nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒06‒20
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Origins of Elite Persistence: Evidence from Political Purges in post-World War II France By Aidt, T.; Lacroix, J.; Meonx, P-E.
  2. Online Political Debates By Leonardo D'Amico; Guido Tabellini
  3. The making of civic virtues: a school-based experiment in three countries By Simon Briole; Marc Gurgand; Eric Maurin; Sandra McNally; Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela; Daniel Santin
  4. Prosocial motivation for vaccination By Reddinger, J. Lucas; Charness, Gary; Levine, David
  5. The Interplay between Organizational Structure, Culture and Employees’ Socio-Emotional Skills within Their Social Capital By Koohborfardhaghighi, Somayeh; Altmann, Jörn; Heshmati, Almas
  6. Land restitution and selective violence: Evidence from Colombia By Lucas Marín Llanes; Mauricio Velásquez; María Alejandra Vélez
  7. Disentangling material, social, and cognitive determinants of human behavior and beliefs By Tverskoi, Denis; Guido, Andrea; Andrighetto, Giulia; Sánchez, Angel; Gavrilets, Sergey
  8. Brazil’s Bolsa Familia: Neighborhood and Racial Group Networks By Marcelo Arbex; Jessica Faciroli; Ricardo da Silva Freguglia; Marcel de Toledo Vieira
  9. The Labour Supply of Mothers By Turon, Hélène

  1. By: Aidt, T.; Lacroix, J.; Meonx, P-E.
    Abstract: This paper studies a new mechanism that allows political elites from a non-democratic regime to survive a democratic transition: connections. We document this mechanism in the transition from the Vichy regime to democracy in post-World War II France. The parliamentarians who had supported the Vichy regime were purged in a two-stage process where each case was judged twice by two different courts. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we show that Law graduates, a powerful social group in French politics with strong connections to one of the two courts, had a clearance rate that was 10 percentage points higher than others. This facilitated the persistence of that elite group. A systematic analysis of 17,589 documents from the defendants' dossiers is consistent with the hypothesis that the connections of Law graduates to one of the two courts were a major driver of their ability to avoid the purge. We consider and rule out alternative mechanisms.
    Keywords: Purges, Political transitions, Elite persistence, Connections
    JEL: D73 K40 N44 P48
    Date: 2022–05–18
  2. By: Leonardo D'Amico; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: We study how individuals comment on political news posted on Reddit’s main political forum during the 2016 US Presidential Election. We present two main findings. First, opposite partisan users comment on the same news sources, but on different news. Second, partisan users behave very differently from independents if the news is bad for a candidate. Compared to independents, partisan comments on bad news are less frequent on the own candidate, and more frequent on the opponent. The content of the comments also suggests that partisan users are less likely to accept bad news on their candidate, and more likely on the opponent. This behavior is consistent with motivated reasoning, and with the predictions of a model of rational inattention where the cost of attention depends on whether the news is pleasant or unpleasant.
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Simon Briole; Marc Gurgand; Eric Maurin; Sandra McNally; Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela; Daniel Santin
    Abstract: With the rise of polarization and extremism, the question of how best to transmit civic virtues across generations is more acute than ever. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that schools can be the place for this transmission by empowering students and gathering them around concrete and democratically chosen objectives. We draw on an RCT implemented in a large sample of middle schools in three European countries. The evaluated program leads students to carry out collective citizenship projects in their immediate communities under the supervision of teachers trained in student-centered teaching methods. The program significantly increases student altruism, their political self-efficacy as well as the quality of their relationship with their classmates and their respect for the rules of school life (less sanctions and absenteeism). In all three countries, the benefits are greater for students with the highest level of altruism and interest in politics at baseline. Investments made at an early age appear to be complement to those made during adolescence for the production of civic virtues.
