nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒08‒08
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Armed conflict exposure and trust: Evidence from a natural experiment in Turkey By Arzu Kibris; Lena Gerling
  2. Trust, Violence, and Coca By Melissa Rubio-Ramos
  3. Forced displacement and social capital: long-run impact of the Indian partition By Prasad S. Bhattacharya; Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay
  4. Medication Against Conflict By Andrea Berlanda; Matteo Cervellati; Elena Esposito; Dominic Rohner; Uwe Sunde
  5. The Fragility of Urban Social Networks - Mobility as a City Glue - By Pierre Magontier, Maximilian v. Ehrlich, Markus Schläpfer
  6. Norm from the top: a social norm nudge to promote low-practiced behaviors without boomerang effect By Alix Rouillé
  7. Traditional Norms, Access to Divorce and Women's Empowerment By Bargain, Olivier; Loper, Jordan; Ziparo, Roberta
  8. Flow of Ideas: Economic Societies and the Rise of Useful Knowledge By Francesco Cinnirella; Erik Hornung; Julius Koschnick
  9. Diffusion of Innovation over Social Networks under Limited-trust Equilibrium By Vincent Leon; S. Rasoul Etesami; Rakesh Nagi
  10. Survey design and technical documentation supporting the 2021 OECD Survey on Drivers of Trust in Government Institutions By David Nguyen; Valérie Frey; Santiago González; Monica Brezzi
  11. Deep historical roots, culture choice and the New World Order By Miller, Marcus

  1. By: Arzu Kibris (University of Warwick); Lena Gerling (University of Muenster)
    Abstract: We study the individual-level effects of exposure to internal armed conflict on social capital, focusing on trust in institutions and in social relations. We introduce new data from a large-N field survey we conducted in Turkey in 2019, exploiting a natural experimental setting that is created by the military institutions and the geography of the long running civil conflict in the country. This setting allows us to identify and analyze the causal impacts of conflict exposure on trust assessments of our respondents in isolation from possible confoundment by conflict-related changes in the socio-economic environment. Results indicate heterogenous effects depending on the type of exposure. We find that while exposure to the conflict environment increases trust, those who directly experience violent events in that environment exhibit lower levels of trust. We document that the results are comparable for two different dimensions of trust, namely institutional trust and social trust. We then show that the effects transmit through exposure-induced changes in an individual’s worldviews. Our results highlight the legacies of internal conflicts on beliefs and behavior.
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Melissa Rubio-Ramos (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: "How does violence affect social capital? I argue that its impact depends on two factors: i) the ability to identify the perpetrating group, and ii) the intensity of the violence. These factors help to reconcile the seemingly contradictory effects of violence on social capital presented in the literature. I study this question in the context of Colombia by exploiting changes in violence attributed to cross-border shocks on coca markets in neighboring countries interacted with a novel index of suitability for coca cultivation. This index uses satellite data from ecological conditions for growing coca. I document that violence has a negative effect on social capital measures such as trust, participation in community organizations, and cooperation. Notably, this effect is stronger when it is not possible to identify the enemy. The results are robust to a large number of controls that account for potential confounders. In particular, I show evidence that this effect is not related to the presence of drug cartels in Colombia during the Escobar and Cali era."
    Keywords: Causal effects of violence, social capital, coca production, instrumental variables, Colombia
    JEL: C36 D74 N46 O54 Z10
    Date: 2022–07
  3. By: Prasad S. Bhattacharya (Deakin University); Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay (Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi)
    Abstract: We investigate whether the historical shock of the Indian Partition, one of the largest forced displacements in the twentieth century, affected social capital in affected parts of India in the long-run. India was partitioned in 1947 into India and Pakistan (East and West Pakistan). At this time, many Hindus and Sikhs migrated from Pakistan to India while Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. The Partition shock is measured as the proportion of "displaced" migrants in Indian districts in 1951 from census data. Using data from the World Health Organisation Survey on the Aged and Elderly conducted in six Indian states, we find that social capital is lower in districts that received more Partition migrants. The effect remains strongly robust to spatial robustness checks, contemporary differences in demographics and income, public goods provisions, literacy, urbanisation and the gender ratio. We find these effects are mediated through riots, community conflicts and violent crime that start from Partition sixty years ago and continue through to more recent times. Our study contributes to the understanding of large forced displacement events and their shadow on institutions-here social capital-over the long run.
