nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2005‒10‒08
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universitá degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Tax Evasion and the Importance of Trust By Hammar, Henrik; Jagers, Sverker; Nordblom, Katarina
  2. Religious Extremism: The Good, The Bad, and The Deadly By Eli Berman; Laurence R. Iannaccone
  3. Capacità innovativa e sviluppo locale. Un confronto Nord Est - Nord Ovest. By Eliana Baici; Cinzia Mainini
  4. Determinanti ed esiti dei processi innovativi: i modelli del Nord Est By Cinzia Mainini
  5. Inside the Black Box of ‘Industrial Atmosphere’: Knowledge and Information Networks in an Italian wine local system By Andrea Morrison
  6. Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement By Thomas S. Dee
  7. Paternal Uncertainty and the Economics of Mating, Marriage, and Parental Investment in Children By Dirk Bethmann; Michael Kvasnicka
  8. Co-Evolution of Information Revolution and Spread of Democracy By Walter Frisch

  1. By: Hammar, Henrik (Department of Economics, Göteborg University and National Institute of Economic Research (NIER)); Jagers, Sverker (Department of Political Science, Göteborg University); Nordblom, Katarina (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law)
    Abstract: Unless people pay the taxes they are obliged to pay, a general welfare state will eventually collapse. Thus, for the welfare state to survive in the long run, tax compliance is of utmost importance. Using Swedish individual survey data we analyze which factors affect the perception of tax evasion. The analysis is conducted on ten different taxes and the results differ widely. Hence, we show that it is important to study different taxes separately rather than treating tax evasion as one common phenomenon. In this paper we focus on the importance of different kinds of trust. Whether or not people in general are regarded as trustworthy only has a minor impact on perceived tax evasion. Instead, what matters is trust or distrust in politicians. People who distrust the parliament are more likely than others to think that tax evasion is common, and the result holds for most of the taxes studied. This may have severe long-run consequences for the welfare state. If people stop trusting their leading politicians, social norms about tax compliance deteriorate and the possibilities of collecting taxes for maintain- ing the welfare state are reduced. <p>
    Keywords: trust in politicians; generalized trust; social capital; general welfare state; tax policy; tax compliance
    JEL: H11 H26 Z13
    Date: 2005–09–27
  2. By: Eli Berman; Laurence R. Iannaccone
    Abstract: This paper challenges conventional views of violent religious extremism, particularly those that emphasize militant theology. We offer an alternative analysis that helps explain the persistent demand for religion, the different types of religious that naturally arise, and the special attributes of the “sectarian” type. Sects are adept at producing club goods both spiritual and material. Where governments and economies function poorly, sects often become major suppliers of social services, political action, and coercive force. Their success as providers is much more due to the advantages of their organizational structure than it is to their theology. Religious militancy is most effectively controlled through a combination of policies that raise the direct costs of violence, foster religious competition, improve social services, and encourage private enterprise.
    JEL: Z12 H56 H41 K4
    Date: 2005–10
  3. By: Eliana Baici (SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont); Cinzia Mainini (SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont)
    Abstract: Alla luce dei numerosi contributi offerti dalla letteratura e nell’intento di migliorare le capacità di lettura delle economie locali in vista della attuazione di politiche di sviluppo sempre più imperniate sulle peculiarità del contesto ed orientate al conseguimento di superiori livelli di benessere, il presente lavoro si propone di descrivere e quantificare la capacità innovativa dei sistemi regionali del Nord Italia. Un’attenzione particolare viene rivolta all’analisi delle performance innovative e al loro impatto in termini socio-economici, dando vita ad un confronto tra l’area nord-occidentale e quella nord-orientale. Il lavoro utilizza una pluralità di indicatori di input ed output, nonché relativi alle condizioni di contesto potenzialmente idonei ad influenzare le dinamiche innovative, ponendo così l’accento non solo sulla molteplicità delle dimensioni coinvolte e degli esiti ottenibili, ma anche sulla sistemicità del processo e quindi sulla imprescindibilità di un esame congiunto del maggior numero possibile di variabili, attori ed interazioni in gioco.
