nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2005‒09‒29
twenty papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universitá degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. No Black Box and No Black Hole: from Social Capital to Gift Exchange By Dolfsma, W.; Eijk, A.R. van der; Jolink, A.
  2. Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education and Crime By Calvó-Armengol, Antoni; Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
  3. Does Social Capital Improve Labour Productivity in Small and Medium Enterprises? By Fabio Sabatini
  4. Identifying the Socioeconomic Determinants of Crime in Spanish Provinces By Paolo Buonanno and Daniel Montolio
  5. Job Contact Networks and the Ethnic Minorities By Battu, Harminder; Seaman, Paul T; Zenou, Yves
  6. Knowledge sharing in an Emerging Network of Practice: The Role of a Knowledge Portal By Baalen, P.J. van; Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J.M.; Heck, E. van
  7. The trust game behind the veil of ignorance : a note on gender differences By Vyrastekova,Jana; Onderstal,Sander
  8. A coordination game to elicit social networks: 3 classroom experiments By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Ramón Cobo-Reyes; Natalia Jiménez; Giovanni Ponti
  9. The Resilient Society: On volunteering, civil society and corporate community involvement in transition By Meijs, L.C.P.M.
  10. Firm, market economy and social responsibility By Argandoña, Antonio
  11. Risk-Sharing Networks By Yann Bramoullé; Rachel Kranon
  12. Abracadabra! Social Norms and Public Perceptions through Harry Potter’s Looking Glasses By Avichai Snir; Daniel Levy
  13. Innovators, Imitators, and the Evolving Architecture of Social Networks By Joseph E. Harrington, Jr
  14. Reciprocity of Knowledge Flows in Internal Network Forms of Organizing By Wijk, R.A.J.L. van; Bosch, F.A.J. van den; Volberda, H.W.; Heinhuis, S.M.
  15. Social embeddedness in low-income markets: Influential factors and positive outcomes By Sanchez, Pablo; Rodriguez, Miguel A.; Ricart, Joan E.
  16. An Empirical Investigation of the Relationships among a Consumer’s Personal Values, Ethical Ideology and Ethical Beliefs By S. STEENHAUT; P. VAN KENHOVE
  17. In Search of Stars: Network Formation among Heterogeneous Agents By Goeree,Jacob K.; Riedl,Arno; Ule,Aljaz
  18. The Roots of Low European Employment: Family Culture? By Algan, Yann; Cahuc, Pierre
  19. Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience By Fernández, Raquel; Fogli, Alessandra
  20. The European Social Survey. Methodological Aspects By Anna Cuxart; Clara Riba

  1. By: Dolfsma, W.; Eijk, A.R. van der; Jolink, A. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we draw on the literature about gift exchange to suggest a conceptualization of the emergence, maintenance and use of social capital (SK). We thus open up the black box of how social relations are established, and are able to indicate what can be meaningfully ascribed to social capital. Social capital as a concept cannot be invoked at will to explain situations that are primarily perceived as favorable. Instead, when the way in which social capital emerges, maintained and used is conceptually clarified, it becomes clear that situations perceived as unfavorable can be ascribed to SK as well, and it becomes clear that SK cannot be drawn on at will, by just anybody. SK resides in what we call a social capital community.
    Keywords: Social Capital;Gifts;Reciprocity;Social Exchange;Social Capital Community;
    Date: 2005–06–09
  2. By: Calvó-Armengol, Antoni; Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: This paper studies whether structural properties of friendship networks affect individual outcomes in education and crime. We first develop a model that shows that, at the Nash equilibrium, the outcome of each individual embedded in a network is proportional to her Bonacich centrality measure. This measure takes into account both direct and indirect friends of each individual but puts less weight on her distant friends. Using a very detailed dataset of adolescent friendship networks, we show that, after controlling for observable individual characteristics and unobservable network specific factors, the individual's position in a network (as measured by her Bonacich centrality) is a key determinant of her level of activity. A standard deviation increase in the Bonacich centrality increases the level of individual delinquency by 45% of one standard deviation and the pupil school performance by 34% of one standard deviation.
    Keywords: centrality measure; delinquency; network structure; peer influence; school performance
    JEL: A14 I21 K42
    Date: 2005–09
  3. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza & University of Cassino)
    Abstract: This paper carries out an empirical assessment of the relationship between social capital and labour productivity in small and medium enterprises in Italy. By means of structural equations models, the analysis investigates the effect of different aspects of the multifaceted concept of social capital. While the bonding social capital of strong family ties seems to be irrelevant, the bridging social capital of weak ties connecting friends and acquaintances is proved to exert a significant and positive influence both on labour productivity and on human development.
