
  9. By: Akyol, Pelin (Bilkent University); Mocan, Naci (Louisiana State University)
    Abstract: At least one of every five marriages is consanguineous (between couples who are second cousins or closer) in the Middle East and North Africa, and the rate is higher than 50 percent in some parts of the world. Consanguineous marriage generates serious health problems for the offspring and constitutes an economic problem with its associated medical costs and the impact on human capital. The prevalence of consanguineous marriage and the resultant kinship networks can shape various dimensions of the society ranging from institutional structure to attitudes such as trust, individualism, and nepotism. Using data from Turkey and leveraging an education reform which increased mandatory schooling by three years, we find that the reform made women less likely to find consanguineous marriage as an acceptable practice, and that the reform reduced women's propensity to marry a first cousin or a blood relative. Exposure to the reform altered women's preferences in favor of personal autonomy. Women who are exposed to the reform are more likely to have met their husbands outside of family networks, they are less likely to get forced into marriage against their consent, and they are less likely to agree that only a son can ensure the continuation of the family blood line. These results indicate that educational attainment can alter behaviors and attitudes which may be rooted in culture.
    Keywords: education, cousin marriage, culture, blood marriage, women's empowerment
    JEL: I18 I26 I21 J1 Z1
    Date: 2020–12
  10. By: Nicolas End (Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, AMSE, Marseille, France.)
    Abstract: The concept of fiscal credibility is a watermark of some of the fiscal policy literature, but beyond an intuitive parallel with monetary policy, it remains not well defined, nor measured. This paper provides an explicit measure of fiscal credibility, based on the anchoring of private expectations onto official targets. I document how credibility varies among a sample of 26 European countries and evolves over 1995-2019. I find that private agents do not trust all governments uniformly. Country differences are mainly driven by past fiscal performance and institutions (fiscal rules and councils). Conversely, I find that credibility impacts sovereign financing conditions, as well as macroeconomic performance. Governments should thus strive to be (à la Rousseau) or appear (à la Machiavelli) credible.
    Keywords: fiscal policy, credibility
    JEL: E60 H30 H11
    Date: 2020–12
  11. By: Banerjee, Ritwik (Indian Institute of Management); Mustafi, Priyoma (University of Pittsburgh)
    Abstract: Research shows that women volunteer significantly more for tasks that people prefer others to complete. Such tasks carry little monetary incentives because of their very nature. We use a modified version of the volunteer's dilemma game to examine if non-monetary interventions, particularly, social recognition can be used to change the gender norms associated with such tasks. We design three treatments, where a) a volunteer receives positive social recognition, b) a non-volunteer receives negative social recognition, and c) a volunteer receives positive, but a non-volunteer receives negative social recognition. Our results indicate that competition for social recognition increases the overall likelihood that someone in a group has volunteered. Positive social recognition closes the gender gap observed in the baseline treatment, so does the combination of positive and negative social recognition. Our results, consistent with the prior literature on gender differences in competition, suggest that public recognition of volunteering can change the default gender norms in organizations and increase efficiency at the same time.
    Keywords: gender, social recognition, volunteering, low promotability tasks
    JEL: J16 J71 M12 D91
    Date: 2020–12
  12. By: Muhammad Maaz (Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada); Anastasios Papanastasiou (Department of Economics, McMaster University, Canada); Bradley J. Ruffle (Department of Economics, McMaster University, Canada; Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis); Angela L. Zheng (Department of Economics, McMaster University, Canada)
    Abstract: Despite well-documented benefits of wearing a mask to reduce COVID-19 transmission, widespread opposition to mandating mask-wearing persists. Both our game-theoretic model and our unique survey dataset point to heterogeneity in the perceived benefits and perceived costs of mask-wearing. Young, healthy, Canadian-born adult males who are politically conservative or without a college education are all more likely to oppose mandatory mask laws, as are individuals who do not take climate change seriously and who express less trust in doctors and in elected officials. Political conservatives disproportionately cite not wanting to live in fear and infringements on personal freedoms as reasons for not wearing masks. Our findings cannot be explained by individuals who substitute physical distancing for mask-wearing. We show that these two precautionary measures are complements.
    Keywords: COVID-19, mandatory protective masks, heterogeneity in beliefs, ideology, political partisanship
    JEL: I12 I18 J38
    Date: 2021–01

This nep-soc issue is ©2021 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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