nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒03‒07
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Agrarian Origins of Individualism and Collectivism By Martin Fiszbein; Yeonha Jung; Dietrich Vollrath
  2. Globalisation increased trust in northern and western Europe between 2002 and 2018 By Verhoeven, Loesje; Ritzen, Jo
  3. Origins and consequences of long ties in social networks By Jahani, Eaman; Fraiberger, Samuel P.; Bailey, Michael; Eckles, Dean
  4. The Effect of Social Media on Elections: Evidence from the United States By Thomas Fujiwara; Karsten Müller; Carlo Schwarz
  5. Strangers and foreigners: Trust and attitudes toward citizenship By Bertocchi, Graziella; Dimico, Arcangelo; Tedeschi, Gian Luca
  6. Trust in the time of coronavirus: longitudinal evidence from the United States By Aassve, Arnstein; Capezzone, Tommaso; Cavalli, Nicolo'; Conzo, Pierluigi; Peng, Chen
  7. Historical Self-Governance and Norms of Cooperation By Devesh Rustagi
  8. Clubs and Networks By Ding, S.; Dziubinski, M.; Goyal, S.
  9. Revisiting the links between economic inequality and political violence: The role of social mobilization By Patricia Justino
  10. Anti democratic attitudes: The influence of work, digital transformation and climate change By Hövermann, Andreas; Kohlrausch, Bettina; Voss-Dahm, Dorothea

  1. By: Martin Fiszbein; Yeonha Jung; Dietrich Vollrath
    Abstract: We study the influence of agricultural labor intensity on individualism across U.S. counties. To measure historical labor intensity in agriculture we combine data on crop-specific labor requirements and county-specific crop mix around 1900. To address endogeneity we exploit climate-induced variation in crop mix. Our estimates indicate that an increase of one standard deviation in labor intensity is associated with a reduction of 0.2-0.4 standard deviations in individualism (as captured by the share of children with infrequent names). We further document consistent patterns using within-county changes in labor intensity over time due to both mechanization and the boll weevil shock. While culture transformed in response to changes in labor intensity, we also find that historical agricultural patterns had a lasting imprint that influences geographic variation in individualism today.
    JEL: N51 O13 P16
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Verhoeven, Loesje (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Ritzen, Jo (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Institutional trust and interpersonal trust are supposedly threatened by globalisation. In a case study of twelve countries in Northern- and Western Europe, however, we show that the substantial globalisation of the first two decades of the 21st century has contributed to institutional trust and - less significant - to interpersonal trust. This relation is non-linear. The "usual suspects" of income inequality and diversity have decreased institutional and interpersonal trust. Only specific Government expenditures (education and culture) have contributed to trust, more so in combination with high quality of institutions. High trusting countries (compared to Austria) turn out to be: France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The positive effect of globalization on trust is "carried" by the higher educated and those with higher incomes.
    Keywords: Globalisation, Social Cohesion, Institutional Trust, Interpersonal trust, Diversity, Inequality, Government Expenditure, Government Intervention
    JEL: F15 F68 D31 D78 E61 H5 O24 O52
    Date: 2022–02–01
  3. By: Jahani, Eaman; Fraiberger, Samuel P.; Bailey, Michael; Eckles, Dean
    Abstract: Social networks play a predominant role in determining how information spreads between individuals. Previous works suggest that long ties, which connect people who do not share any mutual contact, provide access to valuable information on economic opportunities. However, no population-scale study has determined how long ties relate to economic outcomes and how such ties are formed. Using a novel dataset from Facebook, we reconstruct the network of interactions between users and we uncover a strong relationship between the share of long ties and economic outcomes at the local level in the United States and in Mexico. Administrative units with a higher proportion of long ties have higher incomes, higher economic mobility, lower unemployment rates and higher wealth, even after adjusting for potential confounders of these outcomes. In contrast to the weak tie theory, we find that having stronger long ties is associated with better economic outcomes. Furthermore, we discover that users with a higher proportion of long ties are more likely to have migrated between US states, to have transferred to a different high school, and to have attended college outside of their home state. Taken together, these results suggest that long ties contribute to economic prosperity and highlight the role played by disruptive life events in the formation of these ties.
    Date: 2022–01–08
  4. By: Thomas Fujiwara (Princeton University and NBER); Karsten Müller (National University of Singapore); Carlo Schwarz (Università Bocconi)
    Abstract: We study how social media affects election outcomes in the United States. We use variation in the number of Twitter users across counties induced by early adopters at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, a key event in Twitter’s rise to popularity. We show that this variation is unrelated to observable county characteristics and electoral outcomes before the launch of Twitter. Our results indicate that Twitter lowered the Republican vote share in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, but had limited effects on Congressional elections and previous presidential elections. Evidence from survey data, primary elections, and a text analysis of millions of tweets suggests that Twitter’s relatively liberal content may have persuaded voters with moderate views to vote against Donald Trump.
    Keywords: voting behavior, elections
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2021–11
  5. By: Bertocchi, Graziella; Dimico, Arcangelo; Tedeschi, Gian Luca
    Abstract: We analyze the relationship between natives' attitudes towards citizenship acquisition for foreigners and trust. Our hypothesis is that, in sub-Saharan Africa, the slave trade represents the deep factor behind contemporary attitudes toward citizenship, with more intense exposure to historical slave exports for an individual's ethnic group being associated with contemporary distrust for strangers, and in turn opposition to citizenship laws that favor the inclusion of foreigners. We find that individuals who are more trusting do show more positive attitudes towards the acquisition of citizenship at birth for children of foreigners, that these attitudes are also negatively related to the intensity of the slave trade, and that the underlying link between trust and the slave trade is confirmed. Alternative factors-conflict, kinship, and witchcraft beliefs-that, through trust, may affect attitudes toward citizenship, are not generating the same distinctive pattern of linkages emerging from the slave trade.
