nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2021‒08‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Past Exposure to Macroeconomic Shocks and Populist Attitudes in Europe By Gavresi, Despina; Litina, Anastasia
  2. (Successful) Democracies Breed Their Own Support By Daron Acemoglu; Nicolás Ajzenman; Cevat Giray Aksoy; Martin Fiszbein; Carlos A. Molina
  3. Slave Trades, Kinship Structures and Women Political Participation in Africa By Leone Walters; Carolyn Chisadza; Matthew Clance
  4. Misperceptions about Others By Leonardo Bursztyn; David Y. Yang
  5. Trust and Financial Development: Forms of Trust and Ethnic Fractionalization Matter By Ali Recayi Ogcem; Ruth Tacneng; Amine Tarazi
  6. Competition and Co-Operation when Consumers' Sustainability Preferences Depend on Social Norms By Roman Inderst; Eftichios Sartzetakis; Anastasios Xepapadeas
  7. Social ties, clientelism, and the poor's expectations of future service provision: Receiving more, expecting less? By Prisca Jöst; Ellen Lust
  8. The COVID-19 Pandemic: Government vs. Community Action Across the United States By Brzezinski, Adam; Deiana, Guido; Kecht, Valentin; Van Dijcke, David
  9. Understanding the Origins of Populist Political Parties and the Role of External Shocks By Eugenio Levi; Isabelle Sin; Steven Stillman
  10. Environmental Culture and Economic Complexity By Lapatinas, Athanasios; Litina, Anastasia; Zanaj, Skerdilajda
  11. Can we commit future managers to honesty? By Nicolas Jacquemet; Stéphane Luchini; J Rosaz; J Shogren

  1. By: Gavresi, Despina; Litina, Anastasia
    Abstract: This paper explores the interplay between past exposure to macroeconomic shocks and populist attitudes. We document that individuals who experienced a macroeconomic shock during their impressionable years (between 18 and 25 years of age), are currently more prone to voting for populist parties, and manifest lower trust both in national and European institutions. We use data from the European Social Survey (ESS) to construct the differential individual exposure to macroeconomic shocks during those years. Our findings suggest that it is not only exposure to current economic shocks that matters (see e.g., \citet{guiso2020economic}) but also past exposure to economic recessions, which has a persistent effect on the rise of populism. Analytically, past economic shocks are associated with a fall in trust in national and European institutions and a rise in anti-immigrant attitudes. Interestingly, the interplay between the two, i.e., past and current exposure to economic shocks, has a mitigating effect on the rise of populism, meaning that individuals who were exposed to economic shocks in the past are less likely to manifest populist attitudes when faced with a current crisis.
    Keywords: Macroeconomic Shocks, Trust, Attitudes, Populism
    JEL: D72 E60 F68 P16 Z13
    Date: 2021–07–25
  2. By: Daron Acemoglu; Nicolás Ajzenman; Cevat Giray Aksoy; Martin Fiszbein; Carlos A. Molina
    Abstract: Using large-scale survey data covering more than 110 countries and exploiting within-country variation across cohorts and surveys, we show that individuals with longer exposure to democracy display stronger support for democratic institutions. We bolster these baseline findings using an instrumental-variables strategy exploiting regional democratization waves and focusing on immigrants’ exposure to democracy before migration. In all cases, the timing and nature of the effects are consistent with a causal interpretation. We also establish that democracies breed their own support only when they are successful: all of the effects we estimate work through exposure to democracies that are successful in providing economic growth, peace and political stability, and public goods.
    JEL: P16
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Leone Walters (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa); Carolyn Chisadza (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa); Matthew Clance (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa)
    Abstract: We study whether present-day women political participation in sub-Saharan Africa can be linked to the temporary gender ratio imbalances caused by the transatlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades, taking into account pre-existing gender norms influenced by kinship structures. Using individual-level data for 29 sub-Saharan African countries from the latest Afrobarometer surveys, ethnic region kinship and slave trade data, we find that a woman's ethnic region exposure to the transatlantic slave trade is associated with an increase in her likelihood to vote, however, only in non-patrilineal ethnic regions. This effect is mitigated in patrilineal ethnic regions, where women have less decision-making power. This paper contributes to the literature on the contemporary sub-national effects of the slave trades and the historical causes of gender gaps in political participation.
