nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒05‒15
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Guns, pets, and strikes: an experiment on identity and political action By Ginzburg, Boris; Guerra, José-Alberto Guerra
  2. Critical Mass in Collective Action By Ginzburg, Boris; Guerra, José-Alberto; Lekfuangfu, Warn N.
  3. Economic Integration and the Transmission of Democracy By Marco Tabellini; Giacomo Magistretti; Giacomo Magistretti
  4. Homophily and Transmission of Behavioral Traits in Social Networks By Palaash Bhargava; Daniel L. Chen; Matthias Sutter; Camille Terrier
  5. Financial Market Exposure Increases Generalized Trust, Particularly among the Politically Polarized By Jha, Saumitra; Shayo, Moses; Weiss, Chagai M.
  6. What if she earns more? Gender norms, income inequality, and the division of housework By Iga Magda; Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska; Marta Palczyńska

  1. By: Ginzburg, Boris; Guerra, José-Alberto Guerra
    Abstract: We study the role of collective action in creating shared identity and shaping subsequent social interactions. In a laboratory experiment, we offer subjects to sign an online petition, or ask whether they had participated in recent street protests. Afterwards, subjects interact in games that measure prosocial preferences. We find more altruism, trust, and trustworthiness within a pair of subjects who participated in collective action than in any other pair. Our structural estimation recovers individual prosocial preferences, showing that they increase as a result of joint participation. We then show that participating individuals receive private payoffs in subsequent interactions with fellow participants. Because of this, expecting higher participation by peers makes an individual more likely to participate. This mechanism suggests a reason why citizens participate in political collective action, and helps explain the role of coordination and signalling.
    Keywords: political identity, collective action, petitions, protests, social preferences, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C91 D72 D74
    Date: 2022–04–14
  2. By: Ginzburg, Boris; Guerra, José-Alberto; Lekfuangfu, Warn N.
    Abstract: Using a laboratory experiment, we study the incentives of individuals to contribute to a public good that is provided if and only if the fraction of contributors reaches a certain threshold. We jointly vary the size of the group, the cost of contributing, the required threshold, and the framing of contributions (giving to the common pool, or not taking from the common pool). We find that a higher threshold makes individuals more likely to contribute. The effect is strong enough that in a small group, making the required threshold higher increases the probability that the public good is provided. In larger groups, however, the effect disappears. At the same time, we do not find a consistent effect of framing on the probability of contributing or on the likelihood of success.
    Keywords: threshold public goods, critical mass, framing effect, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C92 D71 H41
    Date: 2023–04–20
  3. By: Marco Tabellini (Harvard Business School, NBER, CEPR, and IZA); Giacomo Magistretti (International Monetary Fund); Giacomo Magistretti (IMF)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the effects of economic integration with democracies on individuals’ democratic values and on countries’ institutions. We combine survey data with country level measures of democracy from 1960 to 2015, and exploit improvements in air, relative to sea, transportation to derive a time-varying instrument for trade. We find that economic integration with democracies increases both citizens’ support for democracy and countries’ democracy scores. Instead, trade with non-democracies has no impact on either attitudes or institutions. The effects of trade with democracies are stronger when partners have a longer history of democracy, grow faster, spend more on public goods, and are culturally closer. They are also driven by imports, rather than exports, and by integration with partners that export higher quality goods and that account for a larger share of a country’s trade in institutionally intensive, cultural, and consumer goods as well as in goods that involve more face-to-face interactions and entail higher levels of bilateral trust. These patterns are consistent with trade in goods favoring the transmission of democracy by signaling the (actual or perceived) desirability of the latter. We examine alternative mechanisms, and conclude that none of them can, alone, explain our findings.
    Keywords: Democracy, political preferences, institutions, economic integration
    JEL: F14 F15 P16
    Date: 2023–01
  4. By: Palaash Bhargava (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Daniel L. Chen (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Camille Terrier (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    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, behavioral traits, peer effects, experiments
    JEL: D85 C91 D01 D90
    Date: 2023–02
  5. By: Jha, Saumitra (Stanford U); Shayo, Moses (Hebrew U of Jerusalem and King's College, London); Weiss, Chagai M. (Stanford U)
    Abstract: Generalized trust is essential for supporting the functioning of modern soci- eties, yet many countries experience limited trust. Given the social, economic, and political benefits of trust, it is crucial to understand how to increase gen- eralized trust, especially in polarized societies. We argue that exposure to op- portunities to trade in broad financial markets can increase generalized trust because it exposes investors to shared risks and returns that highlight the bene- fits of large-scale economic cooperation. Reporting results from a randomized controlled trial in which we encouraged Israelis to trade stocks for up to seven weeks, we show that participation in financial markets increased generalized trust by 5.9pp. This effect is more salient among political partisans and male respondents. Moreover, the effect is stronger among successful investors and robust to negative price changes. Our findings highlight the promise of finan- cial innovations in facilitating trust in polarized societies.
    Date: 2023–03
  6. By: Iga Magda (Institute for Structural Research, SGH Warsaw School of Economics, and IZA); Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Marta Palczyńska (Institute for Structural Research)
    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

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