    Keywords: Labour productivity, Small and medium enterprises, Social capital, Social networks, Structural equations models
    JEL: J24 R11 O15 O18
    Date: 2005–09–14
  4. By: Paolo Buonanno and Daniel Montolio (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: In this paper we study, having as theoretical reference the economic model of crime (Becker, 1968; Ehrlich, 1973), which are the socioeconomic and demographic determinants of crime in Spain paying attention on the role of provincial peculiarities. We estimate a crime equation using a panel dataset of Spanish provinces (NUTS3) for the period 1993 to 1999 employing the GMM-system estimator. Empirical results suggest that lagged crime rate and clear-up rate are positively correlated to all typologies of crime rate considered. Property crimes are better explained by socioeconomic variables (GDP per capita, GDP growth rate and percentage of population with high school and university degree), while demographic factors reveal important and significant influences, in particular for crimes against the person. These results are obtained using an instrumental variable approach that takes advantage of the dynamic properties of our dataset to control for both measurement errors in crime data and joint endogeneity of the explanatory variables.
    Keywords: Crime, Socioeconomic factors, Panel Data.
    JEL: I2 J24 K42
    Date: 2005
  5. By: Battu, Harminder; Seaman, Paul T; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: This paper examines the job finding methods of different ethnic groups in the UK. The theoretical framework shows that less-assimilated ethnic unemployed workers are more likely to use their friends and family as their main method of search but they have less chance of finding a job using this method compared to whites and more assimilated ethnic unemployed workers that use formal job search methods (adverts, employment agencies, etc.). Using data from the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), we test these hypotheses. Our empirical findings are consistent with the theory since they suggest that, though networks are a popular method of finding a job for the ethnic minorities, they are not necessarily the most effective either in terms of gaining employment or in terms of the level of job achieved. However, there are important differences across ethnic groups with the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups and those born outside the UK (the least assimilated), losing out disproportionately from using personal networks.
    Keywords: ethnic disadvantage; job search; networks; social capital
    JEL: J15 J64
    Date: 2005–09
  6. By: Baalen, P.J. van; Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J.M.; Heck, E. van (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: This article addresses the emergence of networks of practice and the role of knowledge sharing via knowledge portals. Its focus is on factors that stimulate the successful emergence of networks of practice. Literature on knowledge management and communities of practice suggest the preexistence of shared knowledge or a shared believe system as a condition sine qua non for the networks of practice to emerge. We challenge this assumption and argue and demonstrate that common knowledge and believe systems are rather a result of knowledge sharing instead of a pre-condition. The central question is how a knowledge portal facilitates the diffusion of knowledge among rather loosely coupled and often disconnected innovation projects. Research is carried out in the agricultural industry in the Netherlands. In this industry there is a need to change from a product-oriented to a problemoriented innovation structure. The set up of a platform and knowledge portal around agro-logistics – crossing different product-oriented production clusters – was therefore a logical result. It gave the opportunity to analyze what the impact of a knowledge portal is in a situation that people and projects come from different organizations that do not know each other. Do they start to share knowledge and what are the conditions? With regard to the case study of the knowledge portal in the agricultural industry we conclude that a knowledge portal will have an impact on how projects are sharing knowledge and on the emergence of a network of practice. The results show that preconditions for the emergence of a network of practice are sense of urgency and fragmented awareness. These results also indicate the important role of a knowledge broker. The developed knowledge portal seems to lead to overcoming structural holes and a closer cognitive distance among the projects. However, we did not find a direct effect of the knowledge portal on sharing tacit knowledge. In the initial phase of a network of practice the knowledge exchange seems to focus on general, non-project specific and explicit knowledge. There was also no direct effect of the knowledge portal on the reciprocity of knowledge exchange among the projects. However, knowledge was shared between the project level and the platform and public level. Conclusions and directions for future research are formulated.
    Keywords: Agro-logistics, Innovation Projects, Knowledge Portal, Knowledge;
    Date: 2005–03–08
  7. By: Vyrastekova,Jana; Onderstal,Sander (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We analyse gender differences in the trust game in a "behind the veil of ignorance" design. This method yields strategies that are consistent with actions observed in the classical trust game experiments. We observe that, on averge, men and women do not differ in "trust", and that women are slightly more "trustworthy". However, men's strategies are bimodal, peaking at the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium and the Pareto efficient frontier, while women's strategies are single peaked at moderate tranfers. Moreover, if a man [woman] exhibits low trust, he [she] is likely to be a money-maximizer [a risk or betrayal averse reciprocator].
