nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒04‒26
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Culture, institutions and democratization. By Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Roland, Gerard
  2. When Face Masks Signal Social Identity: Explaining the Deep Face-Mask Divide During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Riyanto, Yohanes Eko; Wong, Erwin C. L.; Xiong-Wei, Jonathan Yeo; Qi-Yu, Chan
  3. The Effect of Self-Awareness and Competition on Dishonesty By Çıbık, Ceren Bengü; Sgroi, Daniel
  4. The impact of religious attendance on trust, volunteering, and cooperation: A cross-lagged panel analysis with individual fixed-effects By Ozan Aksoy; Dingeman Wiertz
  5. Legalized Same-Sex Marriage and Coming Out in America: Evidence from Catholic Seminaries By Avner Seror; Rohit Ticku
  6. Correcting Perceived Social Distancing Norms to Combat COVID-19 By James Allen IV; Arlete Mahumane; James Riddell IV; Tanya Rosenblat; Dean Yang; Hang Yu
  7. Why Corporate Political Connections Can Impede Investment By Kubinec, Robert; Lee, Haillie Na-Kyung; Tomashevskiy, Andrey
  8. The Political Scar of Epidemics By Barry Eichengreen; Orkun Saka; Cevat Giray Aksoy
  9. Consumer Sentiment during the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Role of Others' Beliefs By Dzung Bui; Lena Dräger; Bernd Hayo; Giang Nghiem
  10. The COVID-19 Pandemic's Effects on Voter Turnout By Picchio, Matteo; Santolini, Raffaella
  11. Terrorism and Political Attitudes: Evidence from European Social Surveys By Giovanni Peri; Daniel I. Rees; Brock Smith

  1. By: Gorodnichenko, Yuriy; Roland, Gerard
    Abstract: We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under individualistic and collectivist cultures. The main result is that, despite facing potentially more challenging collective action problems, countries with individualistic cultures are more likely to end up adopting democracy earlier than countries with collectivist cultures. Our empirical analysis suggests a strong and robust association between individualistic cultures and average polity scores and durations of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We provide evidence that countries with collectivist cultures also are more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.
    Keywords: Collective action, Collectivism, Culture, Democratization, Individualism
    Date: 2020–04–23
  2. By: Powdthavee, Nattavudh; Riyanto, Yohanes Eko; Wong, Erwin C. L.; Xiong-Wei, Jonathan Yeo; Qi-Yu, Chan
    Abstract: With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and the vaccination program still rolling out, there continues to be an immediate need for public health officials to better understand the mechanisms behind the deep and perpetual divide over face masks in America. Using a random sample of Americans (N=615), following a pre-registered experimental design and analytic plan, we first demonstrated that mask wearers were not innately more cooperative as individuals than non-mask wearers in the Prisoners’ Dilemma (PD) game when information about their own and the other person’s mask usage was not salient. However, we found strong, revealed preference evidence of in-group favoritism among both mask and non-mask wearers when information about the other partner’s mask usage was known. Holding other things constant, non-mask wearers were 23 percentage points less likely to cooperate than mask wearers when facing a mask-wearing partner, and 26 percentage points more likely to cooperate than mask wearers when facing a non-mask wearing partner. Our analysis suggests social identity effects to be one of the main drivers of people’s decision whether to wear or shun face masks during the pandemic. Policy makers should therefore take social perception of face masks into account when designing not only what public messages to deliver, but also who to deliver these messages.
    Date: 2021–04–09
  3. By: Çıbık, Ceren Bengü (University of Warwick); Sgroi, Daniel (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We provide the first investigation of the relationship between self-awareness and dis- honesty in a multi-wave pre-registered experiment with 1,260 subjects. In the first wave we vary the level of awareness of subjects' past dishonesty and explore the impact on behaviour in tasks that include the scope to lie. In the second wave we vary the degree of competitiveness in one of our core tasks to further explore the interactions between self-awareness, (dis)honesty and competition. We also test for the experimental demand effect in order to rule it out. Our results suggest that in non-interactive tasks, self-awareness helps to lower dishonesty in the future. However, in tasks that are competitive in nature becoming more aware of past dishonesty raises the likelihood of dishonesty in the future. In other words, we show when making people aware of their own past dishonesty can help to reduce dishonesty and when it might back-fire.
