nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒02‒01
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. When Distrust Goes Viral: Causal Effects of Covid-19 on European Political Attitudes By Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Mfartinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
  2. Britain has had enough of experts? Social networks and the Brexit referendum By Giacomo De Luca; Thilo R. Huning; Paulo Santos Monteiro
  3. Fascistville: Mussolini’s New Towns and the Persistence of Neo-Fascism By Mario F. Carillo
  4. Does kin discrimination promote cooperation? By Gonçalo Faria; Andy Gardner
  5. The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns across France By Yann Algan; Clément Malgouyres; Thierry Mayer; Mathias Thoenig
  6. Elections, Political Connections and Cash Holdings: Evidence from Local Assemblies By David Adeabah; Charles Andoh; Simplice A. Asongu; Isaac Akomea-Frimpong
  7. Are hedge funds' charitable donations strategic? By Agarwal, Vikas; Lu, Yan; Ray, Sugata
  8. Education and Consanguineous Marriage By Ş. Pelin Akyol; Naci H. Mocan

  1. By: Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Mfartinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: To investigate how Covid-19 is shaping the way Europeans think about institutions, we conducted a large online survey experiment during the first wave of the epidemic (June). With a randomised survey ow we varied whether respondents are given Covid-related treatment questions first, before answering the outcome questions. We find that the crisis has severely undermined trust in politicians, the media, the EU and social welfare spending financed by taxes. This is mainly due to economic insecurity, but also because of health concerns. We also uncover a rallying effect around (scientific) expertise combined with populist policies losing ground.
    Keywords: Covid-19, institutional trust, political attitudes, online survey experiment, European Union, welfare, taxation, populism
    JEL: D72 H51 H53 H55 O52 P52
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Giacomo De Luca; Thilo R. Huning; Paulo Santos Monteiro
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of social media on the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom membership of the European Union. We leverage 18 million geo-located Twitter messages originating from the UK in the weeks before the referendum. Using electoral wards as unit of observation, we explore how exogenous variation in Twitter exposure affected the vote share in favor of leaving the EU. Our estimates suggest that in electoral wards less exposed to Twitter the percentage who voted to leave the EU was greater. This is confirmed across several specifications and approaches, including two very different IV identification strategies to address the non-randomness of Twitter usage. To interpret our findings, we propose a model of how bounded rational voters learn in social media networks vulnerable to fake news, and we validate the theoretical framework by estimating how Remain and Leave tweets propagated differently on Twitter in the two months leading to the EU referendum.
    Keywords: Fake News, Social Networks, Social Media, Brexit
    JEL: D72 D83 L82 L86
    Date: 2021–01
  3. By: Mario F. Carillo (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF)
    Abstract: This paper explores the link between infrastructures built by autocratic regimes and political values. In Fascist Italy (1922-43), Mussolini founded 147 “New Towns.” I document that the New Towns enhanced local electoral support for the Fascist Party; and that the effect persisted through democratization and until recent times, enhancing local support for Italy’s neo-fascist party. Survey data show positive effects on preferences for stronger leaders, for nationalism, and other extremist views. The findings suggest that authoritarian leaders may exploit public investment programs to induce a favorable view of their ideology, which persists across institutional transitions and over the long term.
    Keywords: Infrastructures, Political Identity, Cultural Change, Autocracy, Voting.
    JEL: H54 N94 Z18
    Date: 2021–01–17
  4. By: Gonçalo Faria (IAST - Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse , School of Biology [University of St Andrews] - University of St Andrews [Scotland]); Andy Gardner (School of Biology [University of St Andrews] - University of St Andrews [Scotland])
    Abstract: Genetic relatedness is a key driver of the evolution of cooperation. One mechanism that may ensure social partners are genetically related is kin discrimination, in which individuals are able to distinguish kin from non-kin and adjust their behaviour accordingly. However, the impact of kin discrimination upon the overall level of cooperation remains obscure. Specifically, while kin discrimination allows an individual to help more-related social partners over less-related social partners, it is unclear whether and how the population average level of cooperation that is evolutionarily favoured should differ under kin discrimination versus indiscriminate social behaviour. Here, we perform a general mathematical analysis in order to assess whether, when and in which direction kin discrimination changes the average level of cooperation in an evolving population. We find that kin discrimination may increase, decrease or leave unchanged the average level of cooperation, depending upon whether the optimal level of cooperation is a convex, concave or linear function of genetic relatedness. We develop an extension of the classic ‘tragedy of the commons' model of cooperation in order to provide an illustration of these results. Our analysis provides a method to guide future research on the evolutionary consequences of kin discrimination.
    Date: 2020–03
  5. By: Yann Algan (Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Paris, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Clément Malgouyres (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, IPP - Institut des politiques publiques); Thierry Mayer (Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Paris, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique); Mathias Thoenig (UNIL - Université de Lausanne, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)
    Abstract: This paper studies how economic incentives influence cultural transmission, using a crucial expression of cultural identity: Child naming decisions. Our focus is on Arabic versus Non-Arabic names given in France over the 2003-2007 period. Our model of cultural transmission features three determinants: (i) vertical (parental) cultural transmission culture; (ii) horizontal (neighborhood) influence; (iii) information on the economic penalty associated with Arabic names. We find that economic incentives largely influence naming choices: Would the parental expectation on the economic penalty be zero, the annual number of babies born with an Arabic name would be more than 50 percent larger.
    Keywords: Cultural Economics,Cultural Transmission,First Names,Social Interactions
    Date: 2021–01
  6. By: David Adeabah (Department of Finance, Legon, Ghana); Charles Andoh (Department of Finance, Legon, Ghana); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon); Isaac Akomea-Frimpong (Western Sydney University, Australia)
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between elections, political connections, and cash holdings in Ghanaian local assemblies. Using a panel dataset of 179local assemblies over a period 2012 to 2017, a panel regression and the generalized method of moments estimation techniques was employed for the analysis. We find that local assemblies hold less cash during election years, which suggests that election may be one of the potential factors to mitigate agency conflict in weak governance environment. Further, we demonstrate that local assemblies that have political connections hold less cash; however, political uncertainty makes these entities conducive to agency problems than their non-connected peers because they hold more cash. Additional analysis indicates that one year prior to elections, managerial conservatism kicks-in and leads managers to hold more cash in local assemblies that have political connections, which continues and becomes more pronounced in election years. Our results have implications for regulations on the cash management practices of local assemblies.
    Keywords: agency problem; cash holdings; generalized method of moments;panel regression; political connections
    Date: 2021–01
  7. By: Agarwal, Vikas; Lu, Yan; Ray, Sugata
    Abstract: We study whether hedge funds make charitable donations to further their business interests. We find that donations are driven by poor fund flows and performance. Post-donation, donor funds experience lower outflows compared to matched non-donors. One-off donations and donations to charities which hold fundraising events catering to the hedge fund community are more likely to mitigate outflows after poor performance. These findings are consistent with strategic motivations driving at least some donations. While the economics of donations initially appear quite favorable to the hedge funds, the benefits from donations are not scalable. Moreover, investors punish donors through greater redemptions if poor performance persists post-donation.
    Keywords: Hedge funds,Philanthropy,Trust,Charitable Donations,Capital Formation,Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    JEL: D64 G23 G41
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Ş. Pelin Akyol; Naci H. Mocan
    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 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.
    JEL: I15 I18 I20 J10 Z1
    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.
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