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

  1. The Impact of School Spending on Civic Engagement: Evidence from School Finance Reforms By Erdal Asker; Eric J. Brunner; Stephen L. Ross
  2. (Dis)Trust in the Aftermath of Sexual Violence: Evidence from Sri Lanka By Alina Greiner; Maximilian Filsinger
  3. Trust We Lost: The Impact of the Treuhand Experience on Political Alienation in East Germany By Kim Leonie Kellermann
  4. ‘Tiger-Hunting’ and Life Satisfaction: A Matter of Trust By Youxing Zhang; Peter Howley; Clemens Hetschko
  5. Lack of Trust and its Influence on the Installation of the COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application in Japan By Kamplean, Artima; Mitomo, Hitoshi; Otsuka, Tokio
  6. How Do Immigrants Promote Exports? Networks, Knowledge, Diversity. By Orefice, Gianluca; Rapoport, Hillel; Santoni, Gianluca
  7. Costly Norm Enforcement through Sanctions and Rewards: An Experiment with Colombian Future Police Officers By Mantilla, Cesar; Gelvez Ferreira, Juan David Gelvez; Nieto, Maria Paula
  8. Who Protests, What Do They Protest, and Why? By Chenoweth, Erica; Hamilton, Barton H.; Lee, Hedwig; Papageorge, Nicholas W.; Roll, Stephen; Zahn, Matthew V.
  9. Physical Isolation and Loneliness: Evidence from COVID Lockdowns in Australia By Kong, Nancy; Lam, Jack
  10. It Makes a Village: Allomaternal Care and Prosociality By Alessandra Cassar; Alejandrina Cristia; Pauline Grosjean; Sarah Walker
  11. Female Neighbors, Test Scores, and Careers By Goulas, Sofoklis; Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Zhang, Yi

  1. By: Erdal Asker (Georgia Institute of Technology); Eric J. Brunner (University of Connecticut); Stephen L. Ross (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: A primary rationale for public provision of K-12 education and state financing of school spending is that education fosters civic engagement and the development of social capital. However, limited evidence exists on whether and how school spending affects civic engagement. Virtually all studies focus on the impact of educational attainment (as opposed to school spending) on political activity. We provide the first causal evidence on how school spending affects volunteerism as well as voting. The court-ordered and legislative school finance reforms that occurred throughout the United States over recent decades led to large and plausibly exogenous shocks to K-12 school spending. We estimate difference-in-difference-in-differences (DDD) models to isolate the causal impact of school spending on civic engagement. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS), the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), and the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS), we find that exogenous increases in school spending led to increases in the probability that young adults volunteer and the amount of time they spend volunteering. In contrast, we find little evidence that school spending impacts voting. Consistent with prior studies, we find that increases in school spending increase high school graduation and college attendance.
    Keywords: Civic Engagement, Education Spending, Volunteerism, Voting, School Finance Reform
    JEL: H42 H72 I22 I26
    Date: 2022–11
  2. By: Alina Greiner (University of Konstanz); Maximilian Filsinger (University of Bern)
    Abstract: Does exposure to sexual violence during conflict affect ethnic group trust post-war? Despite the prevalence of sexual violence, we know surprisingly little about its social consequences. Furthermore, quantitative research has so far mostly turned a blind eye on the gendered impact of sexual violence. We address this gap by investigating ethnic in- and out-group trust among Tamil women and men in post-war Sri Lanka. Combining survey data of the Tamil population with a list experiment on wartime sexual violence, we find that female victims of sexual violence have higher levels of trust in the ethnic out-group, whereas men’s out-group trust decreases. Possible explanations are that both the context of sexual violence and coping strategies differ by gender. Interestingly, the experience of sexual violence significantly erodes both men’s and women’s trust in the ethnic in-group which points to an aspect of post-war recovery often overlooked: rebuilding trust within ethnic communities.
    Keywords: ethnic group trust; post-war reconciliation; wartime sexual violence; list experiment
    Date: 2022–11
  3. By: Kim Leonie Kellermann
    Abstract: Do politically administered mass layoffs undermine trust and political interest? During the German reunification, formerly state-owned socialist firms in East Germany were privatized by the Treuhand, which came at the cost of massive job losses and public protest. I demonstrate that these activities had a detrimental effect on attitudes and political behavior of the affected individuals. Using survey data from the German Socio-economic Panel and election results, I find that East Germans who lost their jobs exhibit significantly lower trust levels, lower political interest and a lower identification with mainstream democratic parties, even up to 30 years after reunification. I corroborate the causality of the results using fixed-effects estimations and a placebo analysis, which fails to explain political disenchantment by reasons other than the Treuhand experience. I interpret the findings as the persistent, negative effect of perceived political mismanagement during a crucial phase of economic transition on long-run political identification.
