nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒03‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Social Networks and (Political) Assimilation in the Age of Mass Migration By Biavaschi, Costanza; Giulietti, Corrado; Zenou, Yves
  2. Uncooperative Society, Uncooperative Politics or Both? Trust, Polarisation, Populism and COVID-19 Deaths across European regions By Nicholas Charron; Victor Lapuente; Andres Rodriguez-Pose
  3. Measuring reciprocity: double sampling, concordance, and network construction By Ready, Elspeth; Power, Eleanor
  4. Media Trust and Persuasion By Kitamura, Shuhei; Kuroda, Toshifumi
  5. Comparing data gathered in an online and a laboratory experiment using the Trustlab platform By Nobuyuki Hanaki; Takayuki Hoshino; Kohei Kubota; Fabrice Murtin; Masao Ogaki; Fumio Ohtake; Naoko Okuyama
  6. Cooperation, fairness and civic capital after an earthquake: Evidence from two Italian regions By Righi, Simone; , Francesca; Giardini, Francesca
  7. Demanding the Morally Demanding: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Moral Arguments and Moral Demandingness on Charitable Giving By Ben Grodeck; Philipp Schoenegger
  8. How Pandemic-Related Changes in Global Attitudes Toward the Scientific Community Shape “Post-Pandemic” Environmental Opinion By Motta, Matt; Benegal, Salil D
  9. Orchestrating coordination among humanitarian organizations By Ruesch, Lea; Tarakci, Murat; Besiou, Maria; Van Quaquebeke, Niels
  10. The Influence of Signs of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior: A Field Experiment By Callaghan, Bennett; Delgadillo, Quinton Michael; Kraus, Michael W.

  1. By: Biavaschi, Costanza; Giulietti, Corrado; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal pathways through which ethnic social networks influence individual naturalization. Using the complete-count Census of 1930, we digitize information on the exact residence of newly arrived immigrants in New York City. This allows us to define networks with a granularity detail that was not used before for historical data - the Census block - and therefore to overcome issues of spatial sorting. By matching individual observations with the complete-count Census of 1940, we estimate the impact that the exogenous fraction of naturalized co-ethnics in the network observed in 1930 has on the probability of immigrants to acquire citizenship a decade later. Our results indicate that the concentration of naturalized co-ethnics in the network positively affects individual naturalization and that this relationship operates through one main channel: information dissemination. Indeed, immigrants who live among naturalized co-ethnics are more likely to naturalize because they have greater access to critical information about the benefits and procedures of naturalization.
    Keywords: Social networks,assimilation,naturalization,migration
    JEL: J61 J62 N32 Z1
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Nicholas Charron; Victor Lapuente; Andres Rodriguez-Pose
    Abstract: Why have some territories performed better than others in the fight against COVID-19? This paper uses a novel dataset on excess mortality, trust and political polarization for 165 European regions to explore the role of social and political divisions in the remarkable regional differences in excess mortality during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we investigate whether regions characterized by a low social and political trust witnessed a higher excess mortality. Second, we argue that it is not only levels, but also polarisation in trust among citizens – in particular, between government supporters and non-supporters – what matters for understanding why people in some regions have adopted more pro-healthy behaviour. Third, we explore the partisan make-up of regional parliaments and the relationship between political division – or what we refer to as ‘uncooperative politics’. We hypothesize that the ideological positioning – in particular those that lean more populist – and ideological polarization among political parties is also linked to higher mortality. Accounting for a host of potential confounders, we find robust support that regions with lower levels of both social and political trust are associated with higher excess mortality, along with citizen polarization in institutional trust in some models. On the ideological make-up regional parliaments, we find that, ceteris paribus, those that lean more ‘tan’ on the ‘gal-tan’ spectrum yielded higher excess mortality. Moreover, although we find limited evidence of elite polarization driving excess deaths on the left-right or gal-tan spectrums, partisan differences on the attitudes towards the EU demonstrated significantly higher deaths, which we argue proxies for (anti)populism. Overall, we find that both lower citizen-level trust and populist elite-level ideological characteristics of regional parliaments are associated with higher excess mortality in European regions during the first wave of the pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19; trust, polarization, populism, regions
