nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒04‒19
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Disguising prejudice : Popular rationales as excuses for intolerant expression By Bursztyn, Leonardo; Haaland, Ingar; Rao, Aakaash; Roth, Christopher
  2. Institutional Quality Causes Social Trust: Experimental Evidence on Trusting Under the Shadow of Doubt By Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Marina Povitkina; Sverker C. Jagers; Bo Rothstein
  3. Women's Voice on Redistribution: From Gender Norms to Taxation By Monica Bozzano; Paola Profeta; Riccardo Puglisi; Simona Scabrosetti
  4. On the effect of social norms on performance in teams with distributed decision makers By Ravshanbek Khodzhimatov; Stephan Leitner; Friederike Wall
  5. Loneliness and Social Isolation: An unequally shared burden in Europe By d'Hombres, Beatrice; Barjaková, Martina; Schnepf, Sylke V.
  6. Fear and Loathing in Times of Distress Causal Impact of Social and Economic Insecurity on Anti-Immigration Sentiment By Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
  7. Populism Amidst Prosperity:The urban-rural polarisation of political disenchantment: An investigation of social and political attitudes in 30 European countries By Michael Kenny; Davide Luca
  8. Covid-19 Crisis Fuels Hostility against Foreigners By VojtÄ›ch BartoÅ¡; Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová
  9. Wind of Change? Experimental Survey Evidence on the COVID-19 Shock and Socio-Political Attitudes in Europe By Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
  10. Culture and the cross-country differences in the gender commuting gap: Evidence from immigrants in the United States By Marcén, Miriam; Morales, Marina
  11. Green consumption: The impact of trust and pessimism By Maria José Montoya Villalobos
  12. When Economic and Health Crises Collide: The Effect of Covid-19 on Political Attitudes By Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
  13. Can Formal Institutions Lead to the Spillover Effect of Cooperation? By Mekvabishvili, Rati

  1. By: Bursztyn, Leonardo (University of Chicago and NBER); Haaland, Ingar (University of Bergen and CESifo); Rao, Aakaash (Harvard University); Roth, Christopher (University of Warwick, briq, CEPR, CESifo, and CAGE,)
    Abstract: We study how popular rationales enable public anti-minority actions. Rationales to oppose minorities genuinely persuade some people. But they also provide “excuses” that may reduce the stigma associated with anti-minority expression, thereby increasing anti-minority behavior. In a first experiment, participants learn that a previous respondent authorized a donation to an anti-immigrant organization and then make an inference about the respondent’s underlying motivations. Participants informed that their matched respondent learned about a study claiming that immigrants increase crime rates before authorizing the donation see the respondent as less intolerant. In a second experiment, participants learn about that same study and then choose whether to authorize a public donation to the anti-immigrant organization. Participants informed that their exposure to the rationale will be publicly observable are substantially more likely to make the donation than participants who are informed that their exposure will remain private. A final experiment shows that people are more willing to post anti-immigrant content on social media when they can use an anti-immigrant video clip from Fox News as an excuse. Our findings suggest that prominent public figures can lower the social cost of intolerant expression by popularizing rationales, increasing anti-minority expression.
    Keywords: Social image ; xenophobia ; propaganda ; political attitudes JEL Classification: D83 ; D91 ; P16 ; J15
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Marina Povitkina; Sverker C. Jagers; Bo Rothstein
    Abstract: Social trust underlies virtually any social and economic interaction and is a crucial ingredient for successful collective action. What causes social trust to develop, however, remains poorly understood. Institutional quality has been proposed as a candidate driver and has been shown to correlate with social trust. We provide experimental evidence for the causal direction of this relationship. We ï¬ rst exogenously expose the participants to institutions of different quality, deï¬ ned as their ability to prevent corrupt behaviours on behalf of administrators. We then measure social trust among the participants using a trust game. We ï¬ nd that individuals exposed to settings with low institutional quality trust others signiï¬ cantly less. Moreover, using novel survey data we show that our experimental results correspond to correlational patterns usually found across countries. The paper makes a step forward in the decades-long search for the causality between institutional quality and social trust.
    Keywords: Social trust, quality of government, corruption, embezzlement
    JEL: D63 D73
    Date: 2020–11
  3. By: Monica Bozzano; Paola Profeta; Riccardo Puglisi; Simona Scabrosetti
    Abstract: Gender norms, i.e. the role of men and women in the society, are a fundamental channel through which culture may influence preferences for redistribution and public policies. We consider both cross-country and individual level evidence on this mechanism. We find that in countries that are historically more gender-equal the tax system today is more redistributive. At the individual level, we find that in more gender equal countries gender differences in redistributive preferences are significantly larger. This effect is driven by women becoming systematically more favorable to redistribution, while there are no significant changes for men. Interestingly, there is no gender-based difference in preferences for redistribution among left-leaning citizens, while this difference is significant among moderates in the expected direction: ideologically moderate women are more favorable to redistribution than moderate men, and this effect is even stronger among right-leaning individuals.
