nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2022‒12‒05
five papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. How to measure public trust in the police? A framework with an application for Colombia By Abril, Veronica; Perez-Vincent, Santiago; Tobon, Santiago; Vanegas-Arias, Martin
  2. Fake News in Social Networks By Aymanns, Christoph; Foerster, Jakob; Georg, Co-Pierre; Weber, Matthias
  3. The Morality of Markets By Mathias Dewatripont; Jean Tirole
  4. Perception of individual traits, age, and teaching modality drive social networks among students By Pulgar, Javier; Ramírez, Diego; Candia, Cristian
  5. Patterning of adolescent sexual health competencies and sexual behaviour across friendship groups: A latent class and social network analysis. By McCann, Mark; Mitchell, Kirstin; Broccatelli, Chiara; Purcell, Carrie; Simpson, Sharon; McDaid, Lisa; Elliott, Lawrie; Moore, Laurence

  1. By: Abril, Veronica; Perez-Vincent, Santiago; Tobon, Santiago; Vanegas-Arias, Martin
    Abstract: Trust in the police is key to the state’s legitimacy and social development. Despite its relevance, many countries still have significant challenges in generating such trust. This paper presents a conceptual framework and a survey instrument to measure public trust in the police and explore some potential determinants: procedural justice, perceived effectiveness, the convergence of values between citizens and the idea of police forces, and integrity. We piloted the instrument in five Colombian cities---which represent 15% of the population---to examine its validity, finding satisfactory results. The descriptive results suggest that public trust in the police is strongly associated with the perception of the application of fair procedures, the convergence of values, and, to a lesser extent, perceptions of the effectiveness and integrity of the police. We validate the relevance of procedural justice with a vignette experiment, which shows that fair treatment increases acceptance and satisfaction with police actions and fosters citizens’ willingness to collaborate with the police. This study provides a practical tool to measure public trust in the police and its possible determinants and thus guides public policy efforts to strengthen it.
    Date: 2022–09–02
  2. By: Aymanns, Christoph; Foerster, Jakob; Georg, Co-Pierre; Weber, Matthias (University of St. Gallen)
    Abstract: We propose multi-agent reinforcement learning as a new method for modeling fake news in social networks. This method allows us to model human behavior in social networks both in unaccustomed populations and in populations that have adapted to the presence of fake news. In particular the latter is challenging for existing methods. We find that a fake-news attack is more effective if it targets highly connected people and people with weaker private information. Attacks are more effective when the disinformation is spread across several agents than when the disinformation is concentrated with more intensity on fewer agents. Furthermore, fake news spread less well in balanced networks than in clustered networks. We test a part of these findings in a human-subject experiment. The experimental evidence provides support for the predictions from the model. This suggests that our model is suitable to analyze the spread of fake news in social networks.
    Date: 2022–07–21
  3. By: Mathias Dewatripont; Jean Tirole
    Abstract: Scholars and civil society have argued that competition erodes supplier morality by offering consumer choice: "If I don't do it, someone else will". This paper establishes a robust irrelevance result, whereby intense market competition does not crowd out consequentialist ethics; it thereby issues a strong warning against the wholesale moral condemnation of markets and procompetitive institutions. Intense competition, while not altering the behavior of protable suppliers, however may reduce the standards of highly ethical suppliers or non-profits, raising the potential need to protect the latter in the marketplace.
    Keywords: Competition, consequentialism, replacement effect, non-profits,corporate social responsability, strategic complementarities, race to the ethical bottom.
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Pulgar, Javier; Ramírez, Diego; Candia, Cristian
    Abstract: People perceive, interpret, and assess others’ behaviors to build social ties even at young ages, affected by local contexts, which can lead, in the end, to improving learning experiences, resolving complex tasks, or creating companies. After the recent healthcare crisis due to COVID-19, online and hybrid social interactions are more prevalent in current social relationships and particularly relevant in education because information communication technologies now modulate behaviors. Here, we explore the role of social behaviors and their local contexts in building social networks and driving individual network centrality. Chilean education configuration provides a natural setting for exploring social relationships because students remain in the same group eight hours per day during their entire primary (eight years) and secondary (four years) school years. Thus, in the social mix of the classroom, students would show and witness their and others’ behaviors in both academic and social activities. We conduct two studies in different educational levels: i) primary school students (858 students from 45 different classrooms) and ii) secondary (191 students from eight different classrooms) to test cognitive and social drivers for network centrality. In the first study, we map the network collaboration for 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students. We find that 3rd-grade students exhibit more connections in their social networks than older students. Besides, we observe that social perception of popularity, prosociality, aggressiveness, and social preferences drive network centrality. In the second study, we separated secondary students into two different local contexts: hybrid and online teaching modalities. We find that students exhibit more network connectivity in the hybrid setting, and good student perception does not drive individual network centrality. On the other hand, in classrooms performing online teaching, the perception of good students is positively associated with network centrality. These results support the idea that students behave by following and interpreting social behaviors in their interactions, even in young populations. The availability and use of information for tie formation are dependable on students’ cognitive maturity and accessibility to face-to-face interactions, where popularity and pro-social behavior, for instance, become more evident.
    Date: 2022–06–15
  5. By: McCann, Mark (University of Glasgow); Mitchell, Kirstin; Broccatelli, Chiara; Purcell, Carrie; Simpson, Sharon; McDaid, Lisa; Elliott, Lawrie; Moore, Laurence
    Abstract: Background: The traditional focus of adolescent sexual behaviour research is on risk and adverse outcomes and on first vaginal intercourse as a portent of risk. This preoccupation with first sex limits research on social processes of sexual development and is out of step with the contemporary reality of young people’s early sexual experiences in which vaginal sex (if it happens at all) often follows a wide range of intimate and sexual experiences. Aim: With an innovative approach combining latent class analysis and social network analysis, we assessed how sexual knowledge, positive norm adherence, confidence and sexual activity are patterned across school-year social networks and explored the extent to which individualist and social influence theories could explain these patterns. Methods: We analysed cross-sectional survey data from 10 school year-group (students age 14-16) from the STis And Sexual Health (STASH) feasibility study. Students completed measures on sexual health knowledge, norms, confidence and behaviours, and named up to six friends in their year group. We used Latent Class Analysis to categorise patterns of sexual behaviour, and Exponential Random Graph Models to assess how sexual behaviour, knowledge, norms and confidence related to friendship ties. Results: Of 1,446 students 21% (n=309) did not report any sexual experience (inactive), 42% (602) reported some sexual experience but not oral or vaginal sex, and 22% (323) had oral and/or vaginal sex. Friendship ties were more likely between students who had similar levels of competencies (knowledge, norms and confidence). Friendships were also more likely between students who were sexually inactive (OR 1.73 95% CI 1.54, 1.95), and between students who reported oral/vaginal sex (OR 1.77 95% CI 1.46, 2.15). Active but not oral/vaginal sex students were slightly less likely (OR 0.86 95% CI 0.75, 0.99) to have friendship ties with each other. Interpretation: Our findings suggest that peer influence operating on sexual health competencies may occur independently of current sexual behaviour and there may not be strong naturally occurring social influence process to initiate pre-intercourse sexual behaviours. Our findings suggest that sexual health interventions acting on network influences are justified and that the focus of such interventions should shift from first intercourse to patterning of developing sexual repertoires.
    Date: 2022–10–15

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