    JEL: E02 H75 R58
    Date: 2022–01
  3. By: Ready, Elspeth; Power, Eleanor
    Abstract: Reciprocity - the mutual provisioning of support/goods - is a pervasive feature of social life. Directed networks provide a way to examine the structure of reciprocity in a community. However, measuring social networks involves assumptions about what relationships matter and how to elicit them, which may impact observed reciprocity. In particular, the practice of aggregating multiple sources of data on the same relationship (e.g., double-sampled data, where both the giver and receiver are asked to report on their relationship) may have pronounced impacts on network structure. To investigate these issues, we examine concordance (ties reported by both parties) and reciprocity in a set of directed, double-sampled social support networks. We find low concordance in people's responses. Taking either the union (including any reported ties) or the intersection (including only concordant ties) of double-sampled relationships results in dramatically higher levels of reciprocity. Using multilevel exponential random graph models of social support networks from 75 villages in India, we show that these changes cannot be fully explained by the increase in the number of ties produced by layer aggregation. Respondents' tendency to name the same people as both givers and receivers of support plays an important role, but this tendency varies across contexts and relationships type. We argue that no single method should necessarily be seen as the correct choice for aggregation of multiple sources of data on a single relationship type. Methods of aggregation should depend on the research question, the context, and the relationship in question.
    Keywords: social networks; reciprocity; concordance; double sampling; informant accuracy; PLR-1303874; IBSS-143019; 752-2010-1089
    JEL: C1
    Date: 2021–12–12
  4. By: Kitamura, Shuhei; Kuroda, Toshifumi
    Abstract: This study examines the effect of media use on media trust and persuasion using a large-scale randomized field experiment, which was conducted in collaboration with the nation's most trusted media outlet. By randomly increasing the capacity for viewing its TV programs, we found that this treatment increased support for government policies by increasing program viewing time, which is, as we demonstrate, biased in favor of the government. Furthermore, we determined that the effect is driven mostly by those who trusted the outlet more than other broadcasters and that their levels of trust in the outlet were even *increased* by our treatment, which we call *endogenous persuasion*. By contrast, we did not discover heterogeneous effects with respect to political preferences. To better understand the mechanism underlying these findings, we developed a model of endogenous persuasion.
    Date: 2021–11–16
  5. By: Nobuyuki Hanaki; Takayuki Hoshino; Kohei Kubota; Fabrice Murtin; Masao Ogaki; Fumio Ohtake; Naoko Okuyama
    Abstract: This paper compares the results of an experiment conducted both in the laboratory and online with participants recruited from the same subject pool using the Trustlab platform. This platform has been used to obtain incentivized and internationally comparable behavioral economics measures of altruism, cooperation, reciprocity, trust, and trustworthiness, employing representative samples in many countries. We find no significant difference between the results from sessions conducted in the laboratory and online. While the existing literature shows that the choice between laboratory and online experiments can cause differences in results in some cases, our findings support the hypothesis that they do not cause differences in the behavioral economics measures when using the Trustlab platform.
    Date: 2022–03
  6. By: Righi, Simone; , Francesca; Giardini, Francesca
    Abstract: Natural disasters put an enormous strain on civic capital, which can result in a decrease in trust and cooperation in the affected communities. However, the existing level of civic capital can buffer the effects of the disaster, determining completely different dynamics even in neighboring regions. In order to investigate the determinants of long-term resilience to natural disasters, we designed a 2x2 lab in the field experiments conducted in Marche and Emilia-Romagna, two Italian regions that were affected by major earthquakes in 2016 and 2012, respectively. We collected data in neighboring and comparable municipalities that were affected or not by earthquakes and we compared inhabitants’ prosocial choices in a Public Good Game and a Distribution game. Our results show that people affected by the earthquake were more prosocial in general, while at the individual level the effect of the earthquake is present only in people who suffered material damage via their increased desire for redistribution. We also show that civic capital was not different among regions or among people living inside or outside the earthquake area.
