nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒10‒09
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Clubs and Networks in Economic Reviewing By Carrell, Scott; Figlio, David; Lusher, Lester
  2. The Behavioral Mechanisms of Voluntary Cooperation across Culturally Diverse Societies: Evidence from the US, the UK, Morocco, and Turkey By Weber, Till O.; Schulz, Jonathan F.; Beranek, Benjamin; Lambarraa-Lehnhardt, Fatima; Gächter, Simon
  3. Freedom of Expression and Social Conflict By Bjørnskov, Christian; Mchangama, Jacob
  4. Cash Transfers, Trust, and Inter-household Transfers: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania By David K. Evans; Katrina Kosec
  5. Peer Effects Heterogeneity and Social Networks in Education By Livia Shkoza; Derya Uysal; Winfried Pohlmeier
  6. Protests, Long-term Preferences, and Populism. Evidence from 1968 in Europe By Fazio, Andrea
  7. Protests By Davide Cantoni; Andrew Kao; David Y. Yang; Noam Yuchtman
  8. Prison Labor: The Price of Prisons and the Lasting Effects of Incarceration By Belinda Archibong; Nonso Obikili
  9. Immigration, Female Labour Supply and Local Cultural Norms By Jessen, Jonas; Schmitz, Sophia; Weinhardt, Felix
  10. Your Friends, Your Credit: Social Capital Measures Derived from Social Media and the Credit Market By Jesse Bricker; Geng Li
  11. If You Do Not Change Your Behavior: Preventive Repression in Lithuania under Soviet Rule By Nazrullaeva, Eugenia; Harrison, Mark

  1. By: Carrell, Scott; Figlio, David; Lusher, Lester
    Abstract: We study how author-editor and author-reviewer network connectivity and "match" influence editor decisions and reviewer recommendations of economic research at the Journal of Human Resources. Our empirical strategy employs several dimensions of fixed effects to overcome concerns of endogenous assignment of papers to editors and reviewers. Authors who attended the same PhD program, were ever colleagues with, are affiliates of the same National Bureau of Economic Research program(s), or are more closely linked via coauthorship networks as the handling editor are significantly more likely to avoid a desk rejection. Likewise, authors from the same PhD program or who previously worked with the reviewer are significantly more likely to receive a positive evaluation. We also find that sharing "signals" of ability, such as publishing in the "top five", attending a high ranked PhD program, or being employed by a similarly ranked economics department, significantly influences editor decisions and/or reviewer recommendations. We find some evidence that published papers with greater author-editor connectivity subsequently receive fewer citations.
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Weber, Till O. (Newcastle University); Schulz, Jonathan F. (George Mason University); Beranek, Benjamin (Missouri State University); Lambarraa-Lehnhardt, Fatima (ZALF - Centre for Agricultural Landscape and Land Use Research); Gächter, Simon (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We examine the role of cooperative preferences, beliefs, and punishments to uncover potential cross-societal differences in voluntary cooperation. Using one-shot public goods experiments in four comparable subject pools from the US and the UK (two similar Western societies) and Morocco and Turkey (two comparable non-Western societies), we find that cooperation is lower in Morocco and Turkey than in the UK and the US. Using the ABC approach - in which cooperative attitudes and beliefs explain cooperation - we show that cooperation is mostly driven by differences in beliefs rather than cooperative preferences or peer punishment, both of which are similar across the four subject pools. Our methodology is generalizable across subject pools and highlights the central role of beliefs in explaining differences in voluntary cooperation within and across culturally, economically, and institutionally diverse societies. Because our behavioral mechanisms correctly predict actual contributions, we argue that our approach provides a suitable methodology for analyzing the determinants of voluntary cooperation of any group of interest.