    Keywords: citizenship, education, teaching practices, project-based learning, RCT, youth
    Date: 2022–12
  4. By: Reddinger, J. Lucas (University of Wisconsin, La Crosse); Charness, Gary; Levine, David
    Abstract: Vaccination has both private and public benefits. We ask whether social preferences—concerns for the well-being of other people—influence one's decision regarding vaccination. We measure these social preferences for 549 online subjects: We give each subject \$4 to play a public-good game and make contributions to public welfare. To the extent that one gets vaccinated out of concern for the health of others, contribution in this game is analogous to an individual's decision to obtain vaccination. We collect COVID-19 vaccination history separately to avoid experimenter-demand effects. We find a strong result: Contribution in the public-good game is associated with greater demand to voluntarily receive a first dose, and thus also to vaccinate earlier. Compared to a subject who contributes nothing, one who contributes the maximum (\$4) is 48% more likely to obtain a first dose voluntarily in the four-month period that we study (April through August 2021). People who are more pro-social are indeed more likely to take a voluntary COVID-19 vaccination.
    Date: 2022–04–23
  5. By: Koohborfardhaghighi, Somayeh (Deloitte FAS LLP); Altmann, Jörn (Seoul National University); Heshmati, Almas (Jönköping University, Sogang University)
    Abstract: Organization theorists identify organizational social capital as one of the primary building blocks of a potentially powerful resource for improving organizational performance. However, little is known about the impact of the socio-emotional skills of the employees within their social capital and its relationship with other important organizational constructs such as organizational culture and structure. This study is the first to develop an integrated model which in addition to existing organizational constructs (i.e., organizational culture and structure) explicitly accounts for the influence of the social tolerance of employees (i.e., an example of socio-emotional skills within a workplace) on their happiness. In our model, the concept of employee’s socio-emotional skill cannot be measured directly. Therefore, we developed two latent hypothetical sub-constructs and we refer to them throughout this paper as social capital (i.e., which at the micro-level points to the interactions and socializations of the employees) and social tolerance (i.e., social tolerance towards others’ social status), each of which is measured by its observable indicators. We apply our model to empirical data that we collected from East Asian Social Survey (EASS) only for the year 2012. The data was available for four East Asian countries of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China. Our analysis shows that even though the skill of social tolerance is not observed to increase happiness by itself, it has been observed to show a significant impact on the level of trust among employees. Trust among colleagues also in its own turn significantly impacts the employees’ level of happiness. This finding can be applied in empowering the cognitive dimension of social capital within an organization.
    Keywords: organizational culture, organizational structure, social capital, structural equation modeling, social tolerance, happiness, Southeast Asia
    JEL: C31 D20 J29 L22 M14
    Date: 2022–05
  6. By: Lucas Marín Llanes; Mauricio Velásquez; María Alejandra Vélez
    Abstract: Designing victims' reparation policies and solving agrarian disputes are fundamental aspects to build peace after a civil conflict. In 2014, a ceasefire with the oldest Latin-American guerrilla took place in Colombia and a peace agreement was signed in 2016. The Land Restitution Policy (LRP) oriented to restore property rights of forcibly displaced victims was one of the peacebuilding and victims' reparation policies. In this paper, we explored the effect of the LRP on violence against social leaders. These actors represent the interests of their communities, oppose the expansion of illicit activities in their territories and are guarantors of informal property rights in most of Colombian rural areas. In this article we determined whether or not a comprehensive intervention, such as the LRP, had community spillover effects in social leaders' exposure to violence. We showed that the LRP significantly reduced the killing of social leaders. Yet, the effect depends on both the intensity of the policy's implementation and its interaction with improved territorial security conditions. Our results suggested a reduced rate of killing of social leaders in municipalities in which LRP was more intense (measured by the number of active processes registered in the program) after the ceasefire with the FARC. In absence of the LRP, after the ceasefire with FARC, the rate of killing of social leaders would have been 1.8 times higher. We explained our findings by an improvement of socioeconomic conditions, an increase in trust within beneficiaries' communities, and the design of a security intelligence mechanism implemented within the policy.
