nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒05‒08
eight 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. Drought and Political Trust By Ahlerup, Pelle; Sundström, Aksel; Jagers, Sverker C; Sjöstedt, Martin
  3. Discrimination in the Formation of Academic Networks: A Field Experiment on #EconTwitter By Nicolás Ajzenman; Bruno Ferman; Sant’Anna Pedro C.
  4. Physicians Treating Physicians: Relational and Informational Advantages in Treatment and Survival By Chen, Stacey H.; Chen, Jennjou; Chuang, Hongwei; Lin, Tzu-Hsin
  5. Cooperation, Fairness, and Rational Altruism in the Making of the Modern Living Standards. The Case of Maresme (1853-2022) By Jose Luis Martinez-Gonzalez
  6. The Intergenerational Transmission of World War I on Female Labour By Victor Gay
  7. Closing the Psychological Distance: The Effect of Social Interactions on Team Performance By Hattori, Keisuke; Yamada, Mai
  8. What If She Earns More? Gender Norms, Income Inequality, and the Division of Housework By Magda, Iga; Cukrowska-Torzewska, Ewa; Palczyńska, Marta

  1. By: Palaash Bhargava; Daniel L. Chen; Matthias Sutter; Camille Terrier
    Abstract: Social networks are a key factor of success in life, but they are also strongly segmented on gender, ethnicity, and other demographic characteristics (Jackson, 2010). We present novel evidence on an understudied source of homophily: behavioral traits. Behavioral traits are important determinants of life outcomes. While recent work has focused on how these traits are influenced by the family environment, or how they can be affected by childhood interventions, little is known about how these traits are related to social networks. Based on unique data collected using incentivized experiments on more than 2, 500 French high-school students, we find high levels of homophily across all ten behavioral traits that we study. Notably, the extent of homophily depends on similarities in demographic characteristics, in particular with respect to gender. Furthermore, the larger the number of behavioral traits that students share, the higher the overall homophily. Using network econometrics, we show that the observed homophily is not only an outcome of endogenous network formation, but is also a result of friends influencing each others’ behavioral traits. Importantly, the transmission of traits is larger when students share demographic characteristics, such as gender, have longer periods of friendship, or are friends with more popular individuals.
    Keywords: homophily, social networks, behavioural traits, peer effects, experiments
    JEL: D85 C91 D01 D90
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Ahlerup, Pelle (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Sundström, Aksel; Jagers, Sverker C; Sjöstedt, Martin
    Abstract: Droughts can affect people’s political trust positively, through rallying effects, or negatively, through blame attribution. We examine how drought conditions affect political trust in the context of Africa. We link high-precision exogenous climate data to survey respondents, 2002–2018, and report moderate negative effects of drought conditions on people’s trust in their president. These negative effects increase with the severity of drought conditions. The political economy of favoritism, where some regions are preferentially treated by rulers, should result in heterogeneous effects across territories. We find that trust increases in capital regions and in leader birth regions during dry conditions. In contrast, when droughts take place in such regions, trust levels fall in other regions. This is in line with the idea that capital regions and leader birth regions could be preferentially treated in the aftermath of droughts. Understanding these processes further is important given their salience because of global warming.
    Keywords: Africa; Drought; Afrobarometer; Trust; Climate change; Disasters
    JEL: D74 H70 O10
    Date: 2023–04
  3. By: Nicolás Ajzenman (McGill University); Bruno Ferman (São Paulo School of Economics - FGV); Sant’Anna Pedro C. (São Paulo School of Economics - FGV)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the results of an experiment designed to identify discrimination in users’ following behavior on Twitter. Specifically, we created fictitious bot accounts that resembled humans and claimed to be PhD students in economics. The accounts differed in three characteristics: gender (male or female), race (Black or White), and university affiliation (top- or lower-ranked). The bot accounts randomly followed Twitter users who form part of the #EconTwitter academic community. We measured how many follow-backs each account obtained after a given period. Twitter users from this community were 12% more likely to follow accounts of White students compared to those of Black students; 21% more likely to follow accounts of students from top-ranked, prestigious universities compared to accounts of lower-ranked institutions; and 25% more likely to follow female compared to male students. The racial gap persisted even among students from top-ranked institutions, suggesting that Twitter users racially discriminate even in the presence of a signal that could be interpreted as indicative of high academic potential. Notably, we find that Black male students from top-ranked universities receive no more follow-backs than White male students from relatively lower-ranked institutions.
