nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒04‒17
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Homophily and Transmission of Behavioral Traits in Social Networks By Palaash Bhargava; Daniel L. Chen; Matthias Sutter; Camille Terrier
  2. Religion and Cooperation across the Globe By Felipe Valencia Caicedo; Thomas Dohmen; Andreas Pondorfer
  3. Mobile Internet and the Rise of Political Tribalism in Europe By Marco Manacorda; Guido Tabellini; Andrea Tesei
  4. Pivotal or Popular: The Effects of Social Information and Feeling Pivotal on Civic Actions By Laura K. Gee; Anoushka Kiyawat; Jonathan Meer; Michael J. Schreck
  5. Does social trust determine social progress? Evidence for the European regions By Jesús Peiró-Palomino; Lisa Gianmoena; Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo; Vicente Ríos
  6. Replication: Reshaping Adolescents' Gender Attitudes: Evidence from a School-Based Experiment in India By Fiala, Lenka; Fleisje, Erlend M.; Reiremo, Tore Adam

  1. By: Palaash Bhargava (Columbia University); Daniel L. Chen (Toulouse School of Economics); Matthias Sutter (Max-Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods Bonn, University of Cologne and University of Innsbruck IZA Bonn, CESifoMunich); Camille Terrier (Queen Mary University London)
    Abstract: Social networks are segmented on gender, ethnicity, and other demographic characteristics. We present evidence on an understudied source of homophily: behavioral traits. Based on unique data from incentivized experiments with more than 2, 500 French high-school students, we find high levels of homophily across ten behavioral traits. Notably, homophily depends on similarities in demographic characteristics, in particular gender. Using network econometrics, we show that homophily is not only an outcome of endogenous network formation, but also driven by peer effects. The latter are larger when students share demographic characteristics, have longer periods of friendship, or are friends with more popular individuals.
    Keywords: Homophily, social networks, behavioral traits, peer effects, experiments
    JEL: D85 C91 D01 D90
    Date: 2023–04
  2. By: Felipe Valencia Caicedo (University of British Columbia, Vancouver School of Economics, IZA and CEPR); Thomas Dohmen (University of Bonn, IZA Institute of Labor Economics, and Maastricht University); Andreas Pondorfer (Technical University of Munich, TUM School of Management and TUMCS for Biotechnology and Sustainability)
    Abstract: Social science research has stressed the important role of religion in sustaining cooperation among non-kin. We contribute to this literature with a large-scale empirical study documenting the relationship between religion and cooperation. We analyze newly available, experimentally validated, and globally representative data on social preferences and world religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism). We find that individuals who report believing in such religions also exhibit more prosocial preferences, as measured by their levels of positive reciprocity, altruism and trust. We further document heterogeneous patterns of negative reciprocity and punishment—two key elements for cooperation—across world religions. The association between religion and prosocial preferences is stronger in more populous societies and weaker in countries with better institutions. The interactive results between these variables point again towards the substitutability between religious and secular institutions, when it comes to sustaining cooperation.
    Keywords: Religion, prosociality, human cooperation, population, institutions
    JEL: D90 P35 Z12
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: Marco Manacorda (School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary University of London); Guido Tabellini (Department of Economics and IGIER, Bocconi University;); Andrea Tesei (School of Economics and Finance, Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: 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, primarilyin 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.ity.
    Keywords: Populism, Communitarianism, Europe, mobile Internet.
    JEL: D72 D91 L86
    Date: 2022–08–04
  4. By: Laura K. Gee; Anoushka Kiyawat; Jonathan Meer; Michael J. Schreck
    Abstract: We examine the combined effects of popularity and feelings of being important to reaching a goal by testing how people react to situations in which their own behavior is pivotal or not, as well as the popularity of the action. We conduct a laboratory experiment to cleanly fix beliefs about the person's likelihood of being pivotal in reaching a donation threshold that triggers a matching gift, varying both the pivotality and the number of other donors (popularity). The results are striking, with those whose action is pivotal being more than twice as likely to make a donation. We then conduct two field experiments to test these findings in real-world settings. Our results suggest that pivotality is a more important determinant of prosocial behavior.
    JEL: D64 H41
    Date: 2023–03
  5. By: Jesús Peiró-Palomino (Universiy of Valencia and INTECO); Lisa Gianmoena (University of Pisa); Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo (Universiy of Valencia and INTECO); Vicente Ríos (Universiy of Pisa)
    Abstract: Social trust is a heavily rooted element whose positive impact on economic performance has been widely corroborated for many contexts. However, the understanding of social progress disparities in aspects other than income is attracting increasing attention and is a key goal for the European Commission. European regions present notable disparities in many non-economic aspects that characterize advanced societies such as personal rights, freedom, tolerance and inclusion and access to advanced education. This paper provides fresh evidence on the impact of social trust on a wide array of aspects categorized as advanced features of social progress in the framework of the European Social Progress Index 2020 (EU-SPI). The results show a positive impact of social trust on most of the indicators, which is robust to endogeneity issues. These insights help to understand the enormous differences in terms of social progress across European regions and provide useful information for the design of future policies that pursue a more equal Europe.
    Keywords: European regions; European Social Progress Index; Social trust
    JEL: R11 Z10
    Date: 2023–04
  6. By: Fiala, Lenka; Fleisje, Erlend M.; Reiremo, Tore Adam
    Abstract: Dhar et al. (2022) examine the effect of a gender attitude change program in secondary schools in India. In their preferred specification, the authors show that the program made the students report more gender-egalitarian attitudes by 0.18 of a standard deviation, and shifted self-reported behaviors to be more aligned with gender-progressive norms by 0.20 standard deviations (both significant at 1% level). In contrast, they found no effect on girls' aspirations, as these were already high before the intervention. The effects did not attenuate between the first end-line (right after the programme was completed) and the second (two years later). To put the paper's results in perspective, we first comment on the authors' deviations from their pre-registration and pre-analysis plans, provide detailed power calculations, and add multiple-hypothesis-testing-adjusted standard errors. Second, we show that the paper's results are perfectly reproducible. Third, we show that the results are robust to excluding control variables, and alternative ways of constructing indices and dealing with non-response.
    Date: 2023

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