nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒10‒24
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Mind the framing when studying social preferences in the domain of losses By Antinyan, Armenak; Corazzini, Luca; Fišar, Miloš; Reggiani, Tommaso
  2. Measuring "Group Cohesion" to Reveal the Power of Social Relationships in Team Production By Simon Gaechter; Chris Starmer; Fabio Tufano
  3. Railways and Roadways to Trust By Despina Gavresi; Anastasia Litina; George Tsiachtsiras
  4. Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected public trust? Evidence for the US and the Netherlands By Carin van der Cruijsen; Jakob de Haan; Nicole Jonker
  5. Choosing or Inheriting the Joneses: The origins of reference groups By Xavier Ramos; Martín Leites; Camila Paleo; Gonzalo Salas
  6. Exposure to past Immigration Waves and Attitudes toward Newcomers By Gihleb, Rania; Giuntella, Osea; Stella, Luca
  7. The Sociology of Cartels By Justus Haucap; Christina Heldman

  1. By: Antinyan, Armenak (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.); Corazzini, Luca; Fišar, Miloš; Reggiani, Tommaso (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: There has been an increasing interest in altruistic behaviour in the domain of losses recently. Nevertheless, there is no consensus in whether the monetary losses make individuals more generous or more selfish. Although almost all relevant studies rely on a dictator game to study altruistic behaviour, the experimental designs of these studies differ in how the losses are framed, which may explain the diverging findings. Utilizing a dictator game, this paper studies the impact of loss framing on altruism. The main methodological result is that the dictators’ prosocial behaviour is sensitive to the loss frame they are embedded in. More specifically, in a dictator game in which the dictators have to share a loss between themselves and a recipient, the monetary allocations of the dictators are more benevolent than in a standard setting without a loss and in a dictator game in which the dictators have to share what remains of their endowments after a loss. These differences are explained by the different social norms that the respective loss frames invoke.
    Keywords: loss; framing; altruism; dictator game; experiment; social norms.
    JEL: C91 D02 D64
    Date: 2022–10
  2. By: Simon Gaechter; Chris Starmer; Fabio Tufano
    Abstract: We introduce “group cohesion” to study the economic relevance of social relationships in team production. We operationalize measurement of group cohesion, adapting the “oneness scale” from psychology. A series of experiments, including a pre-registered replication, reveals strong positive associations between group cohesion and performance assessed in weak-link coordination games, with high-cohesion groups being very likely to achieve superior equilibria. In exploratory analysis, we identify beliefs rather than social preferences as the primary mechanism through which factors proxied by group cohesion influence group performance. Our evidence provides proof-of-concept for group cohesion as a useful tool for economic research and practice.
    Keywords: team work, group cohesion, social relationships, coordination, weak link games, experiments
    JEL: C92 D91
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Despina Gavresi (University of Ioannina); Anastasia Litina (Department of Economics, University of Macedonia); George Tsiachtsiras (University of Bath, School of Management)
    Abstract: This paper explores the interplay between the extent of transportation infrastructure and various aspects of trust (interpersonal and political trust). We test our hypothesis by exploiting cross regional variation during the period 2002-2019. We focus on two measures of infrastructure, i.e., the length of railroads and railways in European regions. Interpersonal and political trust variables are derived from individual level data available in nine consecutive rounds of the European Social Survey. We document that individuals who live in regions with extended infrastructure network manifest higher trust both in people and political institutions. To mitigate endogeneity concerns, we extend our analysis to a sample of international and inter-regional immigrants. We further adopt an IV approach, where we use as an instrument the pre-existing Roman roads networks. The results from all three specifications are aligned to those of the benchmark analysis. We explore access to differential levels of trust as one of the underlying mechanisms behind our results. Relying on an expanding literature we hypothesize that the effect of infrastructure on trust operates directly via the degree of exposure to new people and ideas, as well as indirectly, via the effect of infrastructure on the structure of the economy.
    Keywords: motorways, railroads, political trust, interpersonal trust
    JEL: Z10 P48 R10 R40
    Date: 2022–09
  4. By: Carin van der Cruijsen; Jakob de Haan; Nicole Jonker
    Abstract: Using two large-scale surveys among households, we examine the drivers of trust in banks, insurance companies, BigTechs, and other people in the United States and the Netherlands, and analyse whether the COVID-19 pandemic has affected public trust. Our results suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic did not have much effect on trust in financial institutions in the US and the Netherlands. However, trust in BigTechs and trust in other people declined in both countries, especially in the US. Our regression results show that the relationship between respondents’ characteristics and (changes in) trust differs across the US and the Netherlands, but for both countries we find evidence that individuals with poor health have lower levels of trust than healthy people, and that trust among poor-health respondents dropped more during the pandemic.
    Keywords: trust; COVID-19; financial institutions; BigTechs; health; consumer survey
    JEL: D12 D83 E58 G21 G22
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Xavier Ramos (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Martín Leites (Universidad de la República, IECON); Camila Paleo (Universidad de la República, IECON); Gonzalo Salas (Universidad de la República, IECON)
    Abstract: Do individuals choose their reference groups, i.e. their Joneses, or are they culturally transmitted across generations? We provide evidence that feeds the theoretical debate about the endogeneity or exogeneity of reference groups. Our findings for Uruguay suggest that reference groups are largely transmitted across generations. We also find individuals to have multiple reference groups and these to be context-specific. Our results are robust to several checks and to endogeneity issues.
    Keywords: Intergenerational transmission, reference group, income comparisons
    JEL: D31 D62 D63 Z13
    Date: 2022–09
  6. By: Gihleb, Rania (University of Pittsburgh); Giuntella, Osea (University of Pittsburgh); Stella, Luca (Free University of Berlin)
    Abstract: How does previous exposure to massive immigrant inflows affect concerns about current immigration and the integration of refugees? To answer this question, we investigate attitudes toward newcomers among natives and previous immigrants. In areas that in the 1990s received higher inflows of immigrants of German origin—so-called ethnic Germans—native Germans are more likely to believe that refugees are a resource for the economy and the culture, viewing them as an opportunity rather than a risk. Refugees living in these areas report better health and feel less exposed to xenophobia.
    Keywords: immigration, refugees, birthplace diversity, public opinion
    JEL: A13 D64 J6 I31
    Date: 2022–09
  7. By: Justus Haucap; Christina Heldman
    Abstract: Traditional economic theory of collusion assumed that cartels are inherently unstable, and yet some manage to operate for years or even decades. While the literature has presented several determinants of cartel stability, the vast majority focuses on firms as entities, even though cartels are typically formed between individuals who need to develop structures that allow them to establish trust and ensure cooperation. We analyze 15 German cartels, focusing on the individual participants, the communication and internal structures within the cartels as well as their breakup. Our results indicate that cartel members are highly homogeneous and often rely on existing networks within the industry. Most impressively, only two of the 156 individuals involved in these 15 cartels were female, suggesting that gender also plays a role for cartel formation. We further identify various forms of communication and divisions of responsibilities and show that leniency programs are a powerful tool in breaking up cartels. Based on these results we discuss implications for competition policy and further research.
    Keywords: cartels, collusion, social networks, trust, antitrust
    JEL: L41 K21 Z13
    Date: 2022

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