    Keywords: Discrimination; Economics Profession; Gender; Race; Social Media
    JEL: J15 J16 A11 C93 I23
    Date: 2023–04
  4. By: Chen, Stacey H. (University of Tokyo); Chen, Jennjou (National Chengchi University); Chuang, Hongwei (International University of Japan); Lin, Tzu-Hsin (National Taiwan University)
    Abstract: We use the medical specialties of physician-patients with advanced cancer to study the role of knowledge versus networks in treatment choices and patient survival by matching comparable patients with doctors and admission periods to control unobserved doctor quality. Physician-patients are less likely to have surgery, radiation, or checkups and more likely to receive targeted therapy, spend more on drugs, enjoy a higher survival rate, and spend less on coinsurance than non-physician-patients. Knowledge mechanisms play a crucial role because the network effect explains some, but not all, patterns. For less informed physician-patients, possessing a network is equivalent to reducing medical knowledge.
    Keywords: physician quality, social ties, communication, information
    JEL: D83 I11 J44
    Date: 2023–03
  5. By: Jose Luis Martinez-Gonzalez (Universitat de Barcelona – Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
    Abstract: Can attitudes and beliefs within each community, as well as their social capital, explain some of the differences in their development? Conducting a macro study in the Maresme region using data from the Contribution Territorial, which includes 5, 412 agricultural farms, 2, 537 owners, and 13 municipalities (1853-1864), we find levels of rational altruism approaching 50%, confirming recent evidence from experimental economics studies. A particularly interesting finding is the correlation between the most altruistic municipalities 160 years ago and those today with higher levels of human capital and per capita family income, as well as the influence of certain study variables on the prosocial behavior of local oligarchies. This result suggests that the attitudes, beliefs, values, and informal rural rules of the past are factors that complement the quality of national institutions today. Economic history not only helps to explain the origins and different trajectories of local economic development, but, more importantly, informs us that investing in regional policies that promote community spirit is a worthwhile endeavor for the future.
    Keywords: Altruism, peasant communities, human capital, informal institutions, development, social change, collective action
    JEL: B52 D03 D64 N33 O43
    Date: 2023–04
  6. By: Victor Gay (TSE-R - Toulouse School of Economics - UT Capitole - Université Toulouse Capitole - UT - Université de Toulouse - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, IAST - Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse)
    Abstract: Demographic shocks tied to World War I's high death toll induced many women to enter the labour force in the immediate postwar period. I document a positive impact of these newly employed women on the labour force participation of subsequent generations of women until today. I also find that the war permanently altered attitudes toward the role of women in the labour force. I decompose this impact into three channels of intergenerational transmission: transmission from mothers to daughters, transmission from mothers-in-law to daughters-in-law via their sons, and transmission through local social interactions.
    Keywords: World War I, Gender norms, Economic History, Culture, Social norm, Military fatalities, Female labor force participation, Female labor supply, Intergenerational transmission
    Date: 2023–04–04
  7. By: Hattori, Keisuke; Yamada, Mai
    Abstract: Social interactions in the workplace can generate reciprocal peer effects and narrow the psychological distance for team prosociality among coworkers. Incorporating such a psychological interdependence into a team production model, we investigate how the optimal social interactions characterized by the type of task the team is performing (complementary or substitutable tasks) and the vertical and horizontal structure of the team (with or without leadership). We find that in the case of complementary tasks, social interactions can enhance team performance not only for horizontal teams but also for vertical teams led by more prosocial leaders, by narrowing the prosociality gap among members and resolving task bottlenecks. On the other hand, in the cases of horizontal and vertical teams performing substitutable tasks and vertical teams performing complementary tasks supported by a more prosocial follower, social interactions can actually decrease team performance. Our results provide important implications for organizations in considering when, for what type of team, by whom, and to what extent to promote social interaction within teams that bring members' personal (psychological) distances closer, as a means of enhancing organizational effectiveness.
    Keywords: team production; social interaction; prosociality; reciprocity; team leadership; peer effects
    JEL: C72 D21 M50
    Date: 2023–04–12
  8. By: Magda, Iga (Warsaw School of Economics); Cukrowska-Torzewska, Ewa (University of Warsaw); Palczyńska, Marta (Institute for Structural Research (IBS))
    Abstract: Using data from "Generation and Gender Survey" for Poland, we study the relationship between women's relative income within the household, as measured by the female share of total household income, and women's involvement in housework. We find that households in which the woman contributes more to the total household income are more likely to share housework equally. We also find that individual gender norms matter both for women's involvement in unpaid work at home and for the observed link between the female share of income and inequality between the partners in the division of housework. Women from less traditional households are found to be more likely to share housework equally. However, this negative relationship between the female share of household income and female involvement in housework is not observed among more traditional couples.
    Keywords: household income, income inequality, housework, gender norms
    JEL: D10 D13 D31 J12 J16 J22
    Date: 2023–03

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