    Keywords: partition, social capital
    Date: 2022–07
  4. By: Andrea Berlanda (University of Lausanne); Matteo Cervellati (University of Bologna and CEPR); Elena Esposito (University of Lausanne); Dominic Rohner (University of Lausanne, E4S and CEPR); Uwe Sunde (University Munich and CEPR)
    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: 2022–04
  5. By: Pierre Magontier, Maximilian v. Ehrlich, Markus Schläpfer
    Abstract: Social interactions are crucial to a city's cohesion, and the high frequency of interaction reflects many benefits of density. However, adverse environmental conditions, such as pollution or pandemics, may critically affect these interactions as they shift preferences over meeting locations and partners. Some interactions may be shifted to the virtual space, while other non-planned interactions may disappear. We analyze spatial interaction networks in Singapore covering about half of the adult population at a fine-grained spatial resolution to understand the importance of population mixing and places' amenities for urban network resilience. We document that environmental shocks negatively affect total interactions. Still, conditional on meeting physically, the number and type of location options may crucially impact the intensity and type of social interactions. The interplay between preferences for meetings partners, locations, and mobility determines population mixing and the fragility of urban social networks.
    Keywords: Urban interactions, networks, mobility, environmental shocks
    JEL: R1 R2 L14
    Date: 2022–07
  6. By: Alix Rouillé (CEPS - Centre d'Economie de l'ENS Paris-Saclay - Université Paris-Saclay - ENS Paris Saclay - Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay)
    Abstract: Social norms have proven to be a powerful nudge to make people adopt prosocial behavior. Informing people that most of their peers behave virtuously encourages them to improve their own behavior. However, since feedback is based on the average behavior of the population, the targeted desirable behavior must already be practiced by a majority of the population in order to avoid the boomerang effect. The boomerang effect is defined as a deterioration in attitude towards prosocial behavior. This deterioration is by the people who contributed to prosocial behavior more than the average; once they are informed about this, they modify their action accordingly. In this study, our purpose is to create a norm that can be implemented as nudges in behaviors where current social norm nudges are inefficient. This novel implementation could increase the range of prosocial behaviors that can be enhanced by social norm nudges. Within a nudge framework, we build a new norm that provides information based on the most altruistic people in the population. By having participants fill out additional surveys related to environmental topics, we found that this new norm, i.e., "Norm from the top", acted as an efficient nudge, increasing the average contribution to prosocial behavior. In contrast, the standard norm does not have a significant effect due to the boomerang effect. These results show the potential of applying the "Norm from the top" to promote low-practiced prosocial behaviors.
    Keywords: Nudge,Prosocial behavior,Descriptive norms,Injunctive norm,Social norms
    Date: 2022–05–19
  7. By: Bargain, Olivier (Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV); Loper, Jordan (GATE, University of Lyon); Ziparo, Roberta (Aix-Marseille University)
    Abstract: Social norms can mitigate the effectiveness of formal institutions, in particular the way legal reforms may affect women's autonomy. We examine this question in the context of ethnic variation in traditional post-marital cohabitation, i.e. matrilocality versus patrilocality. We use within-country variation in ethnic kinship practices in Indonesia, exploiting a major legal reform that exogenously fostered women's access to justice and their ability to divorce. We theoretically establish that compared to women of patrilocal tradition, matrilocal women should divorce relatively more after the reform and, for those in stable marriages, experience a relative increase in empowerment. We test these predictions using double-difference estimations with fixed effects. We confirm the relative increase in divorce among matrilocal women and, for those who stay married, a relative improvement in a wide range of outcomes for them and their children. We also predict higher benefits for matrilocal women experiencing a larger drop in divorce costs, which we test with triple-difference estimations exploiting the distance to courthouses. Our results encourage tailored policies that may transcend cultural contexts and overcome the adherence to informal laws.
