nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒09‒18
six papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Activating Change: The Role of Information and Beliefs in Social Activism By Afridi, Farzana; Basistha, Ahana; Dhillon, Amrita; Serra, Danila
  2. The Role of Social Connections in the Racial Segregation of US Cities By Tanner Regan; Andreas Diemer; Cheng Keat Tang
  3. Violent Conflict and Parochial Trust: Lab-in-the-Field and Survey Evidence By Werner, Katharina; Skali, Ahmed
  4. Societal trust and Sukuk activity By Saqib Aziz; Dawood Ashraf; Rwan El-Khatib
  5. Collective Sanction Enforcement: New Experimental Evidence from Two Societies By Kenju Kamei; Smriti Sharma; Matthew J. Walker
  6. Critical mass in collective action By Ginzburg, Boris; Guerra, Jose Alberto; Lekfuangfu, Warn N.

  1. By: Afridi, Farzana (Indian Statistical Institute); Basistha, Ahana (Indian Statistical Institute); Dhillon, Amrita (King's College London); Serra, Danila (Texas A&M University)
    Abstract: What motivates individuals to participate in social activism? Do awareness campaigns and information about others' willingness to act play a role? We conduct an online experiment within a survey of nearly 2000 Indian men, focusing on activism to combat health sector fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic. In different treatment groups, we either provide information about the social problem, correct misaligned beliefs about others' willingness to act, or both. Participants are then cross-randomized to engage in one of three forms of activism: signing a petition, making a donation to an NGO fighting for the cause, or watching a video on ways to support the cause. We also experimentally examine the impact of allowing subjects to choose between the three forms of activism. Providing information and correcting downward biased beliefs about others increases petition signing, but has no impact on donations and video viewing. Giving participants a choice of actions decreases the probability of any single action being taken up. Our comprehensive examination of the factors influencing engagement in different forms of activism within a unified framework generates insights on the motivations behind participation in collective efforts for social change.
    Keywords: activism, information, beliefs, experiment
    JEL: D73 D83 I15 P0
    Date: 2023–07
  2. By: Tanner Regan (George Washington University); Andreas Diemer (Stockholm University); Cheng Keat Tang (Nanyang Technological University)
    Abstract: We study the extent of segregation in the social space of urban America. We measure segregation as the (lack of) actual personal connections between groups as opposed to conventional measures based on own neighbourhood composition. We distinguish social segregation from geographical definitions of segregation, and build and compare city-level indices of each. Conditional on residential segregation, cities with more institutions that foster social cohesion (churches and community associations) are less socially segregated. Looking at within-city variation across neighbourhoods, growing up more socially exposed to non-white neighbourhoods is related to various adulthood outcomes (jailed, income rank, married, and non-migrant) for black individuals. Social exposure to non-white neighbourhoods is always related to worsening adulthood outcomes in neighbourhoods that are majority non-white. Our results suggest that social connections, beyond residential location or other spatial relationships, are important for understanding the effective segregation of race in America.
    Keywords: Segregation; Social Networks; US cities
    JEL: R23 J15
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Werner, Katharina; Skali, Ahmed
    Abstract: How does conflict exposure affect trust? We hypothesize that direct (first-hand) experience with conflict induces parochialism: trust towards out-groups worsens, but trust towards in-groups, owing to positive experiences of kin solidarity, may improve. Indirect exposure to conflict through third-party accounts, on the other hand, reduces trust toward everyone. We find consistent support for our hypotheses in a lab-in-the-field experiment in Maluku, Indonesia, which witnessed a salient Christian-Muslim conflict during 1999-2002, as well as in three cross-country datasets exploiting temporal and spatial variation in exposure to violence. Our results help resolve a seeming contradiction in the literature and inform policies on resolving conflicts.
    Keywords: trust, conflict, direct exposure, indirect exposure, religion, discrimination
    JEL: C93 D74 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Saqib Aziz (ESC [Rennes] - ESC Rennes School of Business); Dawood Ashraf; Rwan El-Khatib (Zayed University)
    Abstract: Sukuk investments require investors and issuers to adhere to subtle moral and ethical standards beyond following mere profit maximization objectives. Investor trust manifested through the level of societal trust could be vital in the global Sukuk investment surge. This study investigates the relationship between the societal trust level and Sukuk activity. It employs a global sample of Sukuk issuances spanning over 2001–2019 and finds that a country's societal trust level significantly and positively influences the amount of Sukuk issued. Moreover, this positive effect supersedes the negative effects of higher information asymmetry associated with equity-based Sukuk or Sukuk issued by risky firms. Ultimately, trust is both a deterrent and critical for Islamic finance success.
    Keywords: Trust, Sukuk, Islamic finance, Information asymmetry, Culture
    Date: 2021–09
  5. By: Kenju Kamei (Faculty of Economics, Keio University); Smriti Sharma (Business School, Newcastle University); Matthew J. Walker (Business School, Newcastle University)
    Abstract: Sanction enforcement offers the potential to mitigate free riding on punishment among multiple third parties. Cross-societal differences in the effectiveness of sanction enforcement may be explained by factors rooted in cultural evolution. This paper provides the first experiment to study third-party enforcement of punishment norms with and without opportunities for higher-order punishment by selecting two different societies in terms of the degree of ancestral kinship ties: India and the United Kingdom. In both societies, third parties strongly inflict punishment when they encounter a norm violation, and a third party's failure to punish the norm violator invites higher-order punishment from their fellow third parties. These behavioral patterns are consistent with a model of social preferences and literature from anthropology and theoretical biology. On the other hand, two clear cross-societal variation emerges. First, third-party enforcement is stronger in the UK than in India. Parallel to this behavioral pattern, a supplementary survey also validates the conjecture that people in a society with looser ancestral kinship ties (the UK) are relatively more willing to engage in pro-social punishment. Second, intriguingly, the group size effect varies across the two societies: whereas third parties free ride on others' punitive acts in the UK, they punish more when in the presence of other third parties in India.
    Keywords: Experiment, Cross-societal variation, Public Goods, Third-party punishment, Higher-order
    JEL: C92 H41 D01 D91
    Date: 2023–08–21
  6. By: Ginzburg, Boris (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Guerra, Jose Alberto (Universidad de los Andes); Lekfuangfu, Warn N. (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    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, raising the required threshold 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 D91 H41
    Date: 2023–08–08

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