nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒09‒25
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. ALL IS NOT LOST: Organized Crime and Social Capital Formation By Paolo Buonanno; Irene Ferrari; Alessandro Saia
  2. Social Capital and Economic Growth: A Meta-Analysis By Xindong Xue; W. Robert Reed; Robbie C.M. van Aert
  3. The Role of Social Costs in Response to Labor Market Opportunities: Differences across Race By Kalee Burns; Julie L. Hotchkiss
  4. State Capacity as an Organizational Problem. Evidence from the Growth of the U.S. State Over 100 Years By Nicola Mastrorocco; Edoardo Teso
  5. Female Leadership and Workplace Climate By Alan, Sule; Corekcioglu, Gozde; Kaba, Mustafa; Sutter, Matthias
  6. Learning from the Origins By Yarkin, Alexander
  7. Is participatory democracy in line with social protest? Evidence from the French Yellow Vests movement By Benjamin Monnery; François-Charles Wolff
  8. Preaching to the agnostic: Inflation reporting can increase trust in the central bank but only among people with weak priors By Bernd Hayo; Pierre-Guillaume Méon
  9. 'Ask not what your country can do for you': Legacies of the Great Recession and the consequences of the 'trust crisis' By Alia Aghajanian; Rute Martins Caeiro; Eva-Maria Egger; Patricia Justino; Maria C. Lo Bue
  10. Plata y Plomo: How Higher Wages Expose Politicians to Criminal Violence By Massimo Pulejo; Pablo Querubín
  11. Teen Social Interactions and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie; Wulff Pabilonia, Sabrina

  1. By: Paolo Buonanno; Irene Ferrari (Department of Economics, University Of Venice CÃ Foscari; NETSPAR); Alessandro Saia (Department of Economics, University Of Bologna)
    Abstract: We investigate how a disruptive social event, namely the emergence of organized crime infiltration in the local government, shapes social capital. We exploit the dismissal of city councils infiltrated by organized crime and a novel and fine-grained measure of social capital in Italy. Using a difference-indifferences strategy, we show that municipalities’ dissolution is associated with a significant and sizable increase in social capital. We document the mechanisms through which the presence of organized crime affects social capital, including trust diversion, changes in civic engagement, and its impact on local institutions and governance.
    Keywords: organized crime, social capital, Italy, 5 per Mille
    JEL: A13 D73 H71 K42 Z18
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Xindong Xue; W. Robert Reed (University of Canterbury); Robbie C.M. van Aert
    Abstract: This research provides a comprehensive, quantitative synthesis of the empirical literature on social capital and economic growth. It assesses 993 estimates from 81 studies. Utilizing a variety of estimation procedures, we draw the following conclusions: There is strong evidence to indicate that publication bias distorts the empirical literature, causing estimates of social capital's effects to be overstated. Initial, unadjusted estimates are positive, generally moderately sized, and consistently statistically significant. Correcting for publication bias reduces these estimates by half or more. Our preferred estimates indicate that the effects of social capital on economic growth, though statistically significant, are very small. This highlights that an uncritical acceptance of the empirical literature can lead to an inflated perception of the importance of social capital. Analysis of the different types of social capital (cognitive, structural, other) finds little evidence of differences in growth effects. Further investigation of moderating factors finds that most have estimated effects that are generally small to negligible, though social capital appears to have a substantially smaller effect on economic growth in the US compared to other parts of the world.
    Keywords: Social capital, Economic growth, Cognitive social capital, Structural social capital, Meta-analysis, Meta-regression, Publication Bias
    JEL: B40 O31 O40 O47 R11 Z10
    Date: 2023–08–01
  3. By: Kalee Burns; Julie L. Hotchkiss
    Abstract: Using the American Community Survey between 2005 and 2019, this paper investigates the role constraints to migration might play in explaining racial/ethnic disparities in the labor market. We find that Black workers are typically less responsive than White workers to changes in job opportunities, but responsiveness increases when those opportunities present themselves in locations with a higher share own-minority population. We construct an education/race specific Bartik shift-share instrument to control for potential endogeneity of growth in job opportunities.
    Keywords: racial labor market disparities; migration costs; Delta index; social costs; place-based; people-based; mismatch
    JEL: J61 J15 J18
    Date: 2023–07–14
  4. By: Nicola Mastrorocco; Edoardo Teso
    Abstract: We study how the organization of the state evolves over the process of development of a nation, using a new dataset on the internal organization of the U.S. federal bureaucracy over 1817-1905. First, we show a series of facts, describing how the size of the state, its presence across the territory, and its key organizational features evolved over the nineteenth century. Second, exploiting the staggered expansion of the railroad and telegraph networks across space, we show that the ability of politicians to monitor state agents throughout the territory is an important driver of these facts: locations with lower transportation and communication costs with Washington DC have more state presence, are delegated more decision power, and have lower employee turnover. The results suggest that high monitoring costs are associated with small, personalistic state organizations based on networks of trust; technological shocks lowering monitoring costs facilitate the emergence of modern bureaucratic states.
    JEL: D73 M51 N41 P0
    Date: 2023–08
  5. By: Alan, Sule (European University Institute); Corekcioglu, Gozde (Kadir Has University); Kaba, Mustafa (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Sutter, Matthias (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Using data from over 2, 000 professionals in 24 large corporations, we show that female leaders shape the relational culture in the workplace dierently than male leaders. Males form homophilic professional ties under male leadership, but female leadership disrupts this pattern, creating a less segregated workplace. Female leaders are more likely to establish professional support links with their subordinates. Under female leadership, female employees are less likely to quit their jobs but no more likely to get promoted. Our results suggest that increasing female presence in leadership positions may be an effective way to mitigate toxic relational culture in the workplace.