    Keywords: Land restitution, victims, armed conflict, peace agreement, selective violence
    JEL: D74 H50 I38 Q15
    Date: 2022–05–27
  7. By: Tverskoi, Denis; Guido, Andrea (Institute for Futures Studies); Andrighetto, Giulia; Sánchez, Angel; Gavrilets, Sergey
    Abstract: In social interactions, human decision-making, attitudes, and beliefs about others coevolve. Their dynamics are affected by cost-benefit considerations, cognitive processes (such as cognitive dissonance, social projecting, and logic constraints), and social influences by peers (via descriptive and injunctive social norms) and by authorities (e.g., educational, cultural, religious, political, administrative, individual or group, real or fictitious). Here we attempt to disentangle some of this complexity by using an integrative mathematical modeling and a 35-day online behavioral experiment. We utilize data from a Common Pool Resources experiment with or without messaging promoting a group-beneficial level of resource extraction. We first show that our model provides a better fit than a wide variety of alternative models. Then we directly estimate the weights of different factors in decision-making and beliefs dynamics. We show that material payoffs accounted only for about 20\% of decision-making. The remaining 80\% was due to different cognitive and social forces which we evaluated quantitatively. Without messaging, personal norms (and cognitive dissonance) have the largest weight in decision-making. Messaging greatly influences personal norms and normative expectations. Between-individual variation is present in all measured characteristics and notably impacts observed group behavior. At the same time, gender differences are not significant. We argue that one can hardly understand social behavior without understanding the dynamics of personal beliefs and beliefs about others and that cognitive, social, and material factors all play important roles in these processes. Our results have implications for understanding and predicting social processes triggered by certain shocks (e.g., social unrest, a pandemic, or a natural disaster) and for designing policy interventions aiming to change behavior (e.g. actions aimed at environment protection or climate change mitigation).
    Date: 2022–05–05
  8. By: Marcelo Arbex (Department of Economics, University of Windsor); Jessica Faciroli (Department of Economics, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil); Ricardo da Silva Freguglia (Department of Economics, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil); Marcel de Toledo Vieira (Department of Statistics, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil)
    Abstract: Are families that live in the same neighborhood and share similar characteristics more likely to participate in welfare programs? Using a unique administrative data set, we study beneficiaries of the Bolsa Familia - the Brazilian cash transfer program - from 2013 to 2015. We analyze data containing information on the living conditions of the most vulnerable families, such as income, household characteristics, schooling, and disability. An eight-digit zip code defines a neighborhood. Families form a network if they live in the same neighborhood and belong to the same racial group. We provide evidence that place of residence and racial group networks are important determinants of the family participation in the program. Individuals in a neighborhood-racial group network are 6.5% more likely to participate in the Bolsa Familia. We conduct several robustness checks - controlling for family unobserved characteristics, network density and coverage (percentiles) distributions - to further qualify our results.
    Keywords: Social Program Participation, Social Network, Neighborhood, Race Composition, Bolsa Familia Program, Brazil.
    JEL: I38 H53
    Date: 2022–06
  9. By: Turon, Hélène (University of Bristol)
    Abstract: This chapter surveys recent literature on the drivers of mothers’ labour supply in OECD countries. We present a number of facts on the variations across time and across countries of family composition and mothers’ employment. We aim to answer key questions on their decision to return to work after childbirth: How is the decision taken within the household? What are the contemporaneous and longer term determinants of this decision? What other lifecycle choices are interrelated with the labour supply choice? How do social norms and policy influence this decision? What role is there for policy to play in households’ decision regarding mothers’ participation in the labour force? We aim to summarise the main results from recent research on these questions. We will see that there are large variations in the policy choices made in different countries, which may reflect both the difficulty of designing an optimal mix of policies and the diversity of societies’ perceptions of women combining motherhood and career.
    Keywords: labour force participation, hours of work, children, collective model, wages, childcare, social norms
    JEL: J12 J22 J38
    Date: 2022–05

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