nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒06‒27
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Urban Sprawl and Social Capital: Evidence from Indonesian Cities By Andrea Civelli; Arya Gaduh; Alexander D. Rothenberg; Yao Wang
  2. Hindsight Bias and Trust in Government: Evidence from the United States By Herz, Holger; Kistler, Deborah; Zehnder, Christian; Zihlmann, Christian
  3. Income Losses, Cash Transfers and Trust in Financial and Political Institutions: Survey Evidence from the Covid-19 Crisis By Giovanni Immordino; Tommaso Oliviero; Alberto Zazzaro
  4. Parental Separation and the Formation of Economic Preferences By Sarah C. Dahmann; Nathan Kettlewell; Jack Lam
  5. Group identity and betrayal: decomposing trust By Polipciuc, Maria
  6. Commuting to Work and Gender-Conforming Social Norms: Evidence from Same-Sex Couples By Oreffice, Sonia; Sansone, Dario
  7. Tubers and its Role in Historic Political Fragmentation in Africa By Obikili, Nonso
  8. Group reciprocity and the evolution of stereotyping By Alexander J. Stewart; Nichola Raihani

  1. By: Andrea Civelli; Arya Gaduh; Alexander D. Rothenberg; Yao Wang
    Abstract: We use detailed data from Indonesian cities to study how variation in density within urban areas affects social capital. For identification, we instrument density with soil characteristics, and control for community averages of observed characteristics. Under plausible assumptions, these controls address sorting on observables and unobservables. We find that lower density increases trust in neighbors and community participation. We also find that lower density is associated with lower interethnic tolerance, but this relationship is explained by sorting. Heterogeneity analysis suggests that crime in dense areas undermines community trust and participation, intensifying the negative impact of density.
    JEL: D71 H41 R11
    Date: 2022–05
  2. By: Herz, Holger; Kistler, Deborah (ETH Zurich); Zehnder, Christian (Université de Lausanne); Zihlmann, Christian
    Abstract: We empirically assess whether hindsight bias has consequences on how citizens evaluate their political actors. Using an incentivized elicitation technique, we demonstrate that people systematically misremember their past policy preferences regarding how to best fight the Covid-19 pandemic. At the peak of the first wave in the United States, the average respondent mistakenly believes they supported significantly stricter restrictions at the onset of the first wave than they actually did. Exogenous variation in the extent of hindsight bias, induced through random assignment to survey structures, allows us to show that hindsight bias causally reduces trust in government.
    Keywords: Hindsight bias; Trust in Government; Evaluation distortion; Biased Beliefs
    JEL: D72 D83 D91
    Date: 2022–06–03
  3. By: Giovanni Immordino (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF); Tommaso Oliviero (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF); Alberto Zazzaro (University of Naples Federico II, CSEF and MoFiR.)
    Abstract: Using a survey of Italian households, we find that large income losses suffered during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 are associated with a decline in trust towards political (i.e., Italian Central Government and the EU Parliament) and financial (i.e., ECB and Italian commercial banks) institutions in the management of the Covid-19. The decline is lower for households who received public transfers in the wake of the pandemic. Our results highlight that household exposure to economic losses if not compensated by government income support measures are an important determinant of mistrust in institutions for the management of an economic crisis.
    Keywords: Covid-19 crisis, trust in institutions, cash transfers.
    JEL: D12 D72 H53
    Date: 2022–05–30
  4. By: Sarah C. Dahmann; Nathan Kettlewell; Jack Lam
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of parental separation on the risk and trust attitudes of German adolescents using a large household survey dataset, which allows us to match respondents to their siblings and parents. Our results indicate that adolescents from separated families are less trusting but have the same risk tolerance as adolescents from non-separated families, even after conditioning on the attitudes of parents and other controls. This trust deficit persists into early adulthood. Moreover, for both trust and risk, we find that separation attenuates the transmission of preferences from father to child. Additional analyses point to reduced parental involvement and greater family conflict as potential mechanisms.