    Keywords: gender inequality, comparative public finance, tax mix, institutions, historical origins
    JEL: H10 H20 N30 Z18
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Ravshanbek Khodzhimatov; Stephan Leitner; Friederike Wall
    Abstract: Social norms are rules and standards of expected behavior that emerge in societies as a result of information exchange between agents. This paper studies the effects of emergent social norms on the performance of teams. We use the NK-framework to build an agent-based model, in which agents work on a set of interdependent tasks and exchange information regarding their past behavior with their peers. Social norms emerge from these interactions. We find that social norms come at a cost for the overall performance, unless tasks assigned to the team members are highly correlated, and the effect is stronger when agents share information regarding more tasks, but is unchanged when agents communicate with more peers. Finally, we find that the established finding that the team-based incentive schemes improve performance for highly complex tasks still holds in presence of social norms.
    Date: 2021–04
  5. By: d'Hombres, Beatrice (European Commission); Barjaková, Martina (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin); Schnepf, Sylke V. (European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre)
    Abstract: Concerns about loneliness and social isolation are growing more than ever. With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its second year, there are fears that the toll on loneliness could have consequences long after the virus recedes. This study offers a comparative overview of the incidence and determinants of loneliness and social isolation in Europe in the pre-COVID-19 period. The empirical results indicate that 8.6% of the adult population in Europe suffer from frequent loneliness and 20.8% from social isolation, with eastern Europe recording the highest prevalence of both phenomena. Trends over time do not indicate any change in the incidence of social isolation following the widespread adoption of social media networks from 2010 onwards. The empirical analysis shows that favourable economic circumstances protect against loneliness and social isolation, while living alone and poor health constitute important loneliness risk factors. Although social isolation increases with age, the elderly do not report more frequent feelings of loneliness than other age groups, all other things being equal. The relative contributions of the different objective circumstances included in the empirical analysis — demographic characteristics, economic conditions, living arrangements, health status, religious beliefs and geographical location — to chronic loneliness and social isolation vary substantially.
    Keywords: loneliness, social isolation, risk factors, Europe
    JEL: I12 I14 I18 I30 D60
    Date: 2021–04
  6. By: Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: The causal nexus between socio-economic stressors and anti-immigration sentiments remains unclear despite increasing evidence over their correlation. We exploit the social and economic disruptions brought about by the epidemic outbreak in March 2020 to randomly provide survey respondents with, at the time of the survey, pessimistic information about the economic and health consequences of the epidemic. Both economic and social stressors causally induce upsurges in anti-immigration sentiment and demand for ï¬ scal pressure retrenchment. However, radicalised attitudes are accompanied by political radicalisation only when the negative economic consequences of the epidemic are highlighted.
    Keywords: economic crisis, social crisis, immigration, survey experiment, radical political preferences
    JEL: D72 H51 H53 H55 O52 P52
    Date: 2020–12
  7. By: Michael Kenny; Davide Luca
    Abstract: Despite the prevalent focus upon increasing political divisions between urban and rural Europe, relatively little research has explored whether there is a systemic urban-rural divide in the political and socioeconomic attitudes of citizens across the entire continent. This paper aims to fill this gap. Drawing on individual-level data from the European Social Survey, it explores potential linkages between place of residence and individual attitudes. Our results show that there are strong, and statistically significant, differences between the populations in these different settings. On average, rural dwellers show stronger levels of dissatisfaction with democracy and lower trust in the political system. Yet, while we uncover stark differences in attitudes towards migration and globalisation, we do not find significant variation on some social and economic issues traditionally at the core of left-right cleavages. And our analysis suggests that this spatial divide does not operate in a binary fashion. It is more of a continuum, running on a gradient from inner cities to metropolitan suburbs, towns, and the countryside. The differences are explained by both composition and contextual effects, and underscore the importance of moving beyond ‘standard’ trade-offs between so-called ‘people-based’ versus ‘place-based’ policy approaches to territorial inequality.