    Keywords: Slave Trade, Gender, Africa
  4. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; David Y. Yang
    Abstract: People’s perceptions about others play an important role in shaping their own attitudes and behaviors, as well as social norms more broadly. This review presents a meta-analysis of the recent empirical literature that examines perceptions about others in the field. We document a number of stylized facts. Misperceptions about others are widespread, asymmetric, much larger when about out-group members, and positively associated with one’s own attitudes. Experimental treatments to re-calibrate misperceptions generally work as intended; they sometimes lead to meaningful changes in behaviors, though this often occurs only immediately after the treatments. We discuss different conceptual frameworks that could explain the origin, persistence, and rigidity of misperceptions about others. We point to several directions for future research.
    JEL: D8 D84
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Ali Recayi Ogcem (LAPE - Laboratoire d'Analyse et de Prospective Economique - GIO - Gouvernance des Institutions et des Organisations - UNILIM - Université de Limoges); Ruth Tacneng (LAPE - Laboratoire d'Analyse et de Prospective Economique - GIO - Gouvernance des Institutions et des Organisations - UNILIM - Université de Limoges); Amine Tarazi (LAPE - Laboratoire d'Analyse et de Prospective Economique - GIO - Gouvernance des Institutions et des Organisations - UNILIM - Université de Limoges)
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between trust and financial development using detailed regional data in Turkey. We distinguish different forms of trust (i.e., generalized, narrow, and wide) and investigate whether varying degrees of generalized and narrow trust, as well as wide and narrow trust imply different financial development outcomes. Moreover, we assess how different forms of trust and their combination affect financial development in the presence of ethnically fragmented populations. We use instrumental variable (IV) estimations to address endogeneity issues and the potential reverse causality between trust and financial development. Our main results indicate that wide trust has a significantly positive impact on financial development. Moreover, in regions where narrow trust is relatively high, we find financial development benefits from increasing generalized trust. Our findings also highlight that whereas wide trust leads to more developed financial markets in more ethnically fragmented regions, generalized trust plays a stronger role in less fragmented ones. Further, we also analyze the impact of trust on the proportion of credit backed by stable funds such as deposits. Our findings show that generalized trust plays an important role in mitigating the adverse effects that ethnic fractionalization have on the availability of deposits or stable sources to fund loans. On the whole, our study highlights the importance of distinguishing the impact of different forms and combinations of trust. Generalized trust, which is the focus of most studies, is not an all-encompassing one-size-fits-all solution to enhance economic performance.
    Keywords: Trust,Financial development,Regional development,Ethnic fractionalization
    Date: 2021–08–19
  6. By: Roman Inderst; Eftichios Sartzetakis; Anastasios Xepapadeas
    Abstract: We posit that consumers' preferences for more sustainable products depend on the perceived social norm, which in turn is shaped by average consumption in society. We explore the implications of such preferences for firms' incentives to introduce more sustainable products and to co-operate in order to either foster or forestall their introduction. Our main motivation lies in the increasing pressure put on antitrust authorities to exert more leniency towards horizontal agreements that are motivated by sustainability considerations.
    Date: 2021–07–30
  7. By: Prisca Jöst; Ellen Lust
    Abstract: Are candidates who hand out clientelistic goods at election time less likely to provide services once they take office? This paper examines the poor's expectations of future service provision by candidates who hand out money and other goods versus those who do not. We hypothesize that the poor's expectations should depend on the density of social ties. To test this hypothesis, we use hierarchical models to analyse observational data and two conjoint experiments embedded in a unique survey of Kenyans, Malawians, and Zambians.
    Keywords: vote-buying, Clientelism, Social cohesion, Poverty, Service delivery
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Brzezinski, Adam; Deiana, Guido; Kecht, Valentin; Van Dijcke, David
    Abstract: Are lockdown policies effective at inducing physical distancing to counter the spread of COVID-19? Can less restrictive measures that rely on voluntary community action achieve a similar effect? Using data from 40 million mobile devices, we find that a lockdown increases the percentage of people who stay at home by 8\% across US counties. Grouping states with similar outbreak trajectories together and using an instrumental variablesapproach, we show that time spent at home can increase by as much as 39\%. Moreover, we show that individuals engage in limited physical distancing even in the absence of such policies, once the virus takes hold in their area. Our analysis suggests that non-causal estimates of lockdown policies' effects can yield biased results. We show that counties where people have less distrust in science, are more highly educated, or have higher incomes see a substantially higher uptake of voluntary physical distancing. This suggests that the targeted promotion of distancing among less responsive groups may be as effective as across-the-board lockdowns, while also being less damaging to the economy.
