nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒06‒12
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. It's Not Who You Know—It's Who Knows You: Employee Social Capital and Firm Performance By DuckKi Cho; Lyungmae Choi; Jessie Jiaxu Wang
  2. Cultural Transmission and Political Attitudes: Explaining Differences between Natives and Immigrants in Western Europe By Jérôme Gonnot; Federica lo Polito
  3. To request or not to request: charitable giving, social information, and spillover By Valeria Fanghella; Lisette Ibanez; John Thøgersen
  4. Compliance in the Public versus the Private Realm: Economic Preferences, Institutional Trust and COVID-19 Health Behaviors By Henrike Sternberg; Janina Isabel Steinert; Tim Büthe
  5. The Many Forms of Decentralization and Citizen Trust in Government By Michael A. Nelson
  6. Motivated Beliefs, Independence and Cooperation By Wei Huang; Yu Wang; Xiaojian Zhao
  7. The Decision to Remit: Is it a Matter of Interpersonal Trust? By Kasmaoui Kamal; Makhlouf Farid; Refk Selmi

  1. By: DuckKi Cho; Lyungmae Choi; Jessie Jiaxu Wang
    Abstract: We show that the social capital embedded in employees' networks contributes to firm performance. Using novel, individual-level network data, we measure a firm's social capital derived from employees' connections with external stakeholders. Our directed network data allow for differentiating those connections that know the employee and those that the employee knows. Results show that firms with more employee social capital perform better; the positive effect stems primarily from employees being known by others. We provide causal evidence exploiting the enactment of a government regulation that imparted a negative shock to networking with specific sectors and provide evidence on the mechanisms.
    Keywords: Social capital; Social networks; Labor and finance
    JEL: G30 G41 L14
    Date: 2023–04–13
  2. By: Jérôme Gonnot; Federica lo Polito
    Abstract: This paper uses data on individual political opinions from the European Social Survey to study the role of horizontal cultural transmission on immigrants' political assimilation in Western Europe. We analyze five key political issues: redistribution, gay rights, EU integration, immigration policy and trust in political institutions. Controlling for individual socio-economic characteristics, we document that immigrants show identical support for redistribution as natives, display more conservative attitudes towards gay rights and more liberal views on the other three issues. These differences widen with the cultural and religious distance between immigrants' background and Western European norms, and decrease with the number of years since migration. Among immigrants that have spent at least 10 years in their host country, attitudes towards migration policy catch up with those of natives and the migrant-to-native gap on political trust is reduced by 80\%. In contrast, differences on EU integration and gay rights remain stable while immigrants' views on redistribution becomes relatively more conservative. These attitude-specific patterns are also salient when studying political preferences at the regional and sub-regional level. Our results strongly point towards the transmission of cultural values from natives to immigrants on matters of immigration policy and political trust, whereas attitudes towards redistribution seem immune to cultural influences at destination.
    Keywords: Immigration;Assimilation;Political Attitudes;Cultural Transmission
    JEL: D72 J15 P16 R23 Z1
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Valeria Fanghella (EESC-GEM Grenoble Ecole de Management); Lisette Ibanez (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement - Institut Agro Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - UM - Université de Montpellier); John Thøgersen (Aarhus University [Aarhus])
    Abstract: Prosocial behavior is important for a well-functioning society, but many people try to avoid situations where they could act prosocially. This paper studies the avoidance of a prosocial request, how it is affected by social pressure, and whether request avoidance and social pressure generate spillover effects on following prosocial behaviors. To this aim, we conduct an incentivized online experiment (N=1400), where participants play two consecutive dictator games with a charity. In the first game, we vary the type of game and information provided in a 2 x 2 between-subject design: (i) standard dictator game or dictator game with costly opt-out; (ii) with or without social information (mean donation in a previous session). The second game is a standard dictator game for all and aims to capture spillover effects from the first decision. We find that the opt-out option leads to significantly lower donations, especially when social information is present (but this effect is not statistically significant). The negative effect of the opt-out option spills over to the second donation decision. We also observe a negative spillover effect after a standard dictator game. Social information reduces donations in a standard dictator game, but also allows to mitigate the negative spillover effect from the first to the second behavior.
