nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒01‒18
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The complementary nature of trust and contract enforcement By Björn Bartling; Ernst Fehr; David Huffman; Nick Netzer
  2. Identity and Labor Market Outcomes of Immigrants By Carillo, Maria Rosaria; Lombardo, Vincenzo; Venittelli, Tiziana
  3. Social Distancing during a Pandemic: The Role of Friends By Michael Bailey; Drew Johnston; Martin Koenen; Theresa Kuchler; Dominic Russel; Johannes Stroebel
  4. How to Get Away with Spreading COVID-19: Political Connections and Pandemic Response By Kubinec, Robert; Lee, Haillie Na-Kyung; Tomashevskiy, Andrey
  5. Communities and Testing for COVID-19 By Stillman, Steven; Tonin, Mirco
  6. Police Repression and Protest Behavior: Evidence from Student Protests in Chile By Gonzalez, Felipe; Prem, Mounu
  7. Mandatory Disclosure of Managerial Contracts in Nonprofit Organizations By Kopel, Michael; Marini, Marco A.
  8. Gender inequality in COVID-19 times: Evidence from UK Prolific participants By Oreffice, Sonia; Quintana-Domeque, Climent
  9. Who Should Get Vaccinated? Individualized Allocation of Vaccines Over SIR Network By Toru Kitagawa; Guanyi Wang
  10. Academic in-group bias in economics By Lutmar, Carmela; Reingewertz, Yaniv
  11. Do risk and competition trigger conditional cooperative behavior? Evidence from Public good experiment. By Bergantino, Angela Stefania; Morone, Andrea; Gil Gallen, Sara
  12. Anticipation of COVID-19 Vaccines Reduces Social Distancing By Andersson, Ola; Campos-Mercade, Pol; Meier, Armando N.; Wengström, Erik
  13. Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in COVID-19: Social Distancing, Pollution, and Demographics By Rajashri Chakrabarti; Lindsay Meyerson; Maxim L. Pinkovskiy
  14. Debiasing Through Experience Sampling: The Case of Myopic Loss Aversion. By Christian König-Kersting
  15. Consumer Sentiment During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Bui, Dzung; Dräger, Lena; Hayo, Bernd; Nghiem, Giang

  1. By: Björn Bartling; Ernst Fehr; David Huffman; Nick Netzer
    Abstract: Under weak contract enforcement the trading parties’ trust, defined as their belief in the other party’s trustworthiness, appears important for realizing gains from trade. In contrast, under strong contract enforcement beliefs about the other party’s trustworthiness appear less important, suggesting that trust and contract enforcement are substitutes. Here, we show, however, that trust and contract enforcement are complements. We demonstrate that in a weak contract enforcement environment trust has no effect on the gains from trade, but when we successively improve contract enforcement, larger effects of trust emerge. We also document that improvements in contract enforcement lead to no, or only small, increases in gains from trade under low initial trust, but generate high increases in gains from trade when initial trust is high. Thus, the effect of improvements in contract enforcement is trust-dependent, and the effect of increases in trust is dependent on the strength of contract enforcement. We identify three key ingredients underlying this complementarity: (1) heterogeneity in trading partners’ trustworthiness; (2) strength of contract enforcement affecting the ability to elicit reciprocal behavior from trustworthy types, and screen out untrustworthy types; (3) trust beliefs determining willingness to try such strategies.
    Keywords: Trust, contract enforcement, complementarity, equilibrium selection, causal effect, screening, belief distortions, institutions
    JEL: C91 D02 D91 E02
    Date: 2021–01
  2. By: Carillo, Maria Rosaria; Lombardo, Vincenzo; Venittelli, Tiziana
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between social identity and labor market outcomes of immigrants. Using survey data from Italy, we provide robust evidence that immigrants with stronger feelings of belonging to the societies of both the host and home country have higher employment rates, while those who exclusively identify with the host country culture do not have a net occupational advantage. Analysis of the potential mechanisms suggests that, although simultaneous identification with host and home country groups can be costly, the positive effect of multiple social identities is especially triggered by the enlarged information transmission and in-group favoritism that identification with, and membership of, extended communities ensure.