    Keywords: female leadership, workplace climate, social networks
    JEL: C93 J16 M14
    Date: 2023–08
  6. By: Yarkin, Alexander
    Abstract: How do political preferences and voting behaviors respond to information coming from abroad? Focusing on the international migration network, I document that opinion changes at the origins spill over to 1st- and 2nd-generation immigrants abroad. Local diasporas, social media, and family ties to the origins facilitate the transmission, while social integration at destination weakens it. Using the variation in the magnitude, timing, and type of origin-country exposure to the European Refugee Crisis of 2015, I show that salient events trigger learning from the origins. Welcoming asylum policies at the origins decrease opposition to non-Europeans and far-right voting abroad. Transitory refugee flows through the origins send abroad the backlash. Data from Google Trends and Facebook suggests elevated attention to events at the origins and communication with like-minded groups as mechanisms. Similar spillovers following the passage of same-sex marriage laws show the phenomenon generalizes beyond refugee attitudes.
    Keywords: Immigration, Social Networks, Spillovers, Political Attitudes, Integration
    JEL: O15 Z13 D72 D83 P00 J61 F22
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Benjamin Monnery; François-Charles Wolff
    Abstract: Participatory democracy and public consultations are increasingly being used to shape public policy or resolve political issues. In France, the Grand Débat was launched in early 2019 as a democratic response to the Yellow Vests movement, a massive grassroots social protest. With more than 500, 000 participants, the Grand Débat platform was interpreted as a popular success by the government and the media, but little is known about which citizens expressed their opinions online. Although participants on the platform were anonymous and only answered public policy questions, we are able to infer their support for the Yellow Vests movement by using a second platform (a Facebook app) that asks similar questions as well as support for the Yellow Vests. We find that a large majority of participants in the Grand Débat did not support the Yellow Vests movement, in contrast to the general population at the time. This is evidence of a strong self-selection of participants on political grounds, resulting in a biased representation of French public opinion.
    Keywords: participatory democracy; social protest; public opinion; selection on observables and unobservables
    JEL: D71 D72 C53
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Bernd Hayo; Pierre-Guillaume Méon
    Abstract: Using a randomized controlled trial, we study whether showing German respondents a graph plotting the European Central Bank’s inflation target alongside inflation in the euro area from 1999 to 2017 affects respondents’ trust in the ECB. The treatment has, on average, no significant effect on the level of trust in the ECB respondents report, but trust increases among respondents who report no preference for any political party. Within this group, the information about the actual development of the inflation rate, and not information about the inflation target itself, appears to be the main driving force.
    Keywords: Central bank trust; European Central Bank; Central bank communication; Monetary policy; Germany; Household survey; RCT
    JEL: E52 E58 Z10
    Date: 2023–08–31
  9. By: Alia Aghajanian; Rute Martins Caeiro; Eva-Maria Egger; Patricia Justino; Maria C. Lo Bue
    Abstract: This paper investigates how persistent changes in trust caused by the Great Recession have affected how governments and citizens across Europe responded to the next global crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic. We show that increases in individualism and mistrust towards institutions caused by individual exposure to the 2007-08 global financial crisis across European regions shaped citizens' responses to public health policies to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic almost 15 years later.
    Keywords: Trust, Social contract, Recession, Public health, COVID-19
    Date: 2023
  10. By: Massimo Pulejo; Pablo Querubín
    Abstract: Adequate wages are an important tool to shield public officials from special interests and corruption. But what is the equilibrium effect of higher wages in the presence of criminal pressure groups, who use both bribes and violence? By means of a regression discontinuity design, we show that an increase in the remuneration of Italian municipal cabinets triggers a sizable and significant increase in criminal attacks against their members. We argue that this is triggered by higher-paid officials' lower likelihood of catering to criminal interests. In particular, we show that better-paid politicians are significantly more likely to prevent corruption in public procurement, a key area of illicit interactions between the state and criminal organizations. Additional analyses reveal that the disciplining effect of wages is driven by a change in incumbents' behavior rather than improved selection. These findings reveal how -- in the presence of criminal groups -- higher wages may limit corruption, but also foster the use of violence as an alternative tool to influence policymaking.
    JEL: D72 D74 H72
    Date: 2023–08
  11. By: Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie; Wulff Pabilonia, Sabrina
    Abstract: Adolescence is an important developmental period when teens begin spending less time with their parents and more time with friends and others outside their households as they transition into adulthood. Using the 2017-2021 American Time Use Surveys and the 2012, 2013, and 2021 Well-being Modules, we examine how the time teens spent alone and with parents, friends, and others changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding light on how the social isolation of the pandemic disrupted this crucial development period. We also examine how time spent on various activities changed during the pandemic. Teens spent more time alone during the pandemic than before and spent more of their leisure time alone, with large increases in time spent playing computer games, on social media, and watching TV. Results suggest that socializing and communicating with others improves teens' well-being over other activities. Thus, teens' well-being was severely impacted by the pandemic.
    Keywords: teens, adolescents, COVID-19, well-being, time use, gaming
    JEL: J13 J22
    Date: 2023

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