    Keywords: prosocial behavior, opt-out option, social information, spillover, charitable giving, selfimage
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Henrike Sternberg (TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, TUM School of Management, Hochschule für Politik at the Technical University of Munich); Janina Isabel Steinert (TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, TUM School of Medicine, Hochschule für Politik at the Technical University of Munich); Tim Büthe (TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, TUM School of Management, Hochschule für Politik at the Technical University of Munich, Duke University)
    Abstract: To what extent do economic preferences and institutional trust predict compliance with physical distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic? We make a distinction between individual health behaviors in the public and the private domain (e.g., keeping a distance from strangers versus abstaining from private gatherings with friends) and examine whether the importance of risk, time, and social preferences as well as trust in science and the government differs across these two domains. Using structural equation modeling to analyze survey data from Germanys second wave of the pandemic (N=3, 350), we reveal three major differences: First, reciprocity (especially positive reciprocity) seems essential for individual compliance in the public domain, but barely relevant in the private domain. Second, we find the opposite pattern for individuals’ degree of trust in the national government, which appears to matter predominantly for increasing compliance in the private domain. Third, social preferences are generally less important for compliance in the private domain, where individuals’ COVID-19-related threat perception is clearly the strongest predictor. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that communication strategies aimed at spurring compliance may either need to be tailored to domain-specific circumstances or focus on those factors common across domains.
    Keywords: Health behavior, Compliance, Economic preferences, Institutional trust, COVID-19, Physical distancing
    JEL: D91 H12 H31 I12 I18
    Date: 2023–05
  5. By: Michael A. Nelson (Department of Economics, University of Akron, Akron, OH, USA)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on the nexus between decentralization and citizen trust in government through the use of a comprehensive set of decentralization measures that have been recently developed. Using measures of autonomy at both the regional and local (municipal) levels of government, and responses from five recent waves of the World Values Survey on citizen trust/confidence in their national government, the civil service, and the police, several interesting insights emerged from the analysis. First, giving regional governments a voice in policy making for the country as a whole promotes trust in government at the national level and in the civil service. Second, deconcentrationÑcentral government offices at the regional level as opposed to autonomous regional governmentsÑappears to be an effective strategy to generate greater confidence in government activities. Third, affording regional and local governments complete autonomy in the delivery of government services without at least some oversight by higher levels of government is not found to be trust promoting. Finally, giving local governments authority to levy at least one major tax is associated with greater government trust, a finding that is consistent with others who have found tax decentralization to be linked with better outcomes in the public sector. Overall, the analysis suggests that the caution researchers sometimes give when using one-dimensional measures of the authority/autonomy measures of subnational governments such a fiscal decentralization is warranted.
    Date: 2023–05
  6. By: Wei Huang (CUHK Business School, Chinese University of Hong Kong); Yu Wang (China Center For Behavioral Economics and Finance, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics); Xiaojian Zhao (Department of Economics, Monash Business School, Monash University)
    Abstract: Humans are social animals but sometimes stay alone. The paper theoretically investigates the connection between an intraperson game and an interperson interaction. Motivated beliefs supplied from memory management due to present bias in the individual investment problem give rise to a positive spillover on others through social interactions, suggesting that a high frequency of social interactions reduces an individual’s tendency to cooperate with others, exacerbating the free-riding problem. We also establish a positive relationship between overconfidence and prosocial behaviors. Evidence from cross-country observational data and cross-sectional data collected from an online experiment is largely consistent with our theoretical implications.
    Keywords: motivated beliefs, self-confidence, present bias, cooperation, cultural difference
    JEL: C91 D01 D91 O57 Z10
    Date: 2023–05
  7. By: Kasmaoui Kamal (ESC PAU - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, Pau Business School); Makhlouf Farid (ESC PAU - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, Pau Business School); Refk Selmi (ESC PAU - Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, Pau Business School)
    Abstract: This article seeks to assess the role of the level of interpersonal trust in a country in the remittance landscape. Using historical data from the 2010-2014 wave of the World Value Survey (WVS) for interpersonal trust, our findings underline the substitution role played by interpersonal trust with remittances. More accurately, remittances tend to drop when the rate of interpersonal trust in the country of origin is high. Overall, a rise in trust is likely to underpin social cohesion, limiting therefore the need for remittances. Potential elements including human capital, cultural factors, the quality of institutions, the financial development and the inequality have been advanced to explain the obtained findings.
    Keywords: Interpersonal trust, Remittances, Social capital
    Date: 2023

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