    Keywords: East Germany, trust, political alienation, privatization, radical voting
    JEL: D72 E24 L33
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Youxing Zhang; Peter Howley; Clemens Hetschko
    Abstract: Governments will often look to publicly signal their efforts to tackle issues of concern as a way of garnering political support. Combining data on the public disclosure of anti-corruption efforts and individual well-being in China, we show that such signals may increase the salience of the issue in question and hence diminish the life satisfaction of citizens with low political trust. For citizens with high trust, such signals appear to enhance life satisfaction. This means that signalling efforts may have unintended negative consequences on population well-being and thus political support, particularly when faced with low political trust.
    Keywords: corruption, life satisfaction, political trust, signalling theory, confirmation bias
    JEL: D73 I31 P48 O17
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Kamplean, Artima; Mitomo, Hitoshi; Otsuka, Tokio
    Abstract: This study aims to investigate the influence of different types of trust on the installation of the COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application (COCOA) in Japan with data collected from both installed and non-installed users. Despite the country's digital readiness, Japanese people hesitate to install the application for notifying contact with an infected person and it has not been widely adopted in Japan. Previous literature agrees that trust and privacy concern has been a primary issue for installing the application. The present study adopts the extended valence framework assuming that trust directly influences the user's perception of both negative and positive utility of the contact-confirming application which results in the installation. Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) was first reported in December 2019 and World Health Organization (WHO) announce the disease as a pandemic in March 2020 (WHO, 2020). Later WHO recommended using a digital tool for controlling infectious diseases as the pandemic surges worldwide. Japan also launch a Contact Confirming Application (or COCOA) developed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan in June 2020. Despite high expectations, the application was not widely adopted. This leads to our motivation of what could be a cause of this hesitation in installing COCOA in Japan. After a literature review, we found that number of literature and reports from WHO agree that trust in government and privacy concerns play the key factor in adoption. The literature also mentioned the digital divide as one obstacle in adopting the tracing application. However, it does not seem to be an issue in Japan since the country has a high penetration rate of smartphones and ICT readiness. Because most research focuses on an intention to adopt phase, there is still a lack of empirical evidence from users in the literature regarding a contact tracing application. This study can contribute to the gap in the literature with the data from actual users in Japan. (...)
    Keywords: Contact confirming application,COVID-19,Japan,Pandemic,Privacy,Trust in Government,Trust in media
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Orefice, Gianluca (Université Paris-Dauphine); Rapoport, Hillel (Paris School of Economics); Santoni, Gianluca (CEPII, Paris)
    Abstract: How do immigrants promote exports? To answer this question we propose a unified empirical framework allowing to identify and disentangle the main mechanisms put forth in the literature: the role of networks in reducing bilateral transaction costs, and the productivity shifts arising from migrationinduced knowledge diffusion and increased workforce diversity. While we find evidence supporting all three channels (at both the intensive and the extensive margins of trade), our framework allows to gauge their relative importance. When focusing on diversity, we find stronger results in sectors characterized by more complex production processes and more intense teamwork cooperation. This is consistent with theories linking the distribution of skills to the comparative advantage of nations. The results are robust to using a theoretically-grounded IV approach combining three variations on the shift-share methodology.
    Keywords: international trade, birthplace diversity, migration, productivity
    JEL: F14 F16 F22 O47
    Date: 2022–11
  7. By: Mantilla, Cesar; Gelvez Ferreira, Juan David Gelvez; Nieto, Maria Paula
    Abstract: The increasing lack of trust in the police around the globe reduces their indirect benefits, related to citizens' feelings of safety and beliefs that the police are "doing something'' to fight crime. We explore whether this generalized lack of trust among citizens correlates with their beliefs' accuracy regarding fairness norm enforcement in a lab-in-the-field experiment conducted with future police officers. Two hundred nine police students played a dictator-like game with costly third-party reallocation. Participants acting as a third party could use one-fourth of their endowment to either decrease (i.e., sanction) or increase (i.e., reward) the highest payoff among the two other players, the initial allocator and the transfer's recipient. We randomized whether a police student or a civilian was the recipient. Police students transfer roughly 40% of their endowment, regardless of the recipient's identity. They are likely to incur costly reallocations between 55 and 75 percent of the time, especially when initial allocations are more inegalitarian and the recipient is also a police student. Moreover, when police students interact only with in-group members, they are more likely to reward, whereas they are more likely to sanction if the transfer's recipient is a civilian. The subsequent prediction survey, conducted with over 200 civilians, reveals that respondents expected some in-group favoritism in the transfer and in the likelihood to reward. Although the probability of sanctioning was high, respondents overestimated the likelihood that police students engage in costly sanctions. Incentives and reporting a higher trust in the police are correlated with higher predictive accuracy.
