nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒02‒20
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Mobile internet and the rise of political tribalism in Europe By Manacorda, Marco; Tabellini, Guido; Tesei, Andrea
  2. Trust in institutions and the profile of inequality: A worldwide perspective By Domenico Moramarco; Flaviana Palmisano
  3. Strategic Behavior with Tight, Loose and Polarized Norms By Eugen Dimant; Michele Gelfand; Anna Hochleitner; Silvia Sonderegger
  4. News Diffusion in Social Networks and Stock Market Reactions By David Hirshleifer; Lin Peng; Qiguang Wang
  5. Do different people report the same social norms? By Geoffrey Castillo; Lawrence Choo; Veronika Grimm
  6. Climate change concerns and information spillovers from socially-connected friends By Mayer, Maximilian
  7. Follow the leader: community-based health insurance in West Africa By Rute M. Caeiro; Alexander Coutts; Teresa Molina-Millan; Pedro C. Vicente
  8. Social networks and mental health: the experience of Cape-Verdean migrants in Portugal By Catia Batista; Rita Neves
  9. Trust and Public Policy: Lessons from the Pandemic By Mausumi Das; Ajit Mishra
  10. Are groups always more dishonest than individuals? The case of salient negative externalities By Geoffrey Castillo; Lawrence Choo; Veronika Grimm
  11. Accounting for the long-term stability of the welfare-state regimes in a model with distributive preferences and social norms By Gilles Le Garrec

  1. By: Manacorda, Marco; Tabellini, Guido; Tesei, Andrea
    Abstract: We study the political effects of the diffusion of mobile Internet between 2007 and 2017, using data on electoral outcomes and on mobile Internet signal across the 84, 564 municipalities of 22 European countries. We find that access to mobile Internet increased voters' support for right-wing populist parties and for parties running on extreme socially conservative platforms, primarily in areas with greater economic deprivation. Using survey data, we also show that mobile Internet increased communitarian attitudes, such as nationalism and dislike of strangers and minorities. We conclude that mobile Internet benefitted right-wing populist parties because, in line with findings in social psychology, it fostered offline tribalism.
    Keywords: populism; communitarianism; Europe; mobile internet
    JEL: D72 D91 L86
    Date: 2022–10–14
  2. By: Domenico Moramarco; Flaviana Palmisano
    Abstract: This paper investigates the importance of accounting for the profile of inequality in the analysis of institutional trust. Drawing on individual data from 82 countries around the world over the 1981-2021 period, it sheds light on the potential limitations of exploring the impact of the income distribution's shape on trust, using—as is traditional in the literature—a single inequality indicator. Results suggest that total income inequality and institutional trust are positively associated but this aggregated result hides some troubling countervailing effects.
    Keywords: Trust, Institutions, Inequality, Income inequality, Political attitudes
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Eugen Dimant; Michele Gelfand; Anna Hochleitner; Silvia Sonderegger
    Abstract: Descriptive norms – the behavior of other individuals in one’s reference group – play a key role in shaping individual decisions. When characterizing the behavior of others, a standard approach in the literature is to focus on average behavior. In this paper, we argue both theoretically and empirically that not only averages but also the shape of the whole distribution of behavior can play a crucial role in how people react to descriptive norms. Using a representative sample of the U.S. population, we experimentally investigate how individuals react to strategic environments that are characterized by different distributions of behavior, focusing on the distinction between tight (i.e., characterized by low behavioral variance), loose (i.e., characterized by high behavioral variance), and polarized (i.e., characterized by u-shaped behavior) environments. We find that individuals indeed strongly respond to differences in the variance and shape of the descriptive norm they are facing: loose norms generate greater behavioral variance and polarization generates polarized responses. In polarized environments, most individuals prefer extreme actions – which expose them to considerable strategic risk – to intermediate actions that minimize such risk. Importantly, we also find that relative to tight environments, in polarized and loose environments, personal traits and values play a larger role in determining actual behavior. This provides important insights into how individuals navigate environments that contain strategic uncertainty.
    Keywords: cooperation, descriptive norms, variance, peer effects
    JEL: C91 D01
    Date: 2023
  4. By: David Hirshleifer; Lin Peng; Qiguang Wang
    Abstract: We study how the social transmission of public news influences investors' beliefs and securities markets. Using an extensive dataset to measure investor social networks, we find that earnings announcements from firms in higher-centrality locations generate stronger immediate price and trading volume reactions. Post announcement, such firms experience weaker price drifts but higher and more persistent volume. This evidence suggests that while greater social connectedness facilitates timely incorporation of news into prices, it also triggers opinion divergence and excessive trading. We provide a model of these effects and present further supporting evidence with granular data based on StockTwits messages and household trading records.