    Keywords: lying, honesty, truth-telling, cognitive dissonance, social norms, competition, experiment
    JEL: D03 D82 C91 C92
    Date: 2021–04
  4. By: Ozan Aksoy (Centre for Quantitative Social Science, UCL Social Research Institute, University College London); Dingeman Wiertz (Centre for Quantitative Social Science, UCL Social Research Institute, University College London)
    Abstract: Does religious involvement make people more trusting, prosocial, and cooperative? In view of conflicting theories and mixed prior evidence, we subject this question to a stringent test using large-scale, representative panel data from the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2009, N ≈ 26,000) and the UK Household Longitudinal Study (2009-2019, N ≈ 77,000). We employ cross-lagged panel models with individual fixed effects to account for time-invariant confounders and reverse causality as two issues that have haunted earlier research. We find that religious involvement, measured by frequency of religious service attendance, on average has a positive impact on generalized trust, volunteering, and cooperation. Compared with religious attendance, other indicators of religious involvement, such as subjective importance of religion or whether one is religiously affiliated, have weaker effects on trust, volunteering, and cooperation. We also document substantial variation across religious traditions: the effects of religious attendance are strongest for Anglicans and other Protestants, but weaker and mostly statistically insignificant for Catholics, Hindus, and the nonreligious, while for Muslims we observe a negative effect of religious attendance on cooperation. Our findings are robust to the inclusion of potential confounders and a range of alternative model set-ups. Our study thus shows that religious involvement can indeed foster prosocial behaviours and attitudes, although this effect is in the current study context mostly restricted to religious service attendance and majority religions
    Keywords: quantitative methods, religion, trust, prosocial behaviour, volunteering, cooperation
    JEL: C23 Z12 N30 D64
    Date: 2021–04–01
  5. By: Avner Seror (Aix-Marseille Univ., CNRS, AMSE, France); Rohit Ticku (Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics and Society, Chapman University.)
    Abstract: We study the effect of legalization of same-sex marriage on coming out in the United States. We overcome data limitations by inferring coming out decisions through a revealed preference mechanism. We exploit data on enrollment in seminary studies for the Catholic priesthood, hypothesizing that Catholic priests' vow of celibacy may lead gay men to self-select as a way to avoid a heterosexual lifestyle. Using a differencesin-differences design that exploits variation in the timing of legalization across states, we find that city-level enrollment in priestly studies fell by about 15% exclusively in states adopting the reform. The celibacy norm appears to be driving our results, since we find no effect on enrollment in deacon or lay ministry studies that do not require celibacy. We also find that coming out decisions, as inferred through enrollment in priestly studies, are primarily affected by the presence of gay communities and by prevailing social attitudes toward gays. We explain our findings with a stylized model of lifestyle choice.
    Keywords: homosexuality, religion, identity
    JEL: D91 J15 Z12
    Date: 2021–04
  6. By: James Allen IV; Arlete Mahumane; James Riddell IV; Tanya Rosenblat; Dean Yang; Hang Yu
    Abstract: Can informing people of high rates of community support for social distancing encourage them to do more of it? Our Mozambican study population underestimated the rate of community support for social distancing, believing support to be only 69%, while the true share was 98%. In theory, informing people of high rates of community support has ambiguous effects on social distancing, depending on whether a perceived-infectiousness effect dominates a free-riding effect. We randomly assigned a "social norm correction" treatment, informing people of true high rates of community support for social distancing. We examine an improved measure of social distancing combining detailed self-reports with reports on the respondent by others in the community. The treatment increases social distancing where COVID-19 case loads are high (where the perceived-infectiousness effect dominates), but decreases it where case loads are low (where free-riding dominates). Separately, randomized local-leader endorsements of social distancing are ineffective. As COVID-19 case loads continue to rise, interventions such as the social norm correction treatment should show increased effectiveness at promoting social distancing.