    Keywords: Migration,Integration,Ethnic identity,Acculturation,Culture,Labor market
    JEL: F22 J15 J61 Z1
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Michael Bailey; Drew Johnston; Martin Koenen; Theresa Kuchler; Dominic Russel; Johannes Stroebel
    Abstract: We explore how social network exposure to COVID-19 cases shapes individuals’ social distancing behavior during the early months of the ongoing pandemic. We work with de-identified data from Facebook to show that U.S. users whose friends live in areas with worse coronavirus outbreaks reduce their mobility more than otherwise similar users whose friends live in areas with smaller outbreaks. The effects are quantitatively large: a one standard deviation increase in friend-exposure to COVID-19 cases early in the pandemic results in a 1.2 percentage point increase in the probability that an individual stays home on a given day. As the pandemic progresses, changes in friend-exposure drive changes in social distancing behavior. Given the evolving nature and geography of the pandemic—and hence friend-exposure — these results rule out many alternative explanations for the observed relationships. We also analyze data on public posts and membership in groups advocating to “reopen” the economy to show that our findings can be explained by friend-exposure raising awareness about the risks of the disease and inducing individuals to participate in mitigating public health behavior.
    Keywords: social networks, peer effects, Covid-19, social distancing
    JEL: I00 D83 D85 H00
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Kubinec, Robert (Princeton University); Lee, Haillie Na-Kyung; Tomashevskiy, Andrey
    Abstract: While the aim of COVID-19 policies is to suppress the pandemic, many fear that the burden of the restrictions will fall more heavily on less privileged groups. We show one potential mechanism for COVID-19 responses to increase inequality by examining the intersection of business restrictions and business political connections. Using an online survey of 2,735 business employees and managers in Ukraine, Egypt and Venezuela over the summer of 2020, we show that businesses with political connections to government officials were significantly less likely to shut down as a result of COVID-19 policies. This finding suggests that measures designed to mitigate COVID-19 are less effective in countries with a weak rule of law if politically connected firms are able to circumvent restrictions by leveraging political connections to receive preferential treatment. In addition, politically-connected firms are no more likely--and sometimes even less likely--to engage in social-distancing policies to mitigate the pandemic despite the fact that they are more likely to remain open.
    Date: 2020–12–21
  5. By: Stillman, Steven (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano); Tonin, Mirco (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)
    Abstract: Between November 18th and 25th, 2020, 348,810 out of 500,607 (69.7 percent) eligible residents of the South Tyrol region of Italy volunteered to take a Covid-19 rapid antigen test. We examine the community characteristics that are associated with higher testing rates. Our findings point to a number of key community determinants of people's willingness to volunteer. Convenience was an important factor. Beyond that, socioeconomic status and religiosity were also both positively related to greater testing.
    Keywords: COVID-19, testing, volunteer, religion
    JEL: I12 I18
    Date: 2021–01
  6. By: Gonzalez, Felipe (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile); Prem, Mounu
    Abstract: Police repression is a common feature of street protests around the world but evidence about its impact on dissident behavior is limited. We provide an empirical analysis of people linked to a student killed by a stray bullet coming from a policeman during a large protest. Using administrative data on daily school attendance, we follow his schoolmates and those living nearby the shooting in hundreds of protest and non-protest days to estimate whether police repression affected their protest behavior. We find that repression causes a temporary deterrence effect but only on students with social (rather than geographic) links to the victim. Moreover, we show that police violence increased adherence to a student-led boycott two years after the shooting and had negative educational consequences for students. These findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of police repression in quieting dissent and ensuring public safety.