    JEL: G11 G12 G14 G4 G41
    Date: 2023–01
  5. By: Geoffrey Castillo (VCEE - Vienna Center for Experimental Economics, University of Vienna); Lawrence Choo (China Center for Behavioral Economics and Finance, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics); Veronika Grimm (FAU - Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
    Abstract: If the Krupka-Weber (2013) norm-elicitation task captures pre-existing social norms, then the elicited norms should be independent of one's role in a game or one's social preferences. We test this idea in a complex game that features rich interactions. We find that different people, even when they have conflicting incentives, report the same social norms. Our results further validate the use of the Krupka-Weber task to measure social norms.
    Keywords: social norms, norm elicitation, laboratory experiment, methodology, ultimatum game
    Date: 2022–07–08
  6. By: Mayer, Maximilian
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of social connections in shaping individuals' concerns about climate change. I combine granular climate data, region-level social network data and survey responses for 24 European countries in order to document large information spillovers. Individuals become more concerned about climate change when their geographically distant friends living in sociallyconnected regions have experienced large increases in temperatures since 1990. Exploring the heterogeneity of the spillover effects, I uncover that the learning via social networks plays a central role. Further, results illustrate the important role of social values and economic preferences for understanding how information spillovers affect individual concerns.
    Keywords: beliefs, climate change, information spillovers, social networks
    JEL: D01 D62 D64 D8 Q5
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Rute M. Caeiro; Alexander Coutts; Teresa Molina-Millan; Pedro C. Vicente
    Abstract: In this study, we analyze the role of social networks in health insurance adoption in rural Guinea-Bissau. Using detailed social network data, and exploiting the mobilization of local female leaders to promote the insurance scheme, we find that, following the promoters’ intervention, households’ probability of take-up increased by 22 percentage points. Looking at effects along social networks, we find that households well connected to insurance promoters are more likely to adopt if promoters adopt as well. Lastly, our results show that distribution of insurance promotional material by the promoters has a positive effect in households’ adoption and payment of health insurance.
    Keywords: Health insurance, Social networks, Africa
    JEL: O12 I13 D83
    Date: 2022
  8. By: Catia Batista; Rita Neves
    Abstract: Immigrant integration is an inherently stressful process that implies psychological challenges. To moderate the impact of the post-migration stressors, social support may play an important role. Using survey data on recently arrived Cape-Verdean migrants in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, we analyse the role of both destination and home social networks on migrants’ mental health. We find that destination networks significantly reduce overall anxiety and female migrants’ emotional distress. However, larger home networks lead to an increase in overall anxiety and are associated with poorer mental health indicators for female migrants, who may be subject to larger pressure to send financial remittances back home. However, home networks have a positive effect in reducing male migrants’ emotional distress.
    Keywords: International migration, Immigration, Mental health, Social networks, Gender, Cape-Verde, Portugal
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Mausumi Das (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics); Ajit Mishra (Department of Economics, University of Bath, UK)
    Abstract: This paper examines the importance of mutual conÖdence or trust between a government and its citizens on the e§ectiveness of public policies.We develop a theoretical framework where the designing of government policies and the concomitant actions of the citizens are meditated by the degree of social trust. We introduce a short term aggregative health shock - a pandemic - which is novel: its charateristics are not fully known at the onset. This creates scope for government intervention in the form of framing of the policy announcement and its information content. We use this framework to examine the relationship between government communication, social trust and compliance. For any given level of trust, we analyse the equilibrium framing of the policy as well as the corresponding response and examine the degree of policy e§ectiveness as a function of the existing level of trust. JEL Codes: H11, I12, I18
    Date: 2023–01
  10. By: Geoffrey Castillo (VCEE - Vienna Center for Experimental Economics, University of Vienna); Lawrence Choo (China Center for Behavioral Economics and Finance, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics); Veronika Grimm (FAU - Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
    Abstract: A common finding of the literature on dishonesty is that groups are more dishonest than individuals. We revisit this finding by replacing the experimenter, implicitly hurt by subjects' dishonesty, with an explicit third-party: a local charity. With the charity we do not find groups to be more dishonest than individuals. Instead, groups can even help moderate the extent of the dishonesty.
    Keywords: Dishonesty, Group decisions, Communication, Social norms
    Date: 2022–06
  11. By: Gilles Le Garrec (OFCE - Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: After the Esping-Andersen' (1990) seminal study, welfare states are standardingly clustered in three identifiable regimes, liberal for Anglo-Saxon countries, corporatist for Continental Europe and social-democratic for Nordic countries, into which the levels of income redistribution can be ranked, from the lowest for the first to the highest for the last. By finding that most European continental countries are now clustered in the high-taxation group along with Nordic countries, a recent study by Péligry and Ragot (2022) has suggested that the welfare states can evolve and change over time, casting doubt on the long-term stability of the canonical clustering.
    Keywords: Redistribution, voting behavior, fairness, endogenous preferences
    Date: 2023–01

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