nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒05‒31
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Who Voted for Trump? Populism and Social Capital By Giuliano, Paola; Wacziarg, Romain
  2. Rugged Individualism and Collective (In)action During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Bazzi, Samuel; Fiszbein, Martin; Gebresilasse, Mesay
  3. Hate is too great a burden to bear: Hate crimes and the mental health of refugees By Daniel Graeber; Felicitas Schikora
  4. Trustworthiness in the Financial Industry By Gill, Andrej; Heinz, Matthias; Schumacher, Heiner; Sutter, Matthias
  5. The Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War By Tur-Prats, Ana; Valencia Caicedo, Felipe
  6. Gender and Culture By Giuliano, Paola
  7. Culture, Institutions and Policy By Persson, Torsten; Tabellini, Guido
  8. Education Transmission and Network Formation By Boucher, Vincent; Del Bello, Carlo; Panebianco, Fabrizio; Verdier, Thierry; Zenou, Yves
  9. Universalization and altruism By Jean-François Laslier
  10. Altruist talk may (also) be cheap. Revealed versus stated altruism as a predictor in stated preference studies By Endre Kildal Iversen; Kristine Grimsrud; Yohei Mitani; Henrik Lindhjem
  11. More Opportunity, More Cooperation? The Behavioral Effects of Birthright Citizenship on Immigrant Youth By Felfe, Christina; Kocher, Martin G.; Rainer, Helmut; Saurer, Judith; Siedler, Thomas
  12. How Laws Affect the Perception of Norms: Empirical Evidence from the Lockdown By Galbiati, Roberto; Henry, Emeric; Jacquemet, Nicolas; Lobeck, Max

  1. By: Giuliano, Paola; Wacziarg, Romain
    Abstract: We argue that low levels of social capital are conducive to the electoral success of populist movements. Using a variety of data sources for the 2016 US Presidential election at the county and individual levels, we show that social capital, measured either by the density of memberships in civic, religious and sports organizations or by generalized trust, is significantly negatively correlated with the vote share and favorability rating of Donald Trump around the time of the election.
    Keywords: populism; social capital; voting behavior
    JEL: D72 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Bazzi, Samuel; Fiszbein, Martin; Gebresilasse, Mesay
    Abstract: Rugged individualism---the combination of individualism and anti-statism---is a prominent feature of American culture with deep roots in the country's history of frontier settlement. Today, rugged individualism is more prevalent in counties with greater total frontier experience (TFE) during the era of westward expansion. While individualism may be conducive to innovation, it can also undermine collective action, with potentially adverse social consequences. We show that America's frontier culture hampered the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across U.S. counties, greater TFE is associated with less social distancing and mask use as well as weaker local government effort to control the virus. We argue that frontier culture lies at the root of several more proximate explanations for the weak collective response to public health risks, including a lack of civic duty, partisanship, and distrust in science.
    Keywords: American Frontier; COVID-19; Individualism; Social distancing
    JEL: H12 H23 H75 I12 I18 P16
    Date: 2020–08
  3. By: Daniel Graeber (DIW Berlin, University of Potsdam, CEPA, BSE); Felicitas Schikora (DIW Berlin, FU Berlin)
    Abstract: Against a background of increasing violence against non-natives, we estimate the effect of hate crime on refugees’ mental health in Germany. For this purpose, we combine two datasets: administrative records on xenophobic crime against refugee shelters by the Federal Criminal Office and the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees. We apply a regression discontinuity in time design to estimate the effect of interest. Our results indicate that hate crime has a substantial negative effect on several mental health indicators, including the Mental Component Summary score and the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 score. The effects are stronger for refugees with closer geographic proximity to the focal hate crime and refugees with low country-specific human capital. While the estimated effect is only transitory, we argue that negative mental health shocks during the critical period after arrival have important long-term consequences. Keywords: Mental health, hate crime, migration, refugees, human capital.