    Date: 2022–08–31
  8. By: Chenoweth, Erica (Harvard Kennedy School); Hamilton, Barton H. (Washington University, St. Louis); Lee, Hedwig (Washington University, St. Louis); Papageorge, Nicholas W. (Johns Hopkins University); Roll, Stephen (Washington University, St. Louis); Zahn, Matthew V. (Johns Hopkins University)
    Abstract: We examine individuals' decision to attend Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations calling for less stringent public health measures to combat COVID-19 (e.g., for swifter reopening of businesses). Our analysis is facilitated by a unique staggered panel data set originally constructed to study the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. A wave of data collected in the summer of 2020 was expanded to capture details about protest attendance, political views, and support for different movements. We find that protests may provide novel and policy relevant information about potentially widely-held and mainstream social preferences that are obscured by extremist politics. We present evidence that protesters are a diverse yet representative part of the population and that the decision to protest is deliberate in the sense that it is responsive to incentives and issue salience. We also provide novel evidence of movement overlap – attending a Black Lives Matter protest is associated with a higher likelihood of attending a protest calling for fewer public health restrictions. This finding counters typical narratives characterizing these two protest movements as diametrically opposed. In a political landscape dominated by the voices of extremists, our findings suggest we can draw a line between recent protest behavior and a less radical and less extreme majority (sometimes called the "exhausted" majority) that espouses more nuanced views than the politicians, policymakers and institutions that are supposed to represent them.
    Keywords: protest, Black Lives Matter (BLM), reopening, COVID-19
    JEL: H00 H8 Z10
    Date: 2022–11
  9. By: Kong, Nancy (University of Sydney); Lam, Jack (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Using mandatory stay-at-home orders in Australia as a natural experiment and data from a long-running panel study, this paper investigates the causal link between physical isolation and loneliness. We exploit variations in the number of lockdown days in 2020 the respondent had experienced up until the interview date to estimate the causal link and find, based on difference-in-differences analyses with three-way fixed-effects estimations, that the number of days in lockdown does not significantly affect loneliness. Further, we use triple differences to examine heterogeneous effects. For income, age, personality, living arrangements, and remoteness, we find insignificant effects; for extroverts and young people, we find weak significance. We investigate exclusion restrictions through channels such as social contacts, internet access, job industry, and household characteristics on loneliness. Whereas many believe that 'being alone' and 'being lonely' are similar concepts, our study provides the first empirical causal evidence of no links between the two. Our findings also refine understanding of social isolation and demonstrate that it likely encompasses factors other than physical isolation.
    Keywords: COVID-19, loneliness, physical isolation, lockdown, natural experiment, quasi-experimental design
    JEL: I12 I31 O1
    Date: 2022–11
  10. By: Alessandra Cassar (University of San Francisco, Chapman University and CEGA); Alejandrina Cristia (Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University); Pauline Grosjean (Department of Economics, UNSW and CEPR); Sarah Walker (Department of Economics, UNSW)
    Abstract: A recent hypothesis suggests that an impetus for human cooperation could have emerged from the needs of mothers to elicit and sustain help from others, i.e. allomaternal care, for the purpose of bringing offspring to maturity. We design a novel economic experiment to elucidate the relationship between allomaternal care and cooperative behavior among a random sample of 820 adults and 200 children in the Solomon Islands. Our results show that allomaternal care, especially by non-kin, nurtures adult reciprocity and altruism, and impersonal prosociality among mothers. We also document socio-cognitive benefits to children from child care by non-kin, based on daylong vocalizations analyzed using a multilingually-trained neural network. Further analysis utilizing cross-cultural ethnographic data shows a positive relationship between allomaternal care and societal orientation toward trust. Altogether, our findings suggest an important role for allomaternal care - especially by non-kin - in supporting societal cooperation. Classification JEL: I15, O15, Z13
    Keywords: Allomaternal care, Altruism, Child vocalizations, Dictator game, Reciprocity
    Date: 2022–11
  11. By: Goulas, Sofoklis (Stanford University); Megalokonomou, Rigissa (University of Queensland); Zhang, Yi (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: How much does your neighbor impact your test scores and career? In this paper, we examine how an observable characteristic of same-age neighbors—their gender—affects a variety of high school and university outcomes. We exploit randomness in the gender composition of local cohorts at birth from one year to the next. In a setting in which school assignment is based on proximity to residential address, we define as neighbors all same-cohort peers who attend neighboring schools. Using new administrative data for the universe of students in consecutive cohorts in Greece, we find that a higher share of female neighbors improves both male and female students' high school and university outcomes. We also find that female students are more likely to enroll in STEM degrees and target more lucrative occupations when they are exposed to a higher share of female neighbors. We collect rich qualitative geographic data on communal spaces (e.g., churches, libraries, parks, Scouts and sports fields) to understand whether access to spaces of social interaction drives neighbor effects. We find that communal facilities amplify neighbor effects among females.
    Keywords: neighbor gender peer effects, cohort-to-cohort random variation, birth gender composition, geodata, STEM university degrees
    JEL: J16 J24 I24 I26
    Date: 2022–11

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