    Keywords: cross-cultural experiments, punishment, beliefs, conditional cooperation, ABC method, voluntary cooperation, public goods, WEIRD societies
    JEL: C9 H4 C7 D2
    Date: 2023–08
  3. By: Bjørnskov, Christian (Department of Economics, Aarhus University, and); Mchangama, Jacob (Future of Free Speech Project, Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: The association between freedom of expression – freedom of speech and the freedom of the media – and social conflict is theoretically ambiguous and politically highly contested. On one side of the debate, people argue that freedom of speech and freedom of the media create social conflict by giving people and organized interests the opportunity to disagree in public, creating visible conflicts and enabling people to insult and incite hatred against other groups and attempt to marginalize them. On the other side of the political debate, the proponents of the freedom of expression argue that free speech and free media act as safety valves that allow substantial disagreement to be expressed in a peaceful manner instead of turning into violence, enabling deliberation among different groups, and furthering the understanding and potential acceptance of substantially different points of view. In this paper, we therefore take the association to the test. We combine data on freedom of expression from the V-Dem database and conflict data from the Banks dataset with additional data on economic performance and political institutions. In a large panel dataset, we find evidence of a negative association between the freedom of expression and social conflict. Further tests suggest that this association is specific to countries with democratic political institutions while the empirical association in autocracies is ambiguous.
    Keywords: Freedom of expression; Freedom of speech; Freedom of the media; Civil rights; Violence; Unrest; Conflict
    JEL: K38
    Date: 2023–09–21
  4. By: David K. Evans (Center for Global Development); Katrina Kosec (FPRI)
    Abstract: Institutionalized conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs may affect important aspects of pre-existing, informal safety nets such as inter-household transfers and trust among community members. We use a randomized controlled trial to test the impact of CCTs on various measures of trust and informal safety nets within communities in Tanzania. We find evidence that the introduction of a CCT program increased program beneficiaries’ trust in other community members and their perceived ability to access support from other households (e.g., childcare). Although CCTs reduced the total size of transfers to beneficiary households in the community in the short run (after 1.75 years of transfers), that reduction had disappeared 2.75 years after transfers began. Taken together, our evidence suggests that formal CCT programs do not necessarily crowd out informal safety nets in the longer term, and they may in fact boost trust and support across households.
    Keywords: conditional cash transfers, informal safety nets, service delivery, trust
    JEL: H31 H55 I38 O12 O15
    Date: 2022–11–17
  5. By: Livia Shkoza (University of Konstanz, GSDS); Derya Uysal (University of Munich, CESifo); Winfried Pohlmeier (University of Konstanz, CASCB, ICEA)
    Abstract: This study focuses on the role of heterogeneity in network peer effects by accounting for network-specific factors and different driving mechanisms of peer behavior. We propose a novel Multivariate Instrumental Variable (MVIV) estimator which is consistent for a large number of networks keeping the individual network size bounded. We apply this approach to estimate peer effects on school achievement exploiting the network structure of friendships within classrooms. The empirical evidence presented is based on a unique network dataset from German upper secondary schools. We show that accounting for heterogeneity is not only crucial from a statistical perspective, but also yields new structural insights into how class size and gender composition affect school achievement through peer behavior.
    Keywords: network heterogeneity; peer effects; multivariate instrumental variables; minimum distance estimation; school achievement;
    JEL: D85 L14 I21 C30 C36
    Date: 2023–09–06
  6. By: Fazio, Andrea
    Abstract: In 1968, young people grew up in an atmosphere of strong dissatisfaction and distrust against the status quo. We show that higher exposure to protests in 1968 leads to higher dissatisfaction toward national governments and raises the probability of voting for populist parties. Consistently with the impressionable years hypothesis, we find these effects valid only for those aged between 18 and 25 during 1968. Our results are robust to a series of placebo tests and to alternative definitions of our treatment and control groups. We find that our results are driven by individuals with a middle or low level of education. We also find suggestive evidence that the mechanisms driving our results can depend on individuals' level of education: within our treated cohort people with an elementary level of education appear more attracted by the populist rhetoric, while people with a middle level of education are more likely to care about traditional values.
    Keywords: Populism, 1968 Protests, Log-term Preferences, Impressionable years
    JEL: P16 D72 Z10
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Davide Cantoni; Andrew Kao; David Y. Yang; Noam Yuchtman
    Abstract: Citizens have long taken to the streets to demand change, expressing political views that may otherwise be suppressed. Protests have produced change at local, national, and international scales, including spectacular moments of political and social transformation. We document five new empirical patterns describing 1.2 million protest events across 218 countries between 1980 and 2020. First, autocracies and weak democracies experienced a trend break in protests during the Arab Spring. Second, protest movements also rose in importance following the Arab Spring. Third, protest movements geographically diffuse over time, spiking to their peak, before falling off. Fourth, a country’s year-to-year economic performance is not strongly correlated with protests; individual values are predictive of protest participation. Fifth, the US, China, and Russia are the most over-represented countries by their share of academic studies. We discuss each pattern’s connections to the existing literature and anticipate paths for future work.
