nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒06‒19
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Elite Selection in an Autocracy: The Career Costs of Political Ties By Leonie Bielefeld; Cathrin Mohr
  2. Hukou and Guanxi: How Social Discrimination and Networks Impact Intrahousehold Allocations in China By Liqun Zhuge; Kevin Lang
  3. To request or not to request: charitable giving, social information, and spillover By Valeria Fanghella; Lisette Ibanez; John Thøgersen
  4. The Social Equilibrium of Relational Arrangements By Parikshit Ghosh; Debraj Ray
  5. What if she earns more? Gender norms, income inequality, and the division of housework. By Iga Magda; Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska; Marta Palczyńska
  6. The normative permissiveness of political partyism By Tom Lane; Luis Miller; Isabel Rodriguez
  7. Educated to be trusting? Evidence from Europe By Kamhon Kan; Tat-Kei Lai

  1. By: Leonie Bielefeld (University of Munich); Cathrin Mohr (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: We study the selection of the political elite in an autocratic state. Using detailed CV data on potential politicians in the German Democratic Republic, we track and quantify the position of individuals in the state hierarchy over time and exploit exogenous connections between individuals that were formed through imprisonment during the Nazi Era. We find asymmetric effects of being connected to the political elite: While being linked to the state's centre of power harms high-profile careers, they have positive effects on low-profile careers. An extensive analysis of potential mechanisms shows that the negative effect of being linked to the party leadership on individuals' probability to be part of the ruling elite is in line with anti-factionalism, whereas the positive effect on low-profile careers is in line with patronage.
    Keywords: Political Economy, autocracy, political elite, selection mechanisms
    JEL: P16 P26 D72
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Liqun Zhuge; Kevin Lang
    Abstract: Hukou, China’s household registration system, affects access to public services and signals the strength of a person’s local social network, guanxi. We use a collective model and data on household consumption and spouses’ hukou status to show that hukou plays a crucial role in determining within-family bargaining power. Wives who bring the family more lucrative hukou enjoy significantly higher bargaining power than other wives. Still, these wives have less bargaining power than their husbands. Large differences in preferences between husbands and wives, especially regarding alcohol, tobacco, and clothing, allow us to identify these disparities.
    JEL: J10 J12 J16
    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: Parikshit Ghosh (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics); Debraj Ray (New York University and University of Warwick)
    Abstract: The enforcement of relational contracts is especially challenging in anonymous environments when there are opportunities to start new partnerships after a transgression. Building on Ghosh and Ray (1996), we study norms within bilateral partnerships that exhibit gradually increasing cooperation, thus serving to deter deviations. However, socially beneficial gradualism may be undermined by partners renegotiating to greater cooperation from the outset. We show that incomplete information regarding partner patience ameliorates this tension even as it adds to the anonymity of the environment. Specifically, gradualism is now bilaterally desirable, and has the social by-product of maintaining individual cooperation. We also study a one-sided version of this problem in which only one of the partners exhibits moral hazard, and offer tentative thoughts on generalizing the theory to environments with richer gradations of incomplete information. JEL Classification: C73, D85, D86. Key Words: relational contracts, social norms, gradualism, trust-building, dynamic games.
    Date: 2023–05
  5. By: Iga Magda; Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska; Marta Palczyńska
    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: 2023–04
  6. By: Tom Lane (University of Nottingham Ningbo China); Luis Miller (Spanish National Research Council); Isabel Rodriguez (Spanish National Distance Education University)
    Abstract: Political identity has become the strongest social divide within Western societies. This paper employs experiments to measure discrimination along multiple dimensions of social identity, and replicates previous findings showing the strongest discrimination against out-groups occurs in the political domain. Moreover, we explore a possible explanation for this phenomenon based upon social norms. We measure the social appropriateness of discrimination along each identity dimension. The ranking of dimensions by discrimination against out-groups reflects the extent to which such behaviour is normatively permissible, with the weakest anti-discrimination norms on the political dimension. Results are qualitatively similar in two European countries. We argue that, while norms sanctioning discrimination on other dimensions have developed historically, no such process has taken place in relation to political affiliation, bringing political identity to the fore and helping polarisation to flourish.
    Keywords: social norms; polarization; group identity; laboratory experiments; discrimination
    Date: 2023–06
  7. By: Kamhon Kan; Tat-Kei Lai (LEM - Lille économie management - UMR 9221 - UA - Université d'Artois - UCL - Université catholique de Lille - Université de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Using data from the European Values Study and exploiting the compulsory schooling reforms in 13 European countries for identification, we find education to enhance generalized trust. We also find that this effect partly arises from the fact that people learn to form social capital through cooperating and interacting with others in school.
    Keywords: Education, Generalized trust, Compulsory schooling reforms, European Values Study
    Date: 2021–06

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