nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2005‒12‒20
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universitá degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. The Role of Social Capital in Economic Development. Investigating the Causal Nexus through Structural Equations Models By Fabio Sabatini
  2. Does Social Capital Improve Labour Productivity in Small and Medium Enterprises? By Fabio Sabatini
  3. Social Capital, Public Spending and the Quality of Economic Development. The Case of Italy By Fabio Sabatini
  4. The empirics of social capital and economic development. A critical perspective By Fabio Sabatini
  5. The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach By Alexander W. Cappelen; Astri D. Hole; Erik Ø. Sørensen; Bertil Tungodden
  6. How Do People Learn by Listening to Others? Experimental Evidence from Thailand By Andrew Healy
  7. Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance. By Andrew E. Clark; Orsolya Lelkes
  8. Believe but Verify? Russian Views and the Market By Andrew Austin; Tatyana Kosyaeva; Nathaniel Wilcox
  9. Hours of Work and Gender Identity: Does Part-Time Work Make the Family Happier? By Alison L. Booth; Jan C. van Ours
  10. Social Policies and Employment of Married Women in Europe By Daniela Del Boca; Silvia Pasqua