nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Medication against Conflict By Andrea Berlanda; Matteo Cervellati; Elena Esposito; Dominic Rohner; Uwe Sunde
  2. Social Networks and Spatial Mobility: Evidence from Facebook in India By Harshil Sahai; Mike Bailey
  3. Clustering Drives Cooperation on Reputation Networks, All Else Fixed By Tamas David-Barrett
  4. Covid-19 and Pro-Sociality: How Do Donors Respond to Local Pandemic Severity, Increased Salience, and Media Coverage? By Maja Adena; Julian Harke
  5. Trust Predicts Compliance with COVID-19 Containment Policies: Evidence from Ten Countries Using Big Data By Sarracino, Francesco; Greyling, Talita; O'Connor, Kelsey J.; Peroni, Chiara; Rossouw, Stephanié
  6. Dads and Daughters: Disentangling Altruism and Investment Motives for Spending on Children By Rebecca Dizon-Ross; Seema Jayachandran
  7. Reducing Sexual-Orientation Discrimination: Experimental Evidence from Basic Information Treatments By Cevat Giray Aksoy; Christopher S. Carpenter; Ralph de Haas; Mathias Dolls; Lisa Windsteiger

  1. By: Andrea Berlanda; Matteo Cervellati; Elena Esposito; Dominic Rohner; Uwe Sunde
    Abstract: The consequences of successful public health interventions for social violence and conflict are largely unknown. This paper closes this gap by evaluating the effect of a major health intervention – the successful expansion of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic – in Africa. To identify the effect, we combine exogenous variation in the scope for treatment and global variation in drug prices. We find that the ART expansion significantly reduced the number of violent events in African countries and sub-national regions. The effect pertains to social violence and unrest, not civil war. The evidence also shows that the effect is not explained by general improvements in economic prosperity, but related to health improvements, greater approval of government policy, and increased trust in political institutions. Results of a counterfactual simulation reveal the largest potential gains in countries with intermediate HIV prevalence where disease control has been given relatively low priority.
    Keywords: HIV, conflict, social violence, ART expansion, trust, Africa, health intervention, domestic violence
    JEL: C36 D47 I15 O10
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Harshil Sahai; Mike Bailey
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of social networks in spatial mobility across India. Using aggregated and de-identified data from the world's largest online social network, we (i) document new descriptive findings on the structure of social networks and spatial mobility in India; (ii) quantify the effects of social networks on annual migration choice; and (iii) embed these estimates in a spatial equilibrium model to study the wage implications of increasing social connectedness. Across millions of individuals, we find that multiple measures of social capital are concentrated among the rich and educated and among migrants. Across destinations, both mobility patterns and social networks are concentrated toward richer areas. A model of migration suggests individuals are indifferent between a 10% increase in destination wages and a 12-16% increase in destination social networks. Accounting for networks reduces the migration-distance relationship by 19%. In equilibrium, equalizing social networks across locations improves average wages by 3% (24% for the bottom wage-quartile), a larger impact than removing the marginal cost of distance. We find evidence of an economic support mechanism, with destination economic improvements reducing the migration-network elasticity. We also find suggestive evidence for an emotional support mechanism from qualitative surveys among Facebook users. Difference-in-difference estimates suggest college attendance delivers a 20% increase in network size and diversity. Taken together, our data suggest that - by reducing effective moving costs - increasing social connectedness across space may have considerable economic gains.
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Tamas David-Barrett
    Abstract: Reputation-based cooperation on social networks offers a causal mechanism between graph properties and social trust. Recent papers on the `structural microfoundations` of the society used this insight to show how demographic processes, such as falling fertility, urbanisation, and migration, can alter the logic of human societies. This paper demonstrates the underlying mechanism in a way that is accessible to scientists not specialising in networks. Additionally, the paper shows that, when the size and degree of the network is fixed (i.e., all graphs have the same number of agents, who all have the same number of connections), it is the clustering coefficient that drives differences in how cooperative social networks are.
