nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒07‒24
seven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. The Role of Social Norms in the Fight Against Climate Change By Armin Falk; Mark Fallak; Lasse Stötzer
  2. Persecution and Escape By Sascha Becker; Volker Lindenthal; Sharun Mukand; Fabian Waldinger
  3. Come Out and Play: Public Space Recovery, Social Capital, and Citizen Security By Braun, Matías; Gallego, Francisco; Soares, Rodrigo R.
  4. Inflation Literacy, Inflation Expectations, and Trust in the Central Bank: A Survey Experiment By Dräger, Lena; Nghiem, Giang
  5. What do politicians think of technocratic institutions? Experimental Evidence on the European Central Bank By Federico M. Ferrara; Donato Masciandaro; Manuela Moschella; Davide Romelli
  6. Identity assimilation: Impact of conflict and partition on the giving behaviors of refugees and natives in West Bengal By Bhattacharya, Nilanjan; Pakrashi, Debayan; Saha, Sarani; Wang, Liang C.
  7. How Culture Shapes Choices Related to Fertility and Mortality: Causal Evidence at the Swiss Language Border By Lisa Faessler; Rafael Lalive; Charles Efferson

  1. By: Armin Falk (University of Bonn, briq Institute); Mark Fallak (Institute of Labor Economics); Lasse Stötzer (briq Institute)
    Abstract: Of the 2, 002 respondents, 71 percent stated that they take personal action against climate change. The re-spondents‘ perceptions about peoples‘ behavior differed: The share of the German population committed to climate protection was estimated at an average of 59 percent. The actual willingness to act against climate change is therefore significantly underestimated (by nearly 70 percent of respondents). When asked if people in Germany should take action against climate change, 85 percent of respondents agreed. However, four out of five respondents underestimate the percentage of people who share their view – the average estimate was 67 percent. The phenomenon that both the willingness of others to act against climate change and the prevailing social norms are systematically underestimated is a form of pluralistic ignorance. The problematic conse-quences of such a misperception can be seen in its negative influence on donations to a climate protection organization in our survey. Many people are conditionally cooperative, i.e., they make their own behavior dependent on the behavior of others. Correcting the misperceptions of others’ cooperation could therefore improve individual willingness to act against climate change. This idea has been tested by briq researchers in a survey experiment in the United States. Correcting the ex-isting misperceptions causally raised the individual willingness to act against climate change and the support for climate policies. The strongest effects are found among individuals who are skeptical about the existence and threat of global warming.
    Date: 2023–09
  2. By: Sascha Becker (Monash University); Volker Lindenthal (LMU Munich); Sharun Mukand (University of Warwick); Fabian Waldinger (LMU Munich)
    Abstract: We study the role of professional networks in facilitating emigration of Jewish academics dismissed from their positions by the Nazi government. We use individual-level exogenous variation in the timing of dismissals to estimate causal eects. Academics with more ties to early émigrés (emigrated 1933-1934) were more likely to emigrate. Early émigrés functioned as “bridging nodes” that facilitated emigration to their own destination. We also provide evidence of decay in social ties over time and show that professional networks transmit information that is not publicly observable. Finally, we study the relative importance of three types (family, community, professional) of social networks.
    Keywords: professional networks; high-skilled emigration; Nazi Germany; Jewish academics; universities;
    JEL: I20 I23 I28 J15 J24 N30 N34 N40 N44
    Date: 2023–06–21
  3. By: Braun, Matías (Universidad de los Andes); Gallego, Francisco (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile); Soares, Rodrigo R. (Insper, São Paulo)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of renovating deteriorated public spaces on local socioeconomic outcomes. We analyze the impacts of a randomized experiment implemented in 28 fragile neighborhoods of Santiago, Chile. Our findings indicate that the renovation of local squares led to increased use and maintenance of the public space, enhanced neighborhood engagement, and a stronger sense of ownership among residents, along with a reduction in leisure activities outside the neighborhood. Moreover, treated neighborhoods experienced improvements in public security perceptions both within the square and in the broader neighborhood area. We also observe positive effects on trust (among acquaintances) and participation in community organizations. By exploring heterogeneous treatment effects across neighborhoods, we do not find evidence supporting theories emphasizing the joint determination of public security and social capital. Instead, our results suggest that the effects are better explained by increased neighborhood use, particularly in areas that are densely populated and have a higher proportion of social housing.