    Keywords: trust game;experiment;strategy method behind the veil of ignorance; gender differences
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2005
  8. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada); Ramón Cobo-Reyes (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada); Natalia Jiménez (Universidad de Alicante); Giovanni Ponti (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: Experiments of social networks basically focus on coordination and cooperation games. Surprisingly, the economic literature does not provide a useful procedure to obtain existent networks. This paper proposes an innovative mechanism to elicit latent social networks. Subjects belonging to three different groups are invited to reveal their friends’ name and surname. In addition, they also have to define a score for each relationship. The latter, is one of the main innovations of our device. We obtained that a very large percentage of links sent are corresponded. According to our original purpose, this mechanism largely captures friendship relations and practically ignores weak relations. In order to further analyze individuals behavior, a model of friend—regarding preferences is developed.
    Keywords: friendship, networks, experiments, other—regarding preferences.
    JEL: C93 D85 Z13
    Date: 2005–09–12
  9. By: Meijs, L.C.P.M. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: Changes in the Dutch non-profit regime necessitate the direct participation of citizens and businesses in non-profit organisations. Dutch society must re-invent the commitment of citizens, businesses, foundations, universities and various other organisations by increasing both ‘community capacity’ and ‘management capacity’. ‘Community capacity’ and ‘management capacity’ are important building blocks in the arena of involvement. The resilient society: On volunteering, civil society and corporate community involvement in transition is an exploration of the arena of involvement with regard to research agendas: 1) corporate community involvement as a component of community capacity and 2) non-profit management as a component of ‘management capacity’. Community capacity represents the possibility of a society to make a contribution that must become more private and ‘voluntary’. The address outlines various means to this end, including corporate community involvement on the part of businesses, ‘service learning’ as an instructional tool in universities and the integration of ‘social internships’ as a component of the general high school curriculum. Management capacity represents the possibility of (non-profit) organisations to work with new forms of community capacity, for example by improving accountability and volunteer management. The address concludes by using the metaphor of a slot machine to present a new conceptualisation of volunteer management that can also be applied to other relations between non-profit organisations, civil society and corporations.
    Keywords: volunteering;non-profit management;corporate community involvement;civil society;Corporate social responsibility;service learning;capacity building;community involvement;non-profit organisations;;
    Date: 2005–03–08
  10. By: Argandoña, Antonio (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: In January 2005, The Economist published a survey on corporate social responsibility (CSR), joining a long-running debate on the meaning and need for CSR in a market economy. The British weekly's thesis, widely accepted among economists, was first stated years ago by Milton Friedman (1962): a firm that maximizes its profits while acting within the law and the ethical rules that are intrinsic to a market economy is fulfilling all of its social and moral responsibilities and need not abide by any other type of constraint or demand. However, this thesis is disputed by many other authors. This article seeks to answer the question of whether there is a role for CSR in the economic paradigm. Obviously, it does not pretend to give a final answer but simply to set forth the reasons that will enable each person to arrive at his or her own answer. The first part discusses the economic arguments about maximizing value for the owner and society and viewing the firm as a nexus of contracts. The second part discusses the different arguments about the possible role of CSR in the economic paradigm. The article ends with the conclusions.
    Keywords: Contracts; Corporate social responsibility; Efficiency; Ethics; Value maximization;
    Date: 2005–07–21
  11. By: Yann Bramoullé; Rachel Kranon
    Abstract: This paper considers the formation of risk-sharing networks. Following empirical findings, we build a model where risk-sharing takes place between pairs of individuals. We ask what structures emerge when pairs can agree to form links, but people cannot coordinate links across a population. We consider a benchmark model where identical individuals commit to share their monetary holdings equally with linked partners. We compare efficient networks to equilibrium networks. Efficient networks can (indirectly) connect all individuals and involve full insurance. However, equilibrium networks connect fewer individuals. There is an externality: when breaking a link individuals do not take into account the negative effect on others distant in the network. The network formation process can lead identical individuals to be in different positions and thus have different risk-sharing outcomes. These results may help explain empirical findings that risk-sharing is often not symmetric or complete.