    Date: 2022–03
  4. By: Maja Adena; Julian Harke
    Abstract: Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected pro-sociality among individuals? After the onset of the pandemic, many charitable appeals were updated to include a reference to COVID-19. Did donors increase their giving in response to such changes? In order to answer these questions, we conducted a real-donation online experiment with more than 4,200 participants from 149 local areas in England and over 21 weeks. First, we varied the fundraising appeal to either include or exclude a reference to COVID-19. We found that including the reference to COVID-19 in the appeal increased donations. Second, in a natural experiment-like approach, we studied how the relative local severity of the pandemic and media coverage about local COVID-19 severity affected giving in our experiment. We found that both higher local severity and more related articles increased giving of participants in the respective areas. This holds for different specifications, including specifications with location fixed effects, time fixed effects, a broad set of individual characteristics to account for a potentially changing composition of the sample over time and to account for health- and work-related experiences with and expectations regarding the pandemic. While negative experiences with COVID-19 correlate negatively with giving, both approaches led us to conclude that the pure effect of increased salience of the pandemic on pro-sociality is positive. Despite the shift in public attention toward the domestic fight against the pandemic and away from developing countries’ challenges, we found that preferences did not shift toward giving more to a national project and less to developing countries.
    Keywords: Covid-19, charitable giving, online experiments, natural experiments
    JEL: C93 D64 D12
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Sarracino, Francesco (STATEC Research – National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies); Greyling, Talita (University of Johannesburg); O'Connor, Kelsey J. (STATEC Research – National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies); Peroni, Chiara (STATEC Research – National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies); Rossouw, Stephanié (Auckland University of Technology)
    Abstract: Previous evidence indicates trust is an important correlate of compliance with COVID-19 containment policies. However, this conclusion hinges on two crucial assumptions: first, that compliance does not change over time, and second, that mobility or self-reported measures are good proxies for compliance. This study is the first to use a time-varying measure of compliance to study the relationship between compliance and trust in others and institutions over the period from March 2020 to January 2021 in ten mostly European countries. We calculate a time-varying measure of compliance as the association between containment policies and people's mobility behavior using data from the Oxford Policy Tracker and Google. Additionally, we develop measures of trust in others and national institutions by applying emotion analysis to Twitter data. We test the predictive role of our trust measures using various panel estimation techniques. Our findings demonstrate that compliance does change over time and that increasing (decreasing) trust in others predicts increasing (decreasing) compliance. This evidence indicates compliance should not be taken for granted, and confirms the importance of cultivating trust in others. Nurturing trust in others, through ad-hoc policies such as community activity programs and urban design to facilitate social interactions, can foster compliance with public policies.
    Keywords: compliance, COVID-19, trust, big data, Twitter
    JEL: D91 I18 H12
    Date: 2022–03
  6. By: Rebecca Dizon-Ross; Seema Jayachandran
    Abstract: This paper tests whether mothers and fathers differ in their spending on their daughters relative to their sons. We compare mothers’ and fathers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for specific goods for their children, diverging from the previous literature’s approach of comparing the expenditure effects of mothers’ versus fathers’ income. Our method, which we apply in Uganda, allows us to estimate gender differences and explore mechanisms with greater precision. A second innovation is that we examine why spending patterns differ between mothers and fathers, e.g., altruism, personal returns to investing in children. We find that fathers have a lower WTP for their daughters’ human capital than their sons’ human capital, whereas mothers do not. We also find evidence that altruism plays a role in the mother-father differences: fathers’ WTP for goods that simply bring joy to their daughters is lower than their WTP for such goods for their sons, but mothers’ is not.
    JEL: J13 J16
    Date: 2022–04
  7. By: Cevat Giray Aksoy; Christopher S. Carpenter; Ralph de Haas; Mathias Dolls; Lisa Windsteiger
    Abstract: We study basic information treatments regarding sexual orientation using randomized experiments in three countries with strong and widespread anti-gay attitudes: Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Participants who received information about the economic costs to society of sexual-orientation discrimination were significantly more likely than those in a control group to support equal employment opportunities based on sexual orientation. Information that the World Health Organization (WHO) does not regard homosexuality as a mental illness increased social acceptance of sexual minorities, but only for those who reported trust in the WHO. Our results have important implications for policy makers aiming to expand the rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people worldwide.
    Keywords: sexual minorities, information treatments, discrimination, attitudes
    JEL: D91 J16 J71 O15
    Date: 2022

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