    Keywords: mental health, hate crime, migration, refugees, human capital
    JEL: I10 J15 J24 F22 O15
    Date: 2021–05
  4. By: Gill, Andrej; Heinz, Matthias; Schumacher, Heiner; Sutter, Matthias
    Abstract: The financial industry has been struggling with widespread misconduct and public mistrust. Here we argue that the lack of trust into the financial industry may stem from the selection of subjects with little, if any, trustworthiness into the financial industry. We identify the social preferences of business and economics students, and follow up on their first job placements. We find that during college, students who want to start their career in the financial industry are substantially less trustworthy. Most importantly, actual job placements several years later confirm this association. The job market in the financial industry does not screen out less trustworthy subjects. If anything the opposite seems to be the case: Even among students who are highly motivated to work in finance after graduation, those who actually start their career in finance are significantly less trustworthy than those who work elsewhere.
    Keywords: Experiment; Financial Industry; selection; social preferences; trustworthiness
    JEL: C91 G20 M51
    Date: 2020–08
  5. By: Tur-Prats, Ana; Valencia Caicedo, Felipe
    Abstract: The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was one of the most devastating conflicts of the twentieth century, yet little is known about its long-term legacy. We show that the war had a long-lasting effect on social capital, voting behavior and collective memory. To this end we use geo-located data on historical mass graves, disaggregated modern-day survey data on trust, combined with modern electoral results. For econometric identification, we exploit deviations from the initial military plans of attack, using the historical (1931) highway network. We also employ a geographical Regression Discontinuity Design along the Aragon Front. Our results show a significant, negative and sizable relationship between political violence and generalized trust. We further scrutinize the trust results, finding negative effects of conflict on trust in institutions associated with the Civil War, but no effects when looking at trust on Post 1975 democratic institutions. We also find long-lasting results on voting during the Democratic Period (1977-2016), corresponding to the sided political repression implemented in the Aragon region. In terms of mechanisms-using a specialized survey on the Civil War, street names data and Francoist newsreels about the war-we find lower levels of political engagement and differential patterns of collective memory about this traumatic historical event.
    Keywords: Civil War; Collective Memory; conflict; History; Political Propaganda; Political Repression; Spain; Trust; voting
    JEL: D72 D74 N14 Z10
    Date: 2020–07
  6. By: Giuliano, Paola
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on gender and culture. Gender gaps in various outcomes (competitiveness, labor force participation, and performance in mathematics, amongst many others) show remarkable differences across countries and tend to persist over time. The economics literature initially explained these differences by looking at standard economic variables such as the level of development, women's education, the expansion of the service sector, and discrimination. More recent literature has argued that gender differences in a variety of outcomes could reflect underlying cultural values and beliefs. This article reviews the literature on the relevance of culture in the determination of different forms of gender gap. I examine how differences in historical situations could have been relevant in generating gender differences and the conditions under which gender norms tend to be stable or to change over time, emphasizing the role of social learning. Finally, I review the role of different forms of cultural transmission in shaping gender differences, distinguishing between channels of vertical transmission (the role of the family), horizontal transmission (the role of peers), and oblique transmission (the role of teachers or role models).
    Keywords: Culture; Gender; Social norms
    JEL: A13 J16 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Persson, Torsten; Tabellini, Guido
    Abstract: We review theoretical and empirical research on the dynamic interactions between cultures and institutions. We think about culture as a system of values and about institutions as formalized rules of the game. Our presentation is organized around a simple theoretical framework of political agency, which is gradually expanded so as to introduce new links and feedbacks between culture and institutions.
    Keywords: Culture; Development; History; institutions; Persistence
    JEL: H0 N0 O1
    Date: 2020–08
  8. By: Boucher, Vincent; Del Bello, Carlo; Panebianco, Fabrizio; Verdier, Thierry; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We propose a model of intergenerational transmission of education wherein children belong to either high-educated or low-educated families. Children choose the intensity of their social activities, while parents decide how much educational effort to exert. We characterize the equilibrium and show the conditions under which cultural substitution or complementarity emerges. Using data on adolescents in the United States, we structurally estimate our model and find that, on average, children's homophily acts as a complement to the educational effort of high-educated parents but as a substitute for the educational effort of low-educated parents. We also perform some policy simulations. We find that policies that subsidize social interactions can backfire for low-educated students because they tend to increase their interactions with other low-educated students, which reduce the education effort of their parents and, thus, their chance of becoming educated.