    Date: 2020–12–22
  7. By: Kopel, Michael; Marini, Marco A.
    Abstract: Nonprofit organizations have been recently mandated to disclose the details of their executives’ compensation packages. Contract information is now accessible not only to current and prospective donors, but also to rival nonprofit organizations competing for donations in the fundraising market. Our aim is to investigate the impact of publicly available contract information on fundraising competition of nonprofit organizations. We argue that, although such provision makes contract information available to multiple stakeholders and increases the transparency of the nonprofit sector, it also induces nonprofits to use managerial incentive contracts strategically. In particular, we find that the observability of incentive contracts relaxes existing fundraising competition. This is beneficial in terms of nonprofits’ outputs, in particular when these organizations are trapped in a situation of excessive fundraising activities. However, we show that publicly available contract information distorts nonprofits’ choice of projects, thus potentially inducing socially inefficient project clustering.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development
    Date: 2020–12–17
  8. By: Oreffice, Sonia; Quintana-Domeque, Climent
    Abstract: We investigate gender differences across multiple dimensions after three months of the first UK lockdown of March 2020, using an online sample of approximately 1,500 Prolific respondents residents in the UK. We find that women's mental health was worse than men's along the four metrics we collected data on, that women were more concerned about getting and spreading the virus, and that women perceived the virus as more prevalent and lethal than men did. Women were also more likely to expect a new lockdown or virus outbreak by the end of 2020, and were more pessimistic about the contemporaneous and future state of the UK economy, as measured by their forecasted contemporaneous and future unemployment rates. We also show that, between earlier in 2020 before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and June 2020, women had increased childcare and housework more than men. Neither the gender gaps in COVID-19-related health and economic concerns nor the gender gaps in the increase in hours of childcare and housework can be accounted for by a rich set of control variables. Instead, we find that the gender gap in mental health can be partially accounted for by the difference in COVID-19-related health concerns between men and women.
    Keywords: Coronavirus,sex,inequity,wellbeing,mental health,anxiety,employment,concerns,perceptions,donations,time allocation,childcare,housework
    JEL: H1 J1 J16
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Toru Kitagawa; Guanyi Wang
    Abstract: How to allocate vaccines over heterogeneous individuals is one of the important policy decisions in pandemic times. This paper develops a procedure to estimate an individualized vaccine allocation policy under limited supply, exploiting social network data containing individual demographic characteristics and health status. We model spillover effects of the vaccines based on a Heterogeneous-Interacted-SIR network model and estimate an individualized vaccine allocation policy by maximizing an estimated social welfare (public health) criterion incorporating the spillovers. While this optimization problem is generally an NP-hard integer optimization problem, we show that the SIR structure leads to a submodular objective function, and provide a computationally attractive greedy algorithm for approximating a solution that has theoretical performance guarantee. Moreover, we characterise a finite sample welfare regret bound and examine how its uniform convergence rate depends on the complexity and riskiness of social network. In the simulation, we illustrate the importance of considering spillovers by comparing our method with targeting without network information.
    Date: 2020–12
  10. By: Lutmar, Carmela; Reingewertz, Yaniv
    Abstract: This paper studies academic in-group bias in the top five economics journals. We examine citation counts for articles published in these journals during the years 2006–2015, and compare counts for articles written by in-group members versus out-group members, where in-group status is defined based on whether at least one author shares the journal’s institutional affiliation. Our results suggest that in-group bias exists in the QJE, but not in the JPE or REStud (the AER and Econometrica are the control group). We thus confirm the existence of academic in-group bias in some, but not all, top five economics journals.
    Keywords: Academic in-group bias, top five, economics journals, editorial favoritism
    JEL: A14 I23 O34
    Date: 2020–12–14
  11. By: Bergantino, Angela Stefania; Morone, Andrea; Gil Gallen, Sara
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of intragroup competition and risky marginal per capita returns on subjects' cooperative behavior in a one-shot public good game – following the wellknown approach proposed by Fischbacher, Gächter, and Fehr (2001) and extending the Colasante et al. (2019) and Colasante et al. (2018) parametrization. We are aiming to study the interaction between environment and social preferences and test the existence of a causal relationship of risk and competition over cooperative behavior when an individual’s benefit of the public good is heterogeneous and uncertain. Our results report experimental evidence about competition fostering cooperative behavior leading a raise contribution for all the subjects regardless of their social preferences. On the contrary, risky has a detrimental effect on cooperative behavior due to encouraging free riding.
    Keywords: risk; competition; conditional cooperator; marginal per capita return.