    Keywords: public space recovery, crime, social capital, urban infrastructure
    JEL: K42 O18 R53
    Date: 2023–06
  4. By: Dräger, Lena; Nghiem, Giang
    Abstract: This paper studies the causal effect of inflation literacy on inflation expectations and trust in the central bank using a randomized control trial (RCT) on a representative sample of the German population. In an experiment with two steps, we first test the effect of non-numerical information about inflation and monetary policy, the \textitliteracy treatment. In the second step, we randomly treat respondents with quantitative information and measure whether those who previously received the \textitliteracy treatment, incorporate quantitative information differently into their inflation forecasts. We find that the \textitliteracy treatment improves respondents' knowledge about monetary policy and inflation and raises their trust in the central bank. It also causes a higher likelihood that respondents provide inflation predictions, but does not affect the level of expected inflation. Similarly, those who received the initial \textitliteracy treatment do not react differently to the quantitative information in terms of the level of their inflation forecasts, but they react more strongly to some treatments regarding their reported forecast uncertainty and trust in the central bank.
    Keywords: Inflation literacy; inflation expectations; trust in the central bank; survey experiment; randomized control trial (RCT)
    JEL: E52 E31 D84
    Date: 2023–06
  5. By: Federico M. Ferrara; Donato Masciandaro; Manuela Moschella; Davide Romelli
    Abstract: Technocracy has come to be increasingly regarded as a threat to representative democracy. Significant attention has thus been recently devoted to exploring public preferences towards technocratic institutions. Elected policymakers’ attitudes have instead not been investigated as systematically. This paper fills this gap by examining politicians’ views on central banks. Based on an original elite survey of the Members of the European Parliament, we gauge elected policymakers’ attitudes towards the mandate and policy conduct of the European Central Bank. Our findings show that the political orientation of politicians largely drives attitudes towards the ECB’s institutional mandate. Interestingly, the findings from two experiments embedded in the survey also show that the attitudes of MEPs are not as static as ideological orientations would lead us to expect. The information set to which politicians are exposed significantly shapes their views on both the ECB’s mandate and its policy conduct, but less on ECB independence
    Keywords: accountability, central banks, ECB, independence, political attitudes, technocracy, trust
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Bhattacharya, Nilanjan; Pakrashi, Debayan; Saha, Sarani; Wang, Liang C.
    Abstract: In regions affected by conflicts, partition, and violence, how does past exposure to such incidences affect attitudes towards members of different social groups? Drawing on the theory of inequity aversion model, we infer that past exposure to conflict and violence can increase an individual's ability to empathize with the ingroup(s) and discriminate against the outgroup(s). We test this hypothesis by conducting a money-giving dictator game and a money-taking dictator game among 794 Hindu Bengali individuals from an Indian-native-born background and an East-Pakistan-refugee background residing in the state of West Bengal in India. Our objective is to study the dominant social identity and identity assimilation of individuals with multiple social affiliations. We find that participants from both native and refugee backgrounds show favoritism towards other Hindus in India by giving them money taken away from Muslims in India, Hindus in Bangladesh, and Muslims in Bangladesh. The favoritism towards other Hindus in India indicates that they are treated as the social ingroup, while the discrimination against the other groups indicates that they are treated as the social outgroups. Participants from refugee families discriminate against Muslims in India more than Hindus in Bangladesh, while participants from native families discriminate against Hindus in Bangladesh more than Muslims in India. The differential treatments across social groups suggest that the Hindu religious affiliation plays a more dominant role than the Indian nationality affiliation in the identity of refugees. Further, we find suggestive evidence of identity assimilation among individuals with a refugee background.
    Keywords: social identity, partition refugees, charitable giving
    JEL: F22 J15 Z12 N3
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Lisa Faessler; Rafael Lalive; Charles Efferson
    Abstract: Results from cultural evolutionary theory often suggest that social learning can lead cultural groups to differ markedly in the same environment. Put differently, cultural evolutionary processes can in principle stabilise behavioural differences between groups, which in turn could lead selection pressures to vary across cultural groups. Separating the effects of culture from other confounds, however, is often a daunting, sometimes intractable challenge for the working empiricist. To meet this challenge, we exploit a cultural border dividing Switzerland in ways that are independent of institutional, environmental, and genetic variation. Using a regression discontinuity design, we estimate discontinuities at the border in terms of preferences related to fertility and mortality, the two basic components of genetic fitness. We specifically select six referenda related to health and fertility and analyse differences in the proportion of yes votes across municipalities on the two sides of the border. Our results show multiple discontinuities and thus indicate a potential role of culture to shape preferences and choices related to individual health and fertility. These findings further suggest that at least one of the two groups, in order to uphold its cultural values, has supported policies that could impose fitness costs on individuals in the group.
    Keywords: gene-culture coevolution, cultural evolution, social learning, cultural variation, fitness, cultural border, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: Z10 Z13 D72 I18
    Date: 2023

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