nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒07‒12
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Persistent political engagement: social interactions and the dynamics of protest movements By Bursztyn, Leonardo; Cantoni, Davide; Yang, David Y.; Yuchtman, Noam; Zhang, Y. Jane
  2. Fighting Climate Change: The Role of Norms, Preferences, and Moral Values By Andre, Peter; Boneva, Teodora; Chopra, Felix; Falk, Armin
  3. Social Capital and Mobility: An Experimental Study By Rostislav Staněk; Ondřej Krčál; Štěpán Mikula
  4. The Roots of Cooperation By Basic, Zvonimir; Bindra, Parampreet C.; Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela; Romano, Angelo; Sutter, Matthias; Zoller, Claudia
  5. Buying a Blind Eye: Campaign Donations, Forbearance, and Deforestation in Colombia By Robin Harding; Mounu Prem; Nelson A. Ruiz; David Vargas
  6. Alone at home: The impact of social distancing on norm-consistent behavior By Jeworrek, Sabrina; Waibel, Joschka
  7. Coronagraben in Switzerland: Culture and social distancing in times of COVID-19 By Deopa, Neha; Fortunato, Piergiuseppe
  8. Investigating neighbourhood effects in welfare-to-work transitions By Vincent Dautel; Alessio Fusco
  9. Do cultural capital and social capital matter for economic performance? An empirical investigation of tribal agriculture in New Caledonia By Natalia Zugravu; Rajwane Kafrouni; Séverine Bouard; Leïla Apithy
  10. Law and Norms: Empirical Evidence By Tom Lane; Daniele Nosenzo; Silvia Sonderegger
  11. Relationship between Cultural Values, Sense of Community and Trust and the Effect of Trust in Workplace By Nazli Mohammad; Yvonne Stedham

  1. By: Bursztyn, Leonardo; Cantoni, Davide; Yang, David Y.; Yuchtman, Noam; Zhang, Y. Jane
    Abstract: We study the causes of sustained participation in political movements. To identify the persistent effect of protest participation, we randomly indirectly incentivize Hong Kong university students into participation in an antiauthoritarian protest. To identify the role of social networks, we randomize this treatment’s intensity across major-cohort cells. We find that incentives to attend one protest within a political movement increase subsequent protest attendance but only when a sufficient fraction of an individual’s social network is also incentivized to attend the initial protest. One-time mobilization shocks have dynamic consequences, with mobilization at the social network level important for sustained political engagement.
    Keywords: political movements; social interactions; grant agreement 716837
    JEL: D72 D74 I23 Z13
    Date: 2021–06–01
  2. By: Andre, Peter (University of Bonn); Boneva, Teodora (University of Bonn); Chopra, Felix (University of Bonn); Falk, Armin (briq, University of Bonn)
    Abstract: We document individual willingness to fight climate change and its behavioral determinants in a large representative sample of US adults. Willingness to fight climate change – as measured through an incentivized donation decision – is highly heterogeneous across the population. Individual beliefs about social norms, economic preferences such as patience and altruism, as well as universal moral values positively predict climate preferences. Moreover, we document systematic misperceptions of prevalent social norms. Respondents vastly underestimate the prevalence of climate-friendly behaviors and norms among their fellow citizens. Providing respondents with correct information causally raises individual willingness to fight climate change as well as individual support for climate policies. The effects are strongest for individuals who are skeptical about the existence and threat of global warming.
    Keywords: climate change, climate behavior, climate policies, social norms, economic preferences, moral values, beliefs, survey experiments
    JEL: D64 D83 D91 Q51 Z13
    Date: 2021–06
  3. By: Rostislav Staněk (Faculty of Economics and Administration, Masaryk University, Lipová 41a, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic); Ondřej Krčál (Faculty of Economics and Administration, Masaryk University, Lipová 41a, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic); Štěpán Mikula (Faculty of Economics and Administration, Masaryk University, Lipová 41a, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: Theoretical models of social capital (David, Janiak, and Wasmer 2010; Bräuninger and Tolciu 2011) predict that communities may find themselves in one of two equilibria: one with a high level of local social capital and low migration or one with a low level of local social capital and high migration. There is empirical literature suggesting that immigrants who join communities high in social capital are more likely to invest in local social capital and that the whole community will then end up in the equilibrium with high local social capital and low migration. However, this literature suffers from the selection of immigrants, which makes the identification challenging. In order to test the causal influence of the initial level of local social capital, we take the setup used in the theoretical models into the laboratory. We treat some communities by increasing the initial level of social capital without affecting the equilibrium outcomes. We find that while most communities end up in one of the two equilibria predicted by the theoretical models, the treated communities are more likely to converge to the equilibrium with a high level of local social capital and low migration.