    JEL: P0
    Date: 2023–08
  8. By: Belinda Archibong; Nonso Obikili
    Abstract: Institutions of justice, like prisons, can be used to serve economic and other extrajudicial interests, with lasting deleterious effects. We study the effects on incarceration when prisoners are primarily used as a source of labor using evidence from British colonial Nigeria. We digitized 65 years of archival records on prisons from 1920 to 1995 and provide new estimates on the value of colonial prison labor and the effects of labor demand shocks on incarceration. We find that prison labor was economically valuable to the colonial regime, making up a significant share of colonial public works expenditure. Positive economic shocks increased incarceration rates over the colonial period. This result is reversed in the postcolonial period, where prison labor is not a notable feature of state public finance. We document a significant reduction in present-day trust in legal institutions, such as the police, in areas with high historical exposure to colonial imprisonment; the resulting reduction in trust is specific to legal institutions.
    JEL: H5 J47 N37 O10 O43
    Date: 2023–08
  9. By: Jessen, Jonas (IZA); Schmitz, Sophia (Federal Institute for Population Research); Weinhardt, Felix (European University Viadrina, Frankfurt / Oder)
    Abstract: We study the local evolution of female labour supply and cultural norms in West Germany in reaction to the sudden presence of East Germans who migrated to the West after reunication. These migrants grew up with high rates of maternal employment, whereas West German families mostly followed the traditional breadwinner-housewife model. We find that West German women increase their labour supply and that this holds within households. We provide additional evidence on stated gender norms, West-East friendships, intermarriage, and child care infrastructure. The dynamic evolution of the effects on labour supply is best explained by local cultural learning.
    Keywords: cultural norms, local learning, gender, immigration
    JEL: J16 J21 D1
    Date: 2023–09
  10. By: Jesse Bricker; Geng Li
    Abstract: Chetty et al. (2022a) introduced an array of social capital measures derived from Facebook friendships and found that one of these indicators, economic connectedness (EC), predicted upward income mobility well. Bricker and Li (2017) proposed the average credit score of a community's residents as an indicator of local social trust. We show in this paper that the average credit scores are robustly correlated with EC, negatively correlated with the friending-bias measure introduced in Chetty et al. (2022b), and predict economic mobility to a comparable extent after controlling for EC. The consistency and complementarity between these two indicators, despite being derived from individuals' activities in distinct contexts, underscore trust as a crucial component of social capital and provide insights that are useful for understanding the formation and accumulation of social capital.
    Keywords: social trust; social capital; economic mobility; credit score
    JEL: D14 G10 G41 G50
    Date: 2023–07
  11. By: Nazrullaeva, Eugenia (School of Public Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science; CAGE, University of Warwick); Harrison, Mark (Department of Economics and CAGE, University of Warwick; CEPR)
    Abstract: Who is targeted by preventive repression and why? In the Soviet Union, the KGB applied a form of low-intensity preventive policing, called profilaktika. Citizens found to be engaging in politically and socially disruptive misdemeanors were invited to discuss their behavior and to receive a warning. Using novel data from Lithuania, a former Soviet republic, in the late 1950s and the 1970s, we study the profile and behaviors of the citizens who became subjects of interest to the KGB. We use topic modeling to investigate the operational focuses of profilaktika. We find that profilaktika began as a way of managing specific threats or “known risks†that arose from the experience of postwar Sovietization. The proportion of “unknown risks†– people without risk factors in their background or personal records – increased by the 1970s. These people were targeted because of their anti-Soviet behaviour, which the KGB attributed to “contagious†foreign influences and the spread of harmful values.
    Keywords: coercion, communism, preventive repression, security, social norms, surveillance, Soviet Union JEL Classification: N44, P37
    Date: 2023

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