nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2023‒11‒06
three papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Does Citizen Participation in Budget Allocation Pay? A Survey Experiment on Political Trust and Participatory Governance By Ardanaz, Martín; Otálvaro-Ramírez, Susana; Scartascini, Carlos
  2. The Effect of a Crisis on Trust and Willingness to Reform: Evidence from Survey Panels in Argentina and Uruguay By Bonvecchi, Alejandro; Calvo, Ernesto; Otálvaro-Ramírez, Susana; Scartascini, Carlos
  3. When Product Markets Become Collective Traps: The Case of Social Media By Leonardo Bursztyn; Benjamin R. Handel; Rafael Jimenez; Christopher Roth

  1. By: Ardanaz, Martín; Otálvaro-Ramírez, Susana; Scartascini, Carlos
    Abstract: Participatory programs can reduce the informational and power asymmetries that engender mistrust. These programs, however, cannot include every citizen. Hence, it is important to evaluate not only if they affect allocations and trust among those who participate, but also if they could also affect trust among those who do not participate. We assess the effect of an informational campaign about these programs in the context of a survey experiment conducted in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Results show that providing detailed information about a participatory budget initiative shapes voters' assessments of government performance and political trust. Effects are larger for individuals with ex ante more negative views about the local governments quality and for individuals who believe in the ability of their communities to solve the type of collective-action problems that the program seeks to address. Because mistrustful individuals tend to shy away from demanding the government public goods that increase overall welfare, well-disseminated participatory budget programs could affect budget allocations directly and through their effect on trust. Investing in these programs could be worthwhile.
    Keywords: Participatory governance;Collective decision-making;Trust;Survey experiment;Local governments
    JEL: C90 D70 D90 H72 P16
    Date: 2022–06
  2. By: Bonvecchi, Alejandro; Calvo, Ernesto; Otálvaro-Ramírez, Susana; Scartascini, Carlos
    Abstract: Does exposure to crises reduce the citizens trust in a countrys president? Are individuals willing to accept fiscal reforms and make personal economic sacrifices if it would help the country to leave the crisis faster? We take advantage of two survey panels in Argentina and Uruguay, with a first wave fielded before COVID-19 (the crisis studied here) and a second wave a year later during the pandemic. Results provide no evidence of a decline in trust after the individual's health was compromised by COVID-19. We find mixed evidence of support for higher personal sacrifices. These results are relevant for understanding how voters' experience with COVID affects their trust in the government and whether crises could be prudent times for reforms. The results highlight the importance of having multi-country panel data for evaluating the impact of crises on trust.
    Keywords: Trust;Crises;Fiscal reforms;COVID-19;Health crisis
    JEL: H0 D72 D91
    Date: 2022–07
  3. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; Benjamin R. Handel; Rafael Jimenez; Christopher Roth
    Abstract: Individuals might experience negative utility from not consuming a popular product. For example, being inactive on social media can lead to social exclusion or not owning luxury brands can be associated with having a low social status. We show that, in the presence of such spillovers to non-users, standard measures that take aggregate consumption as given fail to appropriately capture welfare. We propose a new methodology to measure welfare that accounts for these consumption spillovers, which we apply to estimate the consumer surplus of two popular social media platforms, TikTok and Instagram. In large-scale, incentivized experiments with college students, we show that, while the standard welfare measure suggests a large and positive surplus, our measure accounting for consumption spillovers indicates a negative surplus, with a large share of active users deriving negative utility. We also shed light on the drivers of consumption spillovers to non-users in the case of social media and show that, in this setting, the “fear of missing out” plays an important role. Our framework and estimates highlight the possibility of product market traps, where large shares of consumers are trapped in an inefficient equilibrium and would prefer the product not to exist.
    JEL: D62 D91
    Date: 2023–10

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