    Keywords: Education; Social Networks
    JEL: D85 I21 Z13
    Date: 2020–07
  9. By: Jean-François Laslier (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 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 Paris 1 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)
    Abstract: To any normal form game, we associate the symmetric two-stage game in which, in a first stage, the roles to be played in the base game are randomly assigned. We show that any equilibrium of the κ-universalization of this extended game is an equilibrium of the base game played by altruistic players ("ex ante Homo Moralis is altruistic"), and that the converse is false. The paper presents the implications of this remark for the philosophical nature of ethical behavior (Kantianism behind the veil of ignorance implies but is stronger than altruism) and for its evolutionary foundations.
    Keywords: ethics,games,evolution,altruism,universalization,Kant,Homo Moralis ethics,Homo Moralis
    Date: 2021–05
  10. By: Endre Kildal Iversen; Kristine Grimsrud (Statistics Norway); Yohei Mitani; Henrik Lindhjem
    Abstract: Altruistic preferences of various forms may cause difficulties in welfare economics. In the valuation of public goods, such preferences are believed to help explain the substantial non-use values found in many stated preference (SP) valuation surveys. However, studies analysing the effect of altruism on willingness to pay (WTP) have underappreciated the challenges in measuring altruism by the stated measures typically used. Instead, we exploit a naturally occurring decision domain to investigate the role of altruism in SP. We make use of an Internet survey company’s data on respondents’ donations of earned survey coins to charities to analyse the effect of donation behaviour on WTP across two contingent valuation (CV) surveys on different environmental topics. Hence, donators in our data are proven givers of their own money in an anonymous and unrelated setting, a decision much like the anonymous dictator game with earned resources. We find that respondents’ past donations are associated with higher WTP in the CV surveys, also when controlling for stated altruism, ecological and environmental attitudes, and respondent characteristics. The strong association between past donations and higher WTP imply that altruism is an even more important factor in explaining the substantial non-use values found in SP than assumed. The results also support prior research finding altruistic behaviour in one decision domain to be a good predictor of altruistic behaviour in other domains. Combining past behaviour with preference elicitation opens new avenues of research to better understand and handle altruistic preferences in SP and welfare economics.
    Keywords: Prosocial behaviour; altruism; contingent valuation; donations; willingness to pay
    JEL: Q51 Q53 Q54 Q57
    Date: 2021–04
  11. By: Felfe, Christina (University of Würzburg); Kocher, Martin G. (University of Munich); Rainer, Helmut (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Saurer, Judith (University of Würzburg); Siedler, Thomas (University of Potsdam)
    Abstract: Inequality of opportunity, particularly when overlaid with socioeconomic, ethnic, or cultural differences, may limit the scope of cooperation between individuals. A central question, then, is how to overcome such obstacles to cooperation. We study this question in the context of Germany, by asking whether the propensity of immigrant youth to cooperate with native peers was affected by a major integration reform: the introduction of birthright citizenship. Our unique setup exploits data from a large-scale lab-in-the-field experiment in a quasi-experimental evaluation framework. We find that the policy caused male, but not female, immigrants to significantly increase their cooperativeness toward natives. We show that the increase in out-group cooperation among immigrant boys is an outcome of more trust rather than a reflection of stronger other-regarding preferences towards natives. In exploring factors that may explain these behavioral effects, we present evidence that the policy also led to a near-closure of the educational achievement gap between young immigrant men and their native peers. Our results highlight that, through integration interventions, governments can modify prosocial behavior in a way that generates higher levels of efficiency in the interaction between social groups.
    Keywords: cooperation, in-group/out-group behavior, lab-in-the-field experiment, birthright citizenship
    JEL: C93 D90 J15 K37
    Date: 2021–05
  12. By: Galbiati, Roberto; Henry, Emeric; Jacquemet, Nicolas; Lobeck, Max
    Abstract: Laws not only affect behavior due to changes in material payoffs, but they may also change the perception individuals have of societal norms, either by shifting them directly or by providing information on these norms. Using detailed daily survey data and exploiting the introduction of lockdown measures in the UK in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, we provide causal evidence that the law drastically changed the perception of the norms regarding social distancing behaviors. We show this effect of laws on perceived norms is mostly driven by an informational channel.
    Date: 2020–08

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