    Keywords: Informal insurance, social networks
    JEL: O17 D85 Z13
    Date: 2005
  12. By: Avichai Snir (Bar-Ilan University); Daniel Levy (Bar-Ilan University)
    Abstract: Economic organization of the imaginary worlds depicted in popular literary works may be viewed as a mirror to public opinion on the economic organization of life. If a book becomes a best-seller, it is because the book conveys messages, feelings, and events the readers can relate to. In other words, the book’s readers identify with the set of norms and rules that govern the development of the plot and the actions of its heroes. Therefore, a best seller, as a book that successfully relates to readers of its time, can teach us on the norms and believes of its audience. Following this line of thought, we use the method of deconstruction to analyze the highly successful J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series. Studying the books within their social context allows us to learn about people’s norms, and their perceptions of issues such as the role of government, the structure of financial markets, poverty and inequality, etc. Thus, by looking at the Potterian economy through magnifying glasses, we obtain a perspective on what people might view as an ideal economic structure. Some aspects of this ideal world, we find, are quite different from the real world.
    Keywords: Social Norms, Social Organization of Economic Activity, Harry Potter, Literature
    JEL: A13
    Date: 2005–09–21
  13. By: Joseph E. Harrington, Jr
    Abstract: Scientific progress is driven by innovation — which serves to produce a diversity of ideas — and imitation through a social network — which serves to diffuse these ideas. In this paper, we develop an agent-based computational model of this process, in which the agents in the population are heterogeneous in their abilities to innovate and imitate. The model incorporates three primary forces — the discovery of new ideas by those with superior abilities to innovate, the observation and adoption of these ideas by those with superior abilities to communicate and imitate, and the endogenous development of social networks among heterogeneous agents. The objective is to explore the evolving architecture of social networks and the critical roles that the innovators and imitators play in the process. A central finding is that the emergent social network takes a chainstructure with the innovators as the main source of ideas and the imitators as the connectors between the innovators and the masses. The impact of agent heterogeneity and environmental volatility on the network architecture is also characterized.
    Date: 2005–09
  14. By: Wijk, R.A.J.L. van; Bosch, F.A.J. van den; Volberda, H.W.; Heinhuis, S.M. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: Fundamental changes in the competitive landscape triggered many firms to leverage and build competencies by focusing on transition processes towards internal network forms of organizing. These forms ameliorate exploration through knowledge creation and transfer. Internal networks are characterized by horizontal knowledge flows that supplement and supplant the vertical knowledge flows that characterize other organization forms like the functional and multi-divisional forms. As these horizontal knowledge flows facilitate knowledge integration, internal networks have an advantage over other organization forms in leveraging and building competencies. One characteristic that makes these horizontal knowledge flows work is the reciprocity ensuing them. Reciprocity relates to the interdependence and coordination modes that characterize internal networks. As reciprocity is influenced by managerial coordination, by the intention to deploy knowledge, and by goal attainment, creating and maintaining reciprocity of knowledge flows can be considered as a managerial competence. In this paper, the attributes of organization form that impact the reciprocity in a firm are explored from structural, managerial and knowledge perspectives. Hypotheses are developed which suggest that specialization and the use of formal meetings restrict reciprocity, whereas job rotation, the number of employees with a coordination function, and teams have a positive effect on the level of reciprocity. These hypotheses are tested by means of a questionnaire administered in a business unit of a multinational financial services firm. Reciprocity of knowledge flows was found to be dependent on the characteristics mentioned above in a predicted way. Since none of the hypotheses needed to be rejected, the evidence suggests that reciprocity is a fundamental feature of internal networks and the horizontal knowledge flows that characterize them. This suggests reciprocity to be an important managerial competence.
    Keywords: Competence leveraging and building;Internal networks;Organizational attributes;Reciprocity of knowledge flows;Knowledge integration;
    Date: 2005–05–10
  15. By: Sanchez, Pablo (IESE Business School); Rodriguez, Miguel A. (IESE Business School); Ricart, Joan E. (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: Strategy in low-income markets is a new but emerging field of international strategy research. Because low-income markets remain largely unexplored and unknown to most companies, it has been argued that developing embedded ties and alliances with traditional and non-traditional partners is critical in order to better understand customer needs and market characteristics. Following this logic, the purpose of this paper is to explore the antecedents and consequences of developing a capability in social embeddedness in low-income markets. Using a multiple-case inductive analysis of business ventures and their embedded ties and partnerships in this context, we propose an emergent theoretical framework to explain the factors that influence the development of such a capability and its positive outcomes. Our findings suggest that a firm has a greater incentive to build embedded ties and partnerships under three conditions: when the market-oriented ecosystem is underdeveloped; when the firm's psychic distance with respect to low-income markets is high; and when the firm offers a large number of product complementarities. A capability in social embeddedness can be beneficial for obtaining fine-grained information, increasing operational efficiency, gaining trust and legitimacy, and having prior access to new markets. At the same time, the social network in which a firm is embedded gives access to network resources that can provide competitive advantage.
