nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒05‒22
five papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Logrolling in Congress By Marco Battaglini; Valerio Leone Sciabolazza; Eleonora Patacchini
  2. When Crime Tears Communities Apart: Social Capital and Organised Crime By Francesca Maria Calamunci; Federico Fabio Frattini
  3. Trust and accountability in times of pandemics By Monica Martinez-Bravo; Carlos Sanz
  4. Ancestral Livelihoods and Moral Universalism: Evidence from Transhumant Pastoralist Societies By Sara Lowes; Etienne Le Rossignol
  5. Social Capital in Micro-family Enterprises: A Case Study in East Java, Indonesia By Augendra Bhukuth; Damien Bazin; Ani Wulandri; Valentina Teslenko

  1. By: Marco Battaglini; Valerio Leone Sciabolazza; Eleonora Patacchini
    Abstract: We study vote trading among U.S. Congress members. By tracking roll-call votes within bills across five legislatures and politicians' personal connections made during the school years, we document a propensity of connected legislators to vote together that depends on how salient the bill is to the politicians' legislative agenda. Although this activity does not seem to enhance U.S. Congress members' legislative effectiveness, vote trading is a strong predictor of future promotions to position of leadership.
    JEL: D72 D74 D91
    Date: 2023–04
  2. By: Francesca Maria Calamunci (Department of Economics and Law, Sapienza University); Federico Fabio Frattini (Trinity College Dublin and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: What is the long-term effect of organised crime presence on social capital accumulation? By leveraging novel social capital and organised crime data, this study investigates this question within the Italian landscape. In an instrumental variable (IV) setting, we exploit the forced resettlement law that compelled organised crime members living in the South of Italy to resettle in the Centre-North area. Using a granular measure of tax compliance as a proxy for civic awareness, we find evidence that sustained exposure to mafia presence depresses social capital accumulation. This finding applies to other dimensions of social capital, such as civic engagement and political participation. Results are robust to a series of robustness checks, such as the alternative strategy which combines the migratory movements from the South and the allocation of Marshall Plan funds. The findings appear to be influenced by a tolerance of dishonest conduct, a decrease in institutional trust, and a general disengagement from social activities.
    Keywords: Organised Crime, Social Capital, Forced Resettlement, Expansion
    JEL: A13 J16 K4 N34 O15
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Monica Martinez-Bravo (CEMFI); Carlos Sanz (Banco de España)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic took place against the backdrop of growing political polarization and distrust in political institutions in many countries. Did deficiencies in government performance further erode trust in public institutions? Did citizens’ ideology interfere with the way they processed information on government performance? To investigate these two questions, we conducted a pre-registered online experiment in Spain in November 2020. Respondents in the treatment group were provided information on the number of contact tracers in their region, a key policy variable under the control of regional governments. We find that individuals greatly over-estimate the number of contact tracers in their region. When we provide the actual number of contact tracers, we find a decline in trust in governments, a reduction in willingness to fund public institutions and a decrease in COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. We also find that individuals endogenously change their attribution of responsibilities when receiving the treatment. In regions where the regional and central governments are controlled by different parties, sympathizers of the regional incumbent react to the negative news on performance by attributing greater responsibility for it to the central government. We call this the blame shifting effect. In those regions, the negative information does not translate into lower voting intentions for the regional incumbent government. These results suggest that the exercise of political accountability may be particularly difficult in settings with high political polarization and areas of responsibility that are not clearly delineated.
    Keywords: trust, accountability, polarization, COVID-19
    JEL: P00 D72 H1 H7
    Date: 2023–01
  4. By: Sara Lowes (UC San Diego - University of California [San Diego] - UC - University of California); Etienne Le Rossignol (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UP1 UFR02 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - École d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, London Business School)
    Abstract: Moral universalism, the extent to which individuals exhibit similar altruism and trust towards in-group and out-group members, varies widely across societies. We test the hypothesis from anthropology that the requirements of transhumant pastoralism – a livelihood in which populations seasonally migrate and herd livestock – made individuals highly interdependent and cohesive within groups but hostile to individuals beyond the radius of extended kin. Using global data, we find that historical reliance on transhumant pastoralism is strongly predictive of greater in-group relative to out-group trust. This result is consistent across countries, between residents of the same country, among second-generation migrants, and with an instrumental variable strategy. We find evidence that these results are specific to transhumant pastoralism. The effects are particularly pronounced when transhumant pastoralists interact with groups that rely on other forms of economic production and in areas that are prone to climate shocks and conflict. Finally, we explore the economic implications of limited moral universalism. We find that greater reliance on transhumant pastoralism is associated with less objective promotion criteria within firms and smaller firm size.
    Keywords: Transhumant pastoralism, Trust, Moral universalism, Kinship, Culture, Firms
    Date: 2022–07
  5. By: Augendra Bhukuth (Ieseg Management School, France); Damien Bazin (Université Côte d'Azur; GREDEG CNRS); Ani Wulandri (Narotama University, Surabaya, Indonesia); Valentina Teslenko (ARENAP, Russia)
    Abstract: Family businesses operating mainly in the informal economy in East Java, Indonesia, generally employ family members and neighbors. As part of a qualitative study on employer-employee relationships, we interviewed the owners of 37 of these family businesses (30 small and 7 medium) to investigate the level of responsibility they feel towards their employees. By using a Social Capital approach to analyze the data, we found that the relationship between employers and employees is based on trust, and that family businesses have to maintain this trust to be able to sustain their activities in a highly competitive market. We then describe the ups and downs of managing employees when the employer-employee relationship is close.
    Keywords: Decent work, Employers-employees relationship, Family Business, Informal sector, Microenterprises, Social benefits, Social capital
    JEL: D22 J15 J24 J46
    Date: 2022–05

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