    Keywords: urban-rural divide; regional inequality; geography of discontent; Europe
    Date: 2020–11
  8. By: VojtÄ›ch BartoÅ¡; Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová
    Abstract: Aggressive behavior against out-group members often rises during periods of economic hardship and health pandemics. Here, we test the widespread concern that the Covid-19 crisis may fuel hostility against people from other nations or ethnic minorities. Using a controlled money-burning task, we elicited hostile behavior among a nationally representative sample (n=2,186) in the Czech Republic, at a time when the entire population was under lockdown. We provide causal evidence that exogenously elevating salience of the Covid-19 crisis magnifies hostility against foreigners. This behavioral response is similar across various demographic sub-groups. The results underscore the importance of not inflaming anti-foreigner sentiments and suggest that efforts to restore international trade and cooperation will need to address both social and economic damage.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, scapegoating, hostility, inter-group conflict, discrimination, experiment
    JEL: C90 D01 D63 D91 J15
    Date: 2020–05
  9. By: Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether the COVID-19 crisis has affected the way we vote and think about politics, as well as our broader attitudes and underlying value systems. We ï¬ elded large online survey experiments in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, well into the ï¬ rst wave of the epidemic (May-June), and included outcome questions on trust, voting intentions, policies & taxation, and identity & values. With a randomised survey flow we vary whether respondents are given COVID-19 priming questions ï¬ rst, before answering the outcome questions. With this treatment design we can also disentangle the health and economic effects of the crisis, as well as a potential “rally around the flag†component. We ï¬ nd that the crisis has brought about severe drops in interpersonal and institutional trust, as well as lower support for the EU and social welfare spending ï¬ nanced by taxes. This is largely due to economic anxiety rather than health concerns. A rallying effect around (scientiï¬ c) expertise combined with populist policies losing ground forms the other side of this coin, and hints at a rising demand for competent leadership.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Social Trust, Institutional Trust, Survey Experiment, European Union, Welfare, Health, Taxation, Accountability, Populism, Values
    JEL: D72 H51 H53 H55 O52 P52
    Date: 2020–08
  10. By: Marcén, Miriam; Morales, Marina
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of the gender equality culture in cross-country gender commuting gap differences. To avoid inter-relationships between culture, institutions, and economic conditions in a simple cross-country analysis, we adopt the epidemiological approach. We merge data from the American Time Use Survey for the years 2006–2018 on early-arrival first- and second-generation immigrants living in the United States with their corresponding annual country of ancestry’s Gender Gap Index (GGI). Because all these immigrants (with different cultural backgrounds) have grown up under the same laws, institutions, and economic conditions in the US, the gender differences among them in the time devoted to commuting to/from work can be interpreted as evidence of the existence of a cultural impact. Our results show that a culture with more gender equality in the country of ancestry may reduce the gender commuting gap of parents. Specifically, an increase of 1 standard deviation in the GGI increases women’s daily commuting time relative to men by almost 5 minutes, a sizeable effect representing 23 percent of the standard deviation in the gender commuting gap across countries of ancestry. A supplementary analysis provides possible mechanisms through which culture operates and is transmitted, showing the potential existence of horizontal transmission and the importance of the presence of children in commuting. Our results are robust to the use of different subsamples, geographical controls, and selection into employment and telework.
    Keywords: Commuting,culture,immigrants,American Time Use Survey
    JEL: R41 J16 Z13
    Date: 2021
  11. By: Maria José Montoya Villalobos
    Abstract: This paper proposes a green consumption model under uncertainty, where we consider green goods as impure public goods and analyze the comparative statics of green consumption. We consider that the environmental efficacity of green goods is uncertain, and we model uncertainty with risk perceptions, specifically with trust (defined as a belief about the veracity of the available information) and pessimism/optimism (which represents the consumer's probability estimation of the realization of the worst possible outcome when consuming green goods). We study their respective impact on green consumption and consider individuals with heterogeneous beliefs. Pessimism has a negative impact on green demand; meanwhile, an increase in trust does not always imply an increase in green demand. We determine the impact of uncertainty on the equilibrium and the socially optimal level of private voluntary provision and show that green consumption decreases with pessimism at the equilibrium. Meanwhile, at the optimum, an increase in pessimism willdecrease the individual's contributions for both the pessimist and optimist consumers. Moreover, we also fi nd that the sub-optimality of the Nash equilibrium, in the presence of an impure public good, is not straightforward under uncertainty.
    Keywords: Green consumption, trust, pessimism, uncertainty, impure public goods.
    JEL: D83 D9 H41 Q5
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Gianmarco Daniele; Andrea F.M. Martinangeli; Francesco Passarelli; Willem Sas; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: To investigate how a unique combination of health and economic crises can shape political attitudes, we conducted a large online survey experiment during the ï¬ rst wave of the Covid-19 epidemic (June). With a randomised survey flow we varied whether respondents are given Covid-related treatment questions. This design allows us to analyse health and economic effects separately, as well as a national unity component. We ï¬ nd that the crisis has severely undermined trust in politicians, the media and the EU, and has sapped support for social welfare spending ï¬ nanced by taxes. We also uncover a rallying effect around (scientiï¬ c) expertise and competence, combined with populist policies losing ground. Lastly, we show that the negative effects are mostly due to economic insecurity, whilst the rallying effects are due to health concerns and beliefs in the importance of national unity to navigate the crisis.
    Keywords: Covid-19, Institutional Trust, Political Attitudes, Online Survey Experiment, European Union, Welfare, Taxation, Populism
    JEL: D72 H51 H53 H55 O52 P52
    Date: 2020–12
  13. By: Mekvabishvili, Rati
    Abstract: Can formal institutions shape prosocial behavior and lead to the spillover effect of cooperation? To explore this question, we experimentally test the spillover- based theory in a novel context. We measured the spillover effect on cooperation in the same domain measured by the repeated anonymous public goods game. We found strong evidence of altruism. Our results are inconsistent with prediction of the spillover-based theory. Our finding suggests that exposure to strong formal institutions that provide top-down motivation for cooperation substantially improves cooperation in their presence, but do not seem to lead to more prosociality after their absence.
    Keywords: Centralized Punishment, Spillover, Public Goods, Cooperation
    JEL: C92 D02 H41
    Date: 2021–03–09

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