    Keywords: legal reforms, divorce, ethnic norms, intra-household decision-making
    JEL: D13 I15 I38 J16 K36 Z13
    Date: 2022–06
  8. By: Francesco Cinnirella (University of Bergamo); Erik Hornung (University of Cologne); Julius Koschnick (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Economic societies emerged during the late eighteenth-century. We argue that these institutions reduced the costs of accessing useful knowledge by adopting, producing, and diffusing new ideas. Combining location information for the universe of 3,300 members across active economic soci-eties in Germany with those of patent holders and World’s Fair exhibitors, we show that regions with more members were more innovative in the late nineteenth-century. This long-lasting effect of societies arguably arose through agglomeration economies and localized knowledge spillovers. To support this claim, we provide evidence suggesting an immediate increase in manufacturing, an earlier establishment of vocational schools, and a higher density of highly skilled mechanical workers by mid-nineteenth century in regions with more members. We also show that regions with members from the same society had higher similarity in patenting, suggesting that social networks facilitated spatial knowledge diffusion and, to some extent, shaped the geography of innovation.
    Keywords: Economic Societies, Useful Knowledge, Knowledge Diffusion, Innovation, Social Networks
    JEL: N33 O33 O31 O43
    Date: 2022–07
  9. By: Vincent Leon; S. Rasoul Etesami; Rakesh Nagi
    Abstract: We consider the diffusion of innovation in social networks using a game-theoretic approach. Each individual plays a coordination game with its neighbors and decides what alternative product to adopt to maximize its payoff. As products are used in conjunction with others and through repeated interactions, individuals are more interested in their long-term benefits and tend to show trustworthiness to others to maximize their long-term payoffs. To capture such trustworthy behavior, we deviate from the expected utility theory and use a new notion of rationality based on limited-trust equilibrium (LTE). By incorporating such notion into the diffusion model, we analyze the convergence of emerging dynamics to their equilibrium points using a mean-field approximation. We study the equilibrium state and the convergence rate of the diffusion process using the absorption probability and the expected absorption time of a reduced-size absorbing Markov chain. We also show that the LTE diffusion model under the best-response strategy can be converted to the well-known linear threshold model. Simulations show that when agents behave trustworthily, their long-term payoffs will increase significantly compared to the case when they are solely self-interested. Moreover, the Markov chain analysis provides a good estimation of the convergence property over random networks.
    Date: 2022–06
  10. By: David Nguyen (OECD); Valérie Frey (OECD); Santiago González (OECD); Monica Brezzi (OECD)
    Abstract: The inaugural OECD Survey on Drivers of Trust in Public Institutions carried out in 2021 (“Trust Survey”) is a novel measurement tool supporting OECD governments in reinforcing democratic processes, improving governance outcomes, and, correspondingly, strengthening people’s trust in their democratic government. This paper provides the technical details of the surveying process for the inaugural OECD Trust Survey, including its coverage and sample design. The paper also reviews the methodological aspects of the survey to provide an account of the progress made in measuring trust in public institutions cross-country, with respect to previous projects and recommendations included in the OECD Guidelines for Measuring Trust. Finally, it proposes the continuation of the survey in the future, highlights potential areas for improvement in cross-country comparability and for continued cooperation with National Statistical Offices.
    Keywords: drivers of trust, public governance indicators, sample design, survey methods, trust in institutions
    JEL: C83 H11
    Date: 2022–07–11
  11. By: Miller, Marcus (University of Warwick, CAGE and CEPR)
    Abstract: Gerard Roland examines data going back to 3,000 BC for historical roots that might explain the current division of nations as between cultures of collectivism and individualism. In response to the appeal for theories bearing on the empirical evidence presented - and of recent moves by Russia and China to create a New World Order based on similar cultural division - three contributions are discussed. First is the competing powers perspective of Acemoglu and Robinson, who propose that individualism flourishes where power is evenly balanced between the state and the people : otherwise, either Despotism or Disorder will ultimately prevail. Then there is Ken Binmores study of cooperative social contracts : this offers support for stable societies of each cultural type, based on the folk theorem of repeated games. Finally the notion that dictatorship may be sustained by deception rather than repression - by leaders whom Guriev and Treisman call spin dictators. In the light of these perspectives, what to make of the current drive for a new global order that recognizes different spheres of influence for each of Roland’s cultural types? We look specifically at the case of Russia.
    Keywords: Individualism ; Collectivism, Culture ; Social Contracts ; social preferences ; Neofeudalism ; Despotism ; New World Order JEL Classification: C70 ; C73 ; N00 ; P00 ; P50 ; Z10 ; Z13
    Date: 2022

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