    Keywords: COVID-19, difference-in-differences, instrumental variables, NPI, community action, physical distancing, big data
    JEL: I12 I18 H12 H75 D04
    Date: 2020–04
  9. By: Eugenio Levi (Masaryk University); Isabelle Sin (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Steven Stillman (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
    Abstract: We use electoral survey data to examine the impact that two large external shocks had on the development of New Zealand First (NZF), one of the oldest populist parties in the OECD. We find that structural reforms, which led to large negative impacts on particular locations, and immigration reforms, which led to large spatially concentrated increases in skilled migration, both increased voting for NZF in its first years of existence. These shocks led to changes in political attitudes and policy preferences and had persistent effects on voting for NZF even twenty years later. Overall, they play an important role in explaining the rise of populism in NZ. Understanding how these shocks led to the development of NZF is particularly relevant for thinking about how populism has been extending its reach in the 2010s.
    Keywords: Populism; political parties; trade; immigration; shocks
    JEL: D72 P16 H40
    Date: 2021–08
  10. By: Lapatinas, Athanasios; Litina, Anastasia; Zanaj, Skerdilajda
    Abstract: This paper establishes economic complexity as a powerful predictor of environmental attitudes. While the economic complexity index (ECI) has been associated with a series of economic outcomes, yet there has not been a link in the literature between ECI and environmental attitudes. This research pushes forward the hypothesis that economic complexity shapes cultural values and beliefs. We use a multilevel empirical analysis that associates aggregate values of the ECI, at the country level, with individual responses related to attitudes towards the environment. Our findings suggest that more complex economies are associated with: i) a higher likelihood to participate voluntarily in organizations targeting environmental protection; and ii) higher willingness to pay for the environment. To further reinforce our findings by ensuring identification we replicate the benchmark analysis using as a proxy of a country's level of economic complexity, the average ECI of the neighbouring countries (weighted by population and/or volume of trade) . With a similar intention, i.e., to mitigate endogeneity concerns as well as to further frame our findings as ``the cultural implications of ECI'' we replicate our analysis with a sample of second generation immigrants. The immigrant analysis, suggests that the level of economic complexity of the parents' country of origin, has a long-lasting effect on second generation immigrants' attitudes related to the environment. Because humankind’s attitudes and actions are of key importance for a sustainable future, a better understanding as to what drives environmental attitudes appears critical both for researchers and policy makers.
    Keywords: Economic Complexity Index; Environmental Attitudes; Multilevel analysis; Migration
    JEL: O3 Z1
    Date: 2020–12–31
  11. By: Nicolas Jacquemet (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, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Stéphane Luchini; J Rosaz; J Shogren
    Abstract: In a competitive business environment, dishonesty can pay. Self-interested executives and managers can have incentive to shade the truth for personal gain. In response, the business community has considered how to commit these executives and managers to a higher ethical standard. The MBA Oath and the Dutch Bankers Oath are examples of such a commitment device. The question we test herein is whether the oath can be used as an effective form of ethics management for future executives/managers-who for our experiment we recruited from a leading French business school-by actually improving their honesty. Using a classic Sender-Receiver strategic game experiment, we reinforce professional identity by pre-selecting the group to which Receivers belong. This allows us to determine whether taking the oath deters lying among future managers. Our results suggest "yes and no." We observe that these future executives/managers who took a solemn honesty oath as a Sender were (a) significantly more likely to tell the truth when the lie was detrimental to the Receiver, but (b) were not more likely to tell the truth when the lie was mutually beneficial to both the Sender and Receiver. A joint product of our design is our ability to measure in-group bias in lying behavior in our population of subjects (comparing behavior of subjects in the same and different business schools). The experiment provides clear evidence of a lack of such bias.
    Keywords: Commitment,Lying,In-group bias
    Date: 2021

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