    Date: 2022–02–16
  7. By: Ben Grodeck (Monash University, Department of Economics); Philipp Schoenegger (University of St Andrews, School of Economics and Finance & School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies)
    Abstract: What are the effects of confronting people with moral arguments and morally demanding statements to perform certain actions, such as donating to charity? To investigate this question, we conduct an online randomized experiment via Prolific (n=2500) where participants can donate to charity. Using a between-subject design, we provide some participants with a moral argument as to why they should donate. We then add a single sentence on top of the moral argument that expresses and varies moral demandingness at different levels. In a follow-up experiment (n=1200) we provide the moral argument and demandingness via an external party’s website—the non-profit Giving What We Can. In both experiments, we find that moral arguments significantly increase both the frequency and amount of donations compared to the control. However, we fail to find evidence that increasing the level of the moral demandingness affects donation behavior in either experiment. Our findings suggest that charities should employ moral arguments to increase giving, but not morally demanding statements.
    Keywords: Charitable Giving, Experiment, Morality, Obligation, Pro-Social Behavior
    JEL: D64 D91 H41 C90
    Date: 2022–03
  8. By: Motta, Matt (Oklahoma State University); Benegal, Salil D
    Abstract: Low public concern about anthropogenic climate change (ACC) – due in part to distrust toward the global scientific community – may decrease demand for policies aimed at mitigating and adapting to the deleterious effects of climate change. Encouragingly, though, recent public opinion research suggests that experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated trust in scientific expertise worldwide. Consequently, amid the suffering associated with global pandemic, one “silver lining” might be that trust in the scientific community attributable to COVID-19 pandemic response is spilling over to increase public acceptance of other contentious aspects of scientific consensus: such as the reality of ACC. We explore this possibility by turning to globally-representative survey data from 111 countries (N = 119,088) conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. We show that trust medical experts’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with increased acceptance of ACC, worldwide. These findings hold even when accounting for individuals’ broader trust in the scientific community, and therefore do not appear to be confounded by more-general orientations toward science. Problematically, though, we also show that effect of trust in medical professionals is strongest in countries experiencing the most positive change in attitudes toward the scientific community, which we demonstrate (via multivariate country-level analyses) tend to be disproportionately wealthy, and perhaps less likely to bear the deleterious and unequal effects of ACC. We conclude by discussing how this work helps elucidate the role of pandemic psychology on “post-pandemic life,” and discuss the potentially-far-reaching benefits of improving trust in medical institutions in the developing world.
    Date: 2022–02–08
  9. By: Ruesch, Lea; Tarakci, Murat; Besiou, Maria; Van Quaquebeke, Niels
    Abstract: Disasters mobilize hundreds of organizations, but coordination among them remains a challenge. This is why the United Nations has formed clusters to facilitate information and resource exchange among humanitarian organizations. Yet, coordination failures in prior disasters raise questions as to the effectiveness of the cluster approach in coordinating relief efforts. To better understand barriers to coordination, we developed a grounded theory and augmented the theory with an agent-based simulation. Our theory discerns a cluster lead's roles of facilitating coordination, but also investing in its own ground operations. We find that specifically serving such a dual role impairs swift trust and consequent coordination among cluster members. The additional simulation findings generalize the detrimental effect of the cluster lead's dual role versus a pure facilitator role and specify it against various boundary conditions.
    Keywords: agent-based simulations; coordination; humanitarian operations; interorganizational relationships; leadership; localization; resource disparity; swift trust
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2022–01–03
  10. By: Callaghan, Bennett; Delgadillo, Quinton Michael; Kraus, Michael W. (Yale University)
    Abstract: A field experiment (N = 4,537) examined how signs of social class influence prosocial behavior. In the experiment, pedestrians were exposed to a target wearing symbols of relatively high or low social class in two major urban cities in the USA who was presumably requesting money to help the homeless. Pedestrians gave more than twice (2.55 times) as much to the target wearing high social class symbols than they did to the one wearing lower-class symbols. A follow-up perceptual study exposed participants to images of this panhandler wearing the same higher- or lower-class symbols, finding that higher-class symbols elicited perceptions of elevated competence, trustworthiness, similarity to the self, and perceived humanity compared to lower-class symbols. These results indicate that perceivers use visible signs of social class as a basis for judging others’ traits and attributes, and in decisions to directly share resources. (Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality Working Paper)
    Date: 2022–02–17

This nep-soc issue is ©2022 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.
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