    Keywords: sviluppo locale, capacità innovativa, benessere
    Date: 2004–09
  4. By: Cinzia Mainini (SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont)
    Abstract: Il presente lavoro si propone di offrire un contributo all’analisi comparativa dei modelli innovativi e dei sentieri di crescita dei sistemi regionali del Nord Italia, mirando ad approfondire il tema delle variabili che concorrono alla definizione delle loro performance; esso fornisce una rappresentazione tanto dei risultati conseguiti in termini statici e dinamici, quanto degli elementi caratterizzanti le singole realtà, focalizzando, nel caso specifico, l’attenzione sui sistemi della parte nord orientale della penisola. La metodologia utilizzata nella presentazione dei dati mira a realizzare un confronto tra le diverse aree, nell’intento non solo di identificare le regioni maggiormente virtuose, ma anche di esplicitare i fattori specifici su cui si fonda il vantaggio relativo di cui queste godono
    Keywords: sviluppo locale, sistemi innovativi regionali, best practice
    Date: 2005–02
  5. By: Andrea Morrison (SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont)
    Abstract: A well-grounded empirical and theoretical literature shows that local production systems can benefit from external economies generated by a shared ‘industrial atmosphere’. Many scholars would agree that in contexts as industrial districts, clusters and local systems, economic actions are strongly embedded in social and institutional factors. Nevertheless, many scholars would instead debate about the nature, boundaries and processes underpinning ‘industrial atmosphere’. This paper aims at contributing to this field of studies by entering into the black box of the ‘industrial atmosphere’ reconstructing the informal contacts underpinning collective learning in a local production system. The study is based on empirical evidence collected at firm level in a an Italian wine local system and uses methods of network analysis
    Date: 2005–07
  6. By: Thomas S. Dee
    Abstract: In the United States, girls outperform boys in measures of reading achievement while generally underperforming in science and mathematics. One major class of explanations for these gaps involves the gender-based interactions between students and teachers (e.g., role-model and Pygmalion effects). However, the evidence on whether these interactions actually matter is limited and contradictory. In this study, I present new empirical evidence on whether assignment to a same-gender teacher influences student achievement, teacher perceptions of student performance, and student engagement. This study's identification strategy exploits a unique "matched pairs" feature of a major longitudinal survey. Within-student comparisons based on these data indicate that assignment to a same-gender teacher significantly improves the achievement of both girls and boys as well as teacher perceptions of student performance and student engagement with the teacher's subject. For example, assignment to a female science teacher increases the likelihood that a girl views science as useful for her future. However, because the middle-school teachers in most academic subjects are female, these results also suggest that the gender dynamics between teachers and students at this level amplify boys' large underperformance in reading while attenuating the more modest underperformance of girls in math and science.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2005–10
  7. By: Dirk Bethmann (Humboldt-University Berlin); Michael Kvasnicka (Humboldt-University Berlin)
    Abstract: We develop a theoretical model of mating behavior and parental investment in children under asymmetry in kin recognition between men and women that provides a microfoundation for the institution of marriage. In the model, men and women derive utility from consumption and reproductive success, which is a function of the number and quality of own offspring. Because of paternal uncertainty, men unlike women may err in investing resources in offspring that is not biologically theirs. As a socially sanctioned commitment device among partners, the institution of marriage reduces this risk by restraining promiscuity in society. Both women and men are shown to benefit from lower levels of paternal uncertainty, as does average child quality because of increased parental investments. As an analytical framework, the model is suitable to study a number of societal, economic, and technological changes in their effects on marriage patterns. A combination of factors is argued to underlie the demise of marriage.
    Keywords: Mating, Paternal Uncertainty, Parental Investment, Marriage
    JEL: D10 J12 J13
    Date: 2005–10–04
  8. By: Walter Frisch (Institut of Government, University Vienna- Austria)
    Abstract: This is a short summary of a recent survey [FR03] focusing on the observed evidence, that Internet connectivity is positively correlated with spread of democracy at high levels of significance. The results of multivariate correlation analysis and probabilities regression estimate models are based on the combined analysis of mid - 1991’s, to 2001 data series of the Eurostat’s and US Census Bureau, the World Bank, and OECD’s statistical data service which track the growth of information technology and rating of freedom and democracy worldwide.
    Keywords: Spread of Democracy,Internet connectivity, correlation analysis,
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–10–02

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