    JEL: D91 I12 O12
    Date: 2021–04
  7. By: Kubinec, Robert (Princeton University); Lee, Haillie Na-Kyung; Tomashevskiy, Andrey
    Abstract: We present an experiment that manipulates corporate political connections to understand whether a company's political influence is a barrier or an inducement to intercorporate investment. Our data come from a survey of 3,329 firm employees and managers located in Venezuela, Ukraine and Egypt. On the whole we find that our respondents do not prefer to invest in companies with political connections. These results are highly conditional on the respondent's company: respondents from highly connected companies prefer to invest in companies with political connections, while respondents at less-connected companies prefer to invest in companies without political connections. We believe that what explains this finding are differences in how companies with and without connections manage liability as our survey data shows connected companies are much more likely to employ informal rather than formal mechanisms to resolve disputes. As a result, we believe that unconnected companies are more likely to invest in other unconnected companies to ensure that their property rights are protected.
    Date: 2021–04–21
  8. By: Barry Eichengreen; Orkun Saka; Cevat Giray Aksoy
    Abstract: What political legacy is bequeathed by national health crises such as epidemics? We show that epidemic exposure in an individual’s “impressionable years” (ages 18 to 25) has a persistent negative effect on confidence in political institutions and leaders. The effect is specific to the impressionable ages, observed only for political institutions and leaders, and does not carry over to other institutions and individuals with one key exception. That exception is strong negative effects on confidence in public health systems, suggesting that the loss of confidence in political institutions and leaders is associated with the (in)effectiveness of a government’s healthcare-related responses to past epidemics. We document this mechanism, showing that weak governments took longer to introduce policy interventions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and demonstrating that the loss of political trust is larger for individuals who experienced epidemics under weak governments. Finally, we report evidence suggesting that the epidemic-induced loss of political trust may discourage electoral participation in the long term.
    Keywords: epidemics, trust, political approval
    JEL: D72 F50 I19
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Dzung Bui; Lena Dräger; Bernd Hayo; Giang Nghiem
    Abstract: This paper investigates the direct and indirect effects of others’ beliefs on respondents’ own beliefs and consumer sentiment. Conducting consumer surveys with randomized control trials (RCTs) in Thailand and Vietnam during the COVID-19 pandemic, we implement two information treatments. Both treatments contain cross-country information about others’ beliefs about the appropriateness of the government’s or the general public’s reaction to the pandemic. The first treatment is asymmetric across our sample countries, as it shows opposite appropriateness ratings of the governments’ reaction in Vietnam and Thailand, whereas the second treatment is rather symmetric. We find that the information treatments affect consumer sentiment only in Vietnam, where the sign of the effect suggests that the treatments are viewed as positive news. Moreover, consumer sentiment in Vietnam is strongly affected by both treatments when the information goes against respondents’ prior beliefs.
    Keywords: consumer sentiment, Covid-19, randomized control trial (RCT), survey experiment, second-order beliefs, belief updating, government trust, macroeconomic expectations, Thailand, Vietnam
    JEL: E21 E37 E71 D84 D83
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Picchio, Matteo (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona); Santolini, Raffaella (Marche Polytechnic University)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of participating in public events, among them elections. We assess whether the voter turnout in the 2020 local government elections in Italy was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We do so by exploiting the variation among municipalities in the intensity of the COVID-19 outbreak as measured by the mortality rate among the elderly. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the elderly mortality rate decreased the voter turnout by 0.5 percentage points, with no gender differences in the behavioural response. The effect was especially strong in densely populated municipalities. We do not detect statistically significant heterogeneous effects between the North and the South or among different levels of autonomy from the central government.
    Keywords: COVID-19, outbreak, pandemic, voter turnout, mortality rate, Italian municipalities
    JEL: D72 D81 H70
    Date: 2021–04
  11. By: Giovanni Peri; Daniel I. Rees; Brock Smith
    Abstract: Since the turn of the last century, nationalistic political parties have been gaining support in Europe. Over the same period, terror attacks have increased. Using data from European Social Surveys (ESS), we examine the effects of terror attacks involving at least one fatality on attitudes towards immigrants and government institutions. Comparing within-country responses to the ESS shortly before and after fatal terror attacks, we find little evidence of a shift in attitudes against immigrants. Consistent with “rally-around-the flag” effects documented by political scientists, ESS respondents living in the region that was attacked tend to express more trust in parliament and more satisfaction with the national government in the post- as compared to the pre-attack period. Similarly, we find evidence that particularly salient terror attacks can produce nationwide rally-around-the-flag effects.
    JEL: H56
    Date: 2021–04

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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