    JEL: C72 C92 D80 H41
    Date: 2020–12–02
  12. By: Andersson, Ola (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, UCFS); Campos-Mercade, Pol (University of Copenhagen, Denmark); Meier, Armando N. (University of Lausanne and University of Basel, Switzerland); Wengström, Erik (Lund University, Sweden, and Hanken School of Economics, Finland)
    Abstract: We show that the anticipation of COVID-19 vaccines reduces voluntary social distancing. In a large-scale preregistered survey experiment with a representative sample, we study whether providing information about the safety, effectiveness, and availability of COVID-19 vaccines affects compliance with public health guidelines. We find that vaccine information reduces peoples’ voluntary social distancing, adherence to hygiene guidelines, and their willingness to stay at home. Vaccine information induces people to believe in a swifter return to normal life and puts their vigilance at ease. The results indicate an important behavioral drawback of the successful vaccine development: An increased focus on vaccines can lead to bad health behaviors and accelerate the spread of the virus. The results imply that, as vaccinations start and the end of the pandemic feels closer, existing policies aimed at increasing social distancing will be less effective and stricter policies might be required.
    Keywords: Economic epidemiology; Social distancing; Vaccination; Information
    JEL: D83 D91 I12 I18
    Date: 2021–01–07
  13. By: Rajashri Chakrabarti; Lindsay Meyerson; Maxim L. Pinkovskiy
    Abstract: This is the third post in a series looking to explain the gap in COVID-19 intensity by race and by income. In the first two posts, we have investigated whether comorbidities, uninsurance, hospital resources, and home and transit crowding help explain the income and minority gaps. Here, we continue our investigation by looking at three additional potential channels: the fraction of elderly people, pollution, and social distancing at the beginning of the pandemic in the county. We aim to understand whether these three factors affect overall COVID-19 intensity, whether the income and racial gaps of COVID-19 can be further explained when we additionally include these factors, and whether and to what extent these factors independently account for income and racial gaps in COVID-19 intensity (without controlling for the factors considered in the other posts in this series).
    Keywords: COVID-19; hetergeneity; race; social distancing; pollution
    JEL: I14
    Date: 2021–01–12
  14. By: Christian König-Kersting
    Abstract: We study the robustness of Krupka and Weber's method (2013) for eliciting social norms. In two experiments with more than 1200 participants, we find that participants' response patterns are invariant to differences in the salience of the monetarily incentivized coordination aspect. We further demonstrate that asking participants for their personal first and second order beliefs without monetary incentives results in qualitatively identical responses. In addition, we observe that participants give sensible responses whether or not they understand the task or their monetary incentives. Overall, Krupka and Weber's method produces remarkably robust response patterns.
    Keywords: social norms, incentives, beliefs, task comprehension, robustness
    JEL: C72 C90 D90
    Date: 2021–02
  15. By: Bui, Dzung; Dräger, Lena; Hayo, Bernd; Nghiem, Giang
    Abstract: We analyze consumer sentiment with a novel survey of Thai and Vietnamese consumers conducted in May 2020, that is, shortly after the end of the immediate lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a randomized control trial, we expose subgroups of the survey respondents to four different information treatments: (1) how their country ranks in a global survey on agreement or disagreement with the government's response to COVID-19, (2) how the country compares in a global survey on the appropriateness of the general public's reaction to the pandemic, (3) the negative unemployment outlook due to the pandemic, and (4) the positive effects of social distancing for the spread of the virus. First, our results show that consumers are more optimistic if they expect higher GDP growth and trust the government in dealing with the crisis, whereas having stronger concerns about their household's financial situation due to COVID-19 is related to less optimistic sentiment. Second, we find that the information treatments only weakly affect consumer sentiment. However, consumer sentiment is strongly affected by treatment (1) and (2) when they go against respondents' previously held views. Finally, we discover large differences between the two countries.
    Keywords: Consumer sentiment; COVID-19; randomized control trial (RCT); survey experiment; government trust; macroeconomic expectations; Thailand; Vietnam
    JEL: E71 H12 I12 I18 Z18
    Date: 2020–12

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.