    Keywords: Family dissolution, divorce, preferences, risk, trust, intergenerational transmission
    JEL: J12 J13 D91 D81
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Polipciuc, Maria (ROA / Health, skills and inequality, RS: GSBE other - not theme-related research)
    Abstract: Betrayal aversion is an important factor in the decision to trust. Trust in members of one’s own social group (ingroup members) is often higher than that in members of other groups (outgroup members). In this paper, I study (i) how betrayal aversion contributes to in-/outgroup discrimination in trust and (ii) how this contribution evolves as social groups solidify.
    JEL: C72 C91 J15 J16
    Date: 2022–05–30
  6. By: Oreffice, Sonia (University of Exeter); Sansone, Dario (University of Exeter)
    Abstract: We assess the role of gender-conforming social norms in household decision-making and gender inequalities in the labor market with a parsimonious household model that endogenizes commuting time. Using the American Community Survey 2008-2019, we test the model predictions and find that women in same-sex couples have a longer commute to work than working women in different-sex couples, whereas the commute to work of men in same-sex couples is shorter than the one of working men in different-sex couples, even after controlling for demographic characteristics, partner’s characteristics, location, fertility, and marital status. These differences among men and women amount to 50%, and 100%, respectively, of the gender commuting gap estimated in the literature, and are particularly stark among married couples with children. Within-couple gaps in commuting time are also significantly smaller in same-sex couples, and labor supply disparities mimic the commuting ones. According to our model, these differences are interpreted as gender-conforming social norms leading women in different-sex couples into jobs with a shorter commute and fewer hours worked while their male partners/spouses hold jobs with a longer commute and more hours worked, thus reinforcing gender inequalities.
    Keywords: commute, household decisions, labor supply, LGBTQ+, specialization, travel time
    JEL: D10 J15 J16 J22 R20 R41
    Date: 2022–05
  7. By: Obikili, Nonso
    Abstract: This paper examines the link between historical political fragmentation and surplus agricultural production, and the impact of natural endowments with regards to crop suitability. I show that in sub-Saharan Africa, groups that cultivated tubers, specifically yams, were more likely to have higher levels of local political fragmentation. I show that both tubers and most cereals were positively correlated with historic population density and that there was no historic discrimination in the capacity of crops to produce surpluses and support large populations. I however show that unlike cereal cultivators who were more likely to be centralized, tuber cultivators were likely to have more local political fragmentation. I use crop suitability and the proximity to the area of the domestication of yams to show that cultivating yams did lead to more local political fragmentation. I argue that this is likely due to the biological properties of yams which make them more difficult to expropriate and implies that surpluses stay local. I argue that the experience of keeping surpluses local is associated with contemporary social norms that are against autocracy and unitary accumulation of power. These social norms are an example of the mechanism through which these historical institutional structures transmit to contemporary times.
    Keywords: Political Fragmentation; Agriculture; Social Norms; Africa
    JEL: D72 N47 N57 O10
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Alexander J. Stewart; Nichola Raihani
    Abstract: Stereotypes are generalized beliefs about groups of people, which are used to make decisions and judgments about them. Although such heuristics can be useful when decisions must be made quickly, or when information is lacking, they can also serve as the basis for prejudice and discrimination. In this paper we study the evolution of stereotypes through group reciprocity. We characterize the warmth of a stereotype as the willingness to cooperate with an individual based solely on the identity of the group they belong to. We show that when stereotypes are coarse, such group reciprocity is less likely to evolve, and stereotypes tend to be negative. We also show that, even when stereotypes are broadly positive, individuals are often overly pessimistic about the willingness of those they stereotype to cooperate. We then show that the tendency for stereotyping itself to evolve is driven by the costs of cognition, so that more people are stereotyped with greater coarseness as costs increase. Finally we show that extrinsic "shocks", in which the benefits of cooperation are suddenly reduced, can cause stereotype warmth and judgement bias to turn sharply negative, consistent with the view that economic and other crises are drivers of out-group animosity.
    Date: 2022–05

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