    Keywords: social capital, integration, equilibrium selection, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C92 J15
    Date: 2021–06
  4. By: Basic, Zvonimir (University of Bonn); Bindra, Parampreet C. (University of Innsbruck); Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela (University of Innsbruck); Romano, Angelo (Leiden University); Sutter, Matthias (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Zoller, Claudia (Management Center Innsbruck)
    Abstract: Understanding the roots of human cooperation among strangers is of great importance for solving pressing social dilemmas and maintening public goods in human societies. We study the development of cooperation in 929 young children, aged 3 to 6. In a unified experimental framework, we examine which of three fundamental pillars of human cooperation – direct and indirect reciprocity as well as third-party punishment – emerges earliest as an effective means to increase cooperation in a repeated prisoner's dilemma game. We find that third-party punishment exhibits a strikingly positive effect on cooperation rates by doubling them in comparison to a control condition. It promotes cooperative behavior even before punishment of defectors is applied. Children also engage in reciprocating others, showing that reciprocity strategies are already prevalent at a very young age. However, direct and indirect reciprocity treatments do not increase overall cooperation rates, as young children fail to anticipate the benefits of reputation building. We also show that the cognitive skills of children and the socioeconomic background of parents play a vital role in the early development of human cooperation.
    Keywords: cooperation, reciprocity, third-party punishment, reputation, children, parents, cognitive abilities, socioeconomic status, prisoner's dilemma game, experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 D01 D91 H41
    Date: 2021–06
  5. By: Robin Harding; Mounu Prem; Nelson A. Ruiz; David Vargas
    Abstract: While existing work has demonstrated that campaign donations can buy access to benefits such as favorable legislation and preferential contracting, we highlight another use of campaign contributions: buying forbearance. Specifically, we argue that in return for campaign contributions, Colombian mayors who rely on donor-funding (compared to those who do not) choose not to enforce sanctions against illegal deforestation activities. Using a regression discontinuity design we show that deforestation is significantly higher in municipalities that elect donor-funded as opposed to self-funded politicians. Further analysis shows that only part of this effect can be explained by differences is contracting practices by donor-funded mayors. Instead, evidence from analysis of fire clearance, and of heterogeneity in the effects according to the presence of alternative formal and informal enforcement institutions, supports the interpretation that campaign contributions buy forbearance from enforcement of environmental regulations.
    Keywords: Campaign donations, Deforestation, Forbearance
    Date: 2021–06–17
  6. By: Jeworrek, Sabrina; Waibel, Joschka
    Abstract: Around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned daily live upside down since social distancing is probably the most effective means of containing the virus until herd immunity is reached. Social norms have been shown to be an important determinant of social distancing behaviors. By conducting two experiments and using the priming method to manipulate social isolation recollections, we study whether social distancing has in turn affected norms of prosociality and norm compliance. The normative expectations of what behaviors others would approve or disapprove in our experimental setting did not change. Looking at actual behavior, however, we find that persistent social distancing indeed caused a decline in prosociality - even after the relaxation of social distancing rules and in times of optimism. At the same time, our results contain some good news since subjects seem still to care for norms and become more prosocial once again after we draw their attention to the empirical norm of how others have previously behaved in a similar situation.
    Keywords: COVID-19,human behavior,norm compliance,post-COVID,priming,pro-sociality,social expectations
    JEL: C91 D64 D91 H12
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Deopa, Neha; Fortunato, Piergiuseppe
    Abstract: Social distancing measures help contain the spread of COVID-19 but the actual compliance has varied substantially across space and time. We ask whether cultural differences underlie this heterogeneity using mobility data across Switzerland between February and December 2020. We find that German-speaking cantons decreased their mobility for non essential activities significantly less than the French-speaking cantons. However, we find no such significant differences for the bilingual cantons. Contrary to the evidence in the literature, we find that within the Swiss context, high trusting areas exhibited a lower decline in mobility. Additionally, cantons supporting a limited role of the state in matters of welfare also displayed a lower mobility reduction.
    Keywords: COVID-19,culture,social distancing,trust,redistribution,mobility
    JEL: H12 Z1 D91
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Vincent Dautel; Alessio Fusco
    Abstract: We analyse the existence and underlying mechanisms of neighbourhood effects in welfare-to-work transitions. The analysis is based on Luxembourg social security longitudinal data, which covers the period 2001-2015 and provides precise information at the postcode level, corresponding mostly to streets. Our identification strategy exploits plausible exogenous variations among neighbours provided by the thinness of the housing market once controlling for residential sorting. We first examine interactions among all neighbours using an individual-level analysis, before focusing on interactions among only welfare recipients using a matched-pair analysis. This second step allows us to deal with the mediating effect of welfare recipients' citizenship. The main findings highlight the existence of neighbourhood effects in welfare-to-work transitions, which are also affected by the characteristics of the neighbours, including their citizenship. These characteristics suggest that social norms and/or stigma prevail in welfare-to-work transitions over the support for welfare recipients to find a job, but not over the in-group support for welfare recipients. The matched-pair analysis provides contrasting results across citizenship for individuals from large-sized citizenship groups (interactions within the own group) and individuals from medium-sized groups (interactions between groups).
    Keywords: welfare-to-work transitions; neighbourhood effects; diversity; block-level data
    JEL: H53 I32 J21 J60 R23
    Date: 2021–06
  9. By: Natalia Zugravu (Cemotev - Centre d'études sur la mondialisation, les conflits, les territoires et les vulnérabilités - UVSQ - Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines); Rajwane Kafrouni (Cemotev - Centre d'études sur la mondialisation, les conflits, les territoires et les vulnérabilités - UVSQ - Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines); Séverine Bouard (IAC - Institut Agronomique Néo-Calédonien); Leïla Apithy (IAC - Institut Agronomique Néo-Calédonien)
    Abstract: This paper proposes an empirical investigation of the impact of social relations, referred to as structural social capital, and cultural values, referred to as intangible cultural capital, on tribal agricultural production in New Caledonia. By using microdata from an original survey on tribal communities, we construct a simultaneous equations model to explore the mechanisms by which cultural values and social relations interact with agricultural performance. Several original findings emerge from this study. First, agricultural performance (production and yield) is a result and, simultaneously, an explanatory factor of social relations, highlighting the limited substitutability between these two sources of wealth (agriculture and social capital). Second, cultural values appear to be an explanatory factor of tribal social relations and thus indirectly affect economic performance. Moreover, our results suggest that the complementarity between the forms of capital is essential for the extensification—maintenance/scaling up—of tribal agriculture (crop production) and even more essential for the intensification (performance, i.e. crop yield) of this activity and the persistence of social ties. Our results thus show that the neoclassical hypothesis of perfect substitutability between the components of wealth is not valid for socioeconomic sustainability.
    Keywords: Cultural capital,Intangible wealth,Social capital,Socioeconomic relationship,Sustainable development,Tangible wealth,Tribal agriculture
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Tom Lane (School of Economics, University of Nottingham Ningbo); Daniele Nosenzo (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University); Silvia Sonderegger (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: A large theoretical literature argues laws exert a causal effect on norms, but empirical evidence remains scant. Using a novel identification strategy, this paper provides a clean empirical test of this proposition. We use incentivized vignette experiments to directly measure social norms relating to actions subject to legal thresholds. Our large-scale experiments featured around 5,800 subjects drawn from six samples recruited in the UK and China. Results show laws often, but not always, influence norms. Our findings are robust to different methods of measuring norms, and remain qualitatively similar across samples and between two countries with very different legislative environments.
    Keywords: Social Norms, Law, Expressive Function of Law
    JEL: C91 C92 D9 K1 K42
    Date: 2021–07–01
  11. By: Nazli Mohammad (University of Nevada [Reno]); Yvonne Stedham (University of Nevada [Reno])
    Abstract: This paper provides a general overview of different perspectives and studies on trust, offers a definition of trust and provides factors that play a substantial role in developing social trust, and shows from which perspectives it can be fostered. The results showed that trust is playing an important role in success for organizations involved in cross-national strategic partnerships. Trust can reduce transaction costs, promotes inter-organizational relationships, and improve subordinate relationships between managers.
    Keywords: dimensions of trust,measurement,trust,Social trust,social cohesion,trust in the workplace,cultural differences
    Date: 2021–06–10

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.