    Keywords: Citizenship,Trust,Slave Trade,Migration,Ethnicity,Conflict,Kinship,Witchcraft
    JEL: J15 K37 N57 O15 Z13
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Aassve, Arnstein; Capezzone, Tommaso; Cavalli, Nicolo'; Conzo, Pierluigi; Peng, Chen
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed most countries to an unexpected crisis, with unclear consequences for citizens’ trust in others and in public authorities. This study shed lights on how social and political trust changed during the pandemic. We conducted a longitudinal survey in the US of about 1000 respondents at three points in time during the pandemic. We elicited respondents’ trust towards other people and towards different institutional authorities, along with attribution of responsibility for the current situation. Results show that institutional trust fell, while interpersonal trust slightly increased, especially during the peak of the first pandemic wave. This dynamic was mainly driven by Republicans, whose institutional trust decreased, especially when exposed to COVID-19, along with growth in social trust. Considering that Republicans attributed, at the time, more responsibilities to their political leader, we argue that institutional trust was crowded out by social trust. Disappointed voters felt unprotected by institutions and looked for support elsewhere in society. Consistent with this, though, in the reverse direction, experimental results from the third wave show that Republicans increased institutional trust. However, social trust fell when primed with positive information about the pandemic. Overall, these findings suggest that societal shocks may induce people to exchange formal with informal institutions as a coping strategy, with social and political trust moving in opposite directions.
    Date: 2022–01–27
  7. By: Devesh Rustagi (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Does self-governance, a hallmark of democratic societies, foster or erode norms of generalized cooperation? Does this effect persist, and if so, why? I investigate these questions using a natural experiment in Switzerland. In the middle-ages, the absence of an heir resulted in the extinction of a prominent noble dynasty. As a result, some Swiss municipalities became self-governing, whereas the others remained under feudalism for another 600 years. Evidence from a behavioral experiment, World Values Survey, and Swiss Household Panel consistently shows that individuals from historically self-governing municipalities exhibit stronger norms of cooperation today. Referenda data on voter-turnout, women’s suffrage, and minority citizenship, allow me to trace these effects on individually costly and socially beneficial actions for over 150 years. Furthermore, norms of cooperation map into prosocial behaviors like charitable giving and environmental protection. Uniquely, Switzerland tracks every family’s place of origin in registration data, which I use to demonstrate persistence from cultural transmission in a context of historically low migration.
    Keywords: Self-governance, norms of cooperation, cultural transmission, referendum, public goods game, Switzerland
    Date: 2022–04
  8. By: Ding, S.; Dziubinski, M.; Goyal, S.
    Abstract: A recurring theme in the study of society is the concentration of influence and power that is driven through unequal membership of groups and associations. In some instances these bodies constitute a small world while in others they are fragmented into distinct cliques. This paper presents a new model of clubs and networks to understand the sources of individual marginalization and the origins of different club networks. In our model, individuals seek to become members of clubs while clubs wish to have members. Club value is increasing in its size and in the strength of ties with other clubs. We show that a stable membership profile exhibits marginalization of individuals and that this is generally not welfare maximizing. Our second result shows that if returns from strength of ties are convex (concave) then stable memberships support fragmented networks with strong ties (small worlds held together by weak ties). We illustrate the value of these theoretical results through case studies of inter-locking directorates, boards of editors of journals, and defence and R&D alliances.
    Date: 2021–10–25
  9. By: Patricia Justino
    Abstract: The main aim of this paper is to explore theoretically important mechanisms through which economic inequalities may affect the emergence of political violence given the forms of social mobilization they (may) generate. The paper identifies and explores two mechanisms under which social mobilization in unequal societies may result in either non-violent or violent collective action and, ultimately, in violent conflict. The first condition is the level of social cooperation between different social groups that are formed during the process of social mobilization.
    Keywords: Inequality, Political violence, Social mobilization, Collective action, cooperation
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Hövermann, Andreas; Kohlrausch, Bettina; Voss-Dahm, Dorothea
    Abstract: When anti-democratic attitudes find great popular acclaim, it is time to sit up and take notice: people are turning away from the democratic system and no longer put their trust in the political and social rules and instances that organise and structure societal coexistence. As a result, social cohesion and the acceptance of democratic decisions come under increasing pressure. And yet a stable democracy is particularly important at a time in which the "three Ds" - decarbonisation, digitalisation, demography - are challenging German society and triggering change. So how widespread are anti-democratic attitudes and how is the connection between social circumstances and democratic integration during times of announced and actual change processes? How do perceptions and experience resulting from gainful employment influence anti-democratic attitudes? We have taken the evaluations of a representative public opinion poll to show that people in objectively precarious circumstances are denied access to opportunities for participation and for shaping their own lives also in view of external changes. Subjective perception also plays a role in anti-democratic attitudes: the lack of recognition is experienced as devaluation of one's own social and professional status. Anti-democratic attitudes are also closely linked to the fear and experience of getting left behind by social change processes such as digital or socioecological transformation.
    Date: 2022

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