nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒04‒11
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The politicized pandemic: Ideological polarization and the behavioral response to COVID-19 By Grimalda, Gianluca; Murtin, Fabrice; Pipke, David; Putterman, Louis G.; Sutter, Matthias
  2. Revisiting the Effect of Trustworthy Face and Attractive Appearance on Trust and Trustworthiness Behavior By Ziyun Suo; Qinxin Guo; Junyi Shen
  3. Recidivism and neighborhood institutions: evidence from the rise of the evangelical church in Chile By Barrios-Fernandez, Andres; Garcia Hombrados, Jorge
  4. Selective Exposure Reduces Voluntary Contributions: Experimental Evidence From the German Internet Panel By Federico Innocenti; Linnéa Marie Rohde
  5. Impact of female peer composition on gender norm perceptions and skills formation in secondary school By Martina Querejeta
  6. Determinant of Social Norms By Voigt, Stefan

  1. By: Grimalda, Gianluca; Murtin, Fabrice; Pipke, David; Putterman, Louis G.; Sutter, Matthias
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between political attitudes and prosociality in a survey of a representative sample of the U.S. population during the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that an experimental measure of prosociality correlates positively with adherence to protective behaviors. Liberal political ideology predicts higher levels of protective behavior than conservative ideology, independently of the differences in prosociality across the two groups. Differences between liberals and conservatives are up to 4.4 times smaller in their behavior than in judging the government's crisis management. This result suggests that U.S. Americans are more polarized on ideological than behavioral grounds.
    Keywords: Polarization,Ideology,Trust in politicians,COVID-19,Prosociality,Health behavior,Worries
    JEL: D01 D72 D91 I12 I18 H11 H12
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Ziyun Suo (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University, JAPAN); Qinxin Guo (School of International Economics and Trade, Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, CHINA); Junyi Shen (Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, Kobe University, JAPAN)
    Abstract: In a trust game experiment with Chinese participants, we investigate the effects of trustworthy faces and attractive appearances on trust and trustworthiness behavior. The participants played the role of trustor and made decisions on how much money to transfer to their paired trustees while looking at the trustees' photos presented on a large screen. After that, the trustees decided how much money to return to their paired trustors. Results indicate that trust decisions are influenced by both a trustworthy face and an attractive appearance. In addition, a gender effect on trust decisions was found. Men are more trusting than women are, regardless of whether their counterparts are male or female. However, females are less likely to trust their male counterparts than female counterparts. Finally, it is observed that the trustees with a more attractive appearance are more likely to betray the trust they have, while this is not the case for those with more trustworthy faces.
    Keywords: Trustworthy face; Attractive appearance; Trust behavior; Trustworthiness behavior; Trust game experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 D63
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Barrios-Fernandez, Andres; Garcia Hombrados, Jorge
    Abstract: Rehabilitating convicted criminals is challenging; indeed, an important share of them return to prison only a few years after their release. Thus, finding effective ways of encouraging crime desistance, particularly among young individuals, has become an important policy goal to reduce crime and incarceration rates. This paper provides causal evidence that the local institutions of the neighborhood that receives young individuals after prison matter. Specifically, we show that the opening of an Evangelical church reduces twelve-months re-incarceration rates among property crime offenders by more than 10 percentage points. This effect represents a drop of 16% in the probability of returning to prison for this group of individuals. We find smaller and less precise effects for more severe types of crime. We discuss two classes of mechanisms that could explain our results: religiosity and social support. We provide evidence that the social support provided by evangelical churches is an important driver of our findings. This suggests that non-religious local institutions could also play an important role in the rehabilitation of former inmates.
    Keywords: crime desistance; recidivism; religion
    JEL: K42 H42 J40
    Date: 2021–05–21
  4. By: Federico Innocenti; Linnéa Marie Rohde
    Abstract: Can strategic information acquisition harm the provision of a public good? We investigate this question in an incentivized online experiment with a large and heterogeneous sample of the German population. The marginal returns of the public good are uncertain: it is either socially efficient to contribute or not. In the information treatment, participants can choose between two information sources with opposing biases. One source is more likely to report low marginal returns, whereas the other is more likely to report high marginal returns. Most participants select the source biased towards low marginal returns, independent of their prior beliefs. As a result, the information treatment significantly reduces contributions and increases free-riding. When contributing is socially efficient, the information treatment reduces social welfare by up to 5.3%. Moreover, social preferences affect information acquisition:socially-oriented participants are more likely to acquire information and to select the source that is biased towards low marginal returns. We corroborate our findings by showing that participants’ behavior in our experiment is consistent with their attitudes towards actual public goods.
    Keywords: Experiment, Information Avoidance, Limited Attention, Media Bias, Media Pluralism, Public Good, Selective Exposure, German Internet Panel
    JEL: D12 D61 D83 H41
    Date: 2022–03
  5. By: Martina Querejeta
    Abstract: This paper examines peer effects on students' gender norm perceptions and skills formation. I use a Uruguayan nationally representative survey of 9th grade students and exploit the quasi-random variation in the proportion of female peers across classes within schools for causal identification. Results show that a higher exposure to female peers in the class leads to more progressive gender norms. Furthermore, these effects in gender perceptions are driven mostly by male students.
    Keywords: Peer effect, Gender norms, Gender inequality, Developing countries
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Voigt, Stefan
    Abstract: It is now abundantly clear that social norms channel behavior and impact economic development. This insight leads to the question: How do social norms evolve? This survey examines research that relies on geography to explain the development of social norms, and suggests that religion and family organization are potential mediators. It turns out that many social norms are either directly or indirectly determined by geography and can, hence, be considered largely time invariant. Given that successful economic development presupposes the congruence between formal institutions and social norms, this insight is highly relevant for all policy interventions designed to facilitate economic development.
    Keywords: social norms,internal institutions,informal institutions,Institutional Economics,geography,religion,family
    JEL: A13 D90 K00 O10 Z10
    Date: 2022

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