nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒08‒23
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. On the Persistence of Dishonesty By Stefania Bortolotti; Felix Kölle; Lukas Wenner
  2. The Slippery Slope from Pluralistic to Plural Societies By Campigotto, Nicola; Rapallini, Chiara; Rustichini, Aldo
  3. What We Teach About Race and Gender: Representation in Images and Text of Children’s Books By Anjali Adukia; Alex Eble; Emileigh Harrison; Hakizumwami Birali Runesha; Teodora Szasz
  4. Fatal remedies. How dealing with policy conflict can backfire in a context of trust-erosion By Wolf, Eva; Van Dooren, Wouter
  5. (Anticipated) Discrimination against Sexual Minorities in Prosocial Domains By Billur Aksoy; Ian Chadd; Boon Han Koh
  6. Shifting Punishment on Minorities: Experimental Evidence of Scapegoating By Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová; Gérard Roland; Tomas Zelinsky

  1. By: Stefania Bortolotti (Economics Department, University of Bologna & IZA); Felix Kölle (Department of Economics, University of Cologne, Albertus MagnusPlatz, 50923 Cologne, Germany); Lukas Wenner (Department of Economics, University of Cologne)
    Abstract: In social and economic interactions, individuals often exploit informational asymmetries and behave dishonestly to pursue private ends. In many of these situations the costs and benefits from dishonest behavior do not accrue immediately and at the same time. In this paper, we experimentally investigate the role of time on dishonesty. Contrary to our predictions, we find that neither delaying the gains from cheating, nor increasing temporal engagement with one's own unethical behavior reduces the likelihood of cheating. Furthermore, allowing for a delay between the time when private information is obtained and when it is reported does not affect cheating in our experiment.
    Keywords: Dishonesty, cheating, delay, discounting, experiment
    JEL: C91 D82 D91
    Date: 2021–08
  2. By: Campigotto, Nicola; Rapallini, Chiara; Rustichini, Aldo
    Abstract: Academic consensus about normative prescriptions on the ethnic and cultural composition of societies has been shifting in recent decades. It has evolved from what seemed desirable but was acknowledged to be unrealistic (the noble idea of a melting pot), to what is realistic because it has already happened, but might be undesirable in the long run: the multicultural diaspora. Plural societies, an unintended consequence of multiculturalism, lurk in the background. Thus scholars of social and economic questions, as well as societies, face a threehorned dilemma. We throw some light on the dilemma by examining school friendship networks in five European countries with recent immigration. Our results highlight the force of elective affinities in overcoming differences, but they also point to the countervailing forces of elective discordance that are currently driving increasing division.
    Keywords: Friendship,Homophily,Immigration,Networks,Social cohesion
    JEL: D85 J15 Z13
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Anjali Adukia; Alex Eble; Emileigh Harrison; Hakizumwami Birali Runesha; Teodora Szasz
    Abstract: Books shape how children learn about society and social norms, in part through the representation of different characters. To better understand the messages children encounter in books, we introduce new artificial intelligence methods for systematically converting images into data. We apply these image tools, along with established text analysis methods, to measure the representation of race, gender, and age in children’s books commonly found in US schools and homes over the last century. We find that more characters with darker skin color appear over time, but "mainstream" award-winning books, which are twice as likely to be checked out from libraries, persistently depict more lighter-skinned characters even after conditioning on perceived race. Across all books, children are depicted with lighter skin than adults. Over time, females are increasingly present but are more represented in images than in text, suggesting greater symbolic inclusion in pictures than substantive inclusion in stories. Relative to their growing share of the US population, Black and Latinx people are underrepresented in the mainstream collection; males, particularly White males, are persistently overrepresented. Our data provide a view into the "black box" of education through children’s books in US schools and homes, highlighting what has changed and what has endured.
    JEL: I21 I24 J15 J16 Z1
    Date: 2021–08
  4. By: Wolf, Eva; Van Dooren, Wouter (University of Antwerp)
    Abstract: This article investigates the relationship between policy conflict and trust-erosion. It concludes that in a context of trust-erosion, practices to deal with conflict may backfire and lead to further conflict escalation. The article draws on an in-depth analysis of 32 interviews with key actors in the conflict over a contested multibillion-euro highway project in Antwerp (Belgium). It concludes that while all actors draw on the policy repertoire of “managing public support” to explain the conflict, their perspectives of what it means for a policy to have public support differ. Practices to “manage public support” that made sense from one perspective, contributed to the erosion of trust from those holding a different perspective, thus further escalating the conflict. Practices intended to end conflict proved to be fatal remedies.
    Date: 2021–08–14
  5. By: Billur Aksoy (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Ian Chadd (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Boon Han Koh (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We study discrimination in prosocial domains against sexual minorities using a sharing (dictator) game in an online experiment, where these individuals have the opportunity to signal their identity. We find that political affiliations matter: Republican heterosexual individuals are less generous to others who are perceived to be sexual minorities, while their Democratic counterparts are slightly more generous. This is robust to alternative specifications and cannot be explained by perceptions about the recipient’s political leaning. Moreover, women, but not men, are less likely to signal their sexual minority status when they are aware of the potential payoff implications of their decisions.
    Keywords: taste-based discrimination, identity, LGBTQ+, political preferences, gender.
    JEL: C90 D90 J16
    Date: 2021–08–16
  6. By: Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová; Gérard Roland; Tomas Zelinsky
    Abstract: This paper provides experimental evidence showing that members of a majority group systematically shift punishment on innocent members of an ethnic minority. We develop a new incentivized task, the Punishing the Scapegoat Game, to measure how injustice affecting a member of one’s own group shapes punishment of an unrelated bystander (“a scapegoat”). We manipulate the ethnic identity of the scapegoats and study interactions between the majority group and the Roma minority in Slovakia. We find that when no harm is done, there is no evidence of discrimination against the ethnic minority. In contrast, when a member of one’s own group is harmed, the punishment ”passed” on innocent individuals more than doubles when they are from the minority, as compared to when they are from the dominant group. These results illuminate how individualized tensions can be transformed into a group conflict, dragging minorities into conflicts in a way that is completely unrelated to their behavior.
    JEL: C93 D74 D91 J15
    Date: 2021–08

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