    Keywords: Low-income markets; social embeddedness; networks;
    Date: 2005–06–15
    Abstract: This study provides an additional partial test of the Hunt-Vitell theory (1986, 1993) within the consumer ethics context. Using structural equation modeling, the relationships among an individual’s personal values (conceptualized by the typology of Schwartz, 1992), ethical ideology and ethical beliefs are investigated. The validity of the model is assessed in a two-step procedure. First, a measurement model of constructs is tested for key validity dimensions. Next, the hypothesized causal relationships are examined in several path models, comparing no mediation, partial and complete mediation effects of ethical ideology. The empirical results indicate that individual differences in value priorities (resultant conservation and resultant selfenhancement) directly and indirectly (through idealism) influence the judgment of ethically questionable consumer practices. These findings may significantly contribute to the theoretical understanding of ethical decision-making.
    Keywords: Conservation versus openness to change, Consumer ethics, Ethical beliefs, Ethical decision making, Ethical ideology, Idealism, Lisrel, Personal values, Relativism, Self-enhancement versus self-transcendence, Structural equation modeling
    Date: 2005–07
  17. By: Goeree,Jacob K.; Riedl,Arno; Ule,Aljaz (METEOR)
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of a laboratory experiments on network formation among heterogeneous agents. The experimental design extends the basic Bala-Goyal (2000) model of network formation with decay and two-way flow of benefits by allowing for agents with lower linking costs or higher benefits to others. We consider treatments where agents’ types are common knowledge and treatments where agents’ types are private information. In all treatments, the (efficient) equilibrium network has a “star” structure. We find that with homogeneous agents, equilibrium predictions fail completely. In Contrast, with heterogeneous agents stars frequently occur, often with the high-value or low- cost agent in the center. Stars are not borne but rather develop: in treatments with a high-value agents, the network’s centrality, stability, and efficiency all increase over time. Our results suggest that agents’ heterogeneity is a major determinant for the predominance of star-like structures in real-life social networks.
    Keywords: microeconomics ;
    Date: 2005
  18. By: Algan, Yann; Cahuc, Pierre
    Abstract: OECD countries faced largely divergent employment rates during the last decades. But the whole bulk of the cross-national and cross-temporal heterogeneity relies on specific demographic groups: prime-age women and younger and older individuals. This paper argues that family labour supply interactions and cross-country heterogeneity in family culture are key for explaining these stylized facts. First we provide a simple labour supply model in which heterogeneity in family preferences can account for cross-country variations in both the level and the dynamics of employment rates of demographic groups. Second, we provide evidence based on international individual surveys that family attitudes do differ across countries and are largely shaped by national features. We also document that cross-country differences in family culture cause cross-national differences in family attitudes. Studying the correlation between employment rates and family attitudes, we then show that the stronger preferences for family activities in European countries may explain both their lower female employment rate and the fall in the employment rates of young and older people.
    Keywords: culture; employment rate; family attitudes
    JEL: J21 J22 Z13
    Date: 2005–08
  19. By: Fernández, Raquel; Fogli, Alessandra
    Abstract: This paper attempts to disentangle the direct effects of experience from those of culture in determining fertility. We use the GSS to examine the fertility of women born in the US but from different ethnic backgrounds. We take lagged values of the total fertility rate in woman’s country of ancestry as the cultural proxy and use the woman’s number of siblings capture her direct family experience. We find that both variables are significant determinants of fertility, even after controlling for several individual and family-level characteristics.
    Keywords: cultural transmission; family; fertility; immigrants
    JEL: J13 J16 Z10
    Date: 2005–09
  20. By: Anna Cuxart; Clara Riba
    Abstract: From a scientific point of view, surveys are undoubtedly a valuable tool for the knowledge of the social and political reality. They are widely used in the social sciences research. However, the researcher's task is often disturbed by a series of deficiencies related to some technical aspects that make difficult both the inference and the comparison. The main aim of the present paper is to report and justify the European Social Survey's technical specifications addressed to avoid and/or minimize such deficiencies. The article also gives a characterization of the non-respondents in Spain obtained from the analysis of the 2002 fieldwork data file.
    Keywords: European Social Survey, comparative studies, fieldwork, non-respondents
    JEL: C42
    Date: 2004–10

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