nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒04‒24
four papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Media and Social Capital By Filipe Campante; Ruben Durante; Andrea Tesei
  2. Social media charity campaigns and pro-social behaviour. Evidence from the Ice Bucket Challenge By Antinyan, Armenak; Corazzini, Luca; Fazio, Andrea; Reggiani, Tommaso; Scervini, Francesco
  3. How Does Unethical Behavior Spread? Gender Matters! By Kim L. Böhm; Sebastian J. Goerg; Lilia Wasserka-Zhurakhovska; Lilia Zhurakhovska
  4. Trust in the fight against political corruption: A survey experiment among citizens and experts By Benjamin Monnery; Alexandre Chirat

  1. By: Filipe Campante (Johns Hopkins University); Ruben Durante (ICREA-UPF); Andrea Tesei (Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: We survey the empirical literature in economics on the impact of media technologies on social capital. Motivated by a simple model of information and collective action, we cover a range of different outcomes related to social capital, from social and political participation to interpersonal trust, in its benign and destructive manifestations. The impact of media technologies hinges on their content ("information" vs "entertainment"), their effectiveness in fostering coordination, and the networks they create, as well as individual characteristics and media consumption choices.
    Keywords: Social capital; media; collective action; information; coordination; participation
    JEL: D71 D72 D74 D83 D84 Z13
    Date: 2021–09–02
  2. By: Antinyan, Armenak (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.); Corazzini, Luca; Fazio, Andrea; Reggiani, Tommaso (Cardiff Business School); Scervini, Francesco
    Abstract: Social media use plays an important role in shaping individuals' social attitudes and economic behaviours. One of the fist well-known examples of social media campaigns is the Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC), a charity campaign that went viral on social media networks in August 2014, aiming to collect money for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We rely on UK longitudinal data to investigate the causal impact of the Ice Bucket Challenge on pro-social behaviours. In detail, this study shows that having been exposed to the IBC increases the probability of donating money, and it also increases the amount of money donated among those who donate at most £100. We also find that exposure to the IBC has increased the probability of volunteering and the level of interpersonal trust. However, all these results, except for the result on the intensive margins of donations, are of short duration and are limited to less than one year. This supports the prevalent consensus that social media campaigns may have only short-term effects.
    Keywords: Donations, Volunteering, Altruism, Social media campaigns, Ice bucket challenge.
    JEL: D64 O35
    Date: 2023–04
  3. By: Kim L. Böhm; Sebastian J. Goerg; Lilia Wasserka-Zhurakhovska; Lilia Zhurakhovska
    Abstract: Using an online experiment with two distinct dishonesty games, we analyze how dishonesty in men and women is influenced by either thinking or learning about the dishonesty of others in a related, but different situation. Thinking is induced by eliciting a belief about others’ dishonesty in a different game. We find that such belief elicitation (1) increases males’ (but not females’) dishonesty and (2) has no influence on participants’ beliefs about the dishonesty of others in the game that they themselves play. Learning is induced by receiving a signal about the actual honest or dishonest choices of others in a different game. We find that the level of unethical behavior provided in such a signal (1) increases females’ (but not males’) dishonesty and (2) is positively correlated with participants’ beliefs about the dishonesty of others in the game that they themselves play. We conclude that gender matters when examining how unethical behavior spreads. Both genders update their beliefs about others’ dishonesty in the same way when presented with information about others’ choices, but dishonesty in men is triggered by merely thinking about others’ dishonesty, while women only respond to actual information on others’ dishonesty.
    Keywords: dishonesty, unethical behaviour, thinking and learning about other’s dishonesty, gender, experiment
    JEL: C90 D01 D80 D91
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Benjamin Monnery; Alexandre Chirat
    Abstract: In Western democracies, the last decades are characterized by a transformation of the relationship between citizens and their representatives, towards greater accountability, transparency and anti-corruption efforts. However, such evolutions are sometimes suspected of paradoxically fueling populism and reducing political trust. In this article, we investigate to what extent a new public institution in charge of monitoring the integrity of elected officials is likely to attract popular support and restore citizens' trust in democracy. We focus on France and its main anti-corruption agency, the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP), launched in 2013. We run a survey among 3, 000 representative citizens and 33 experts, and augment it with an experimental treatment where we randomly provide simple, concise information on the activity and record of the HATVP. Our results first show a large divergence between the opinions of the average citizen and the much more optimistic views of experts about the state and dynamics of political integrity in France. Second, we find that citizens have highly heterogeneous beliefs and those with high political distrust are not only more likely to vote for populist candidates or abstain, but also the least informed about the anti-corruption agency. Third, our information provision experiment has meaningful, positive impacts on citizens’ perceptions of HATVP, political transparency and representative democracy. Moreover, we show that some of the largest impacts are found among initially distrustful and poorly informed citizens, stressing the potential for communication and information to change the political perceptions and attitudes of disillusioned citizens.
    Keywords: integrity ; corruption ; political trust ; populism ; survey experiment
    JEL: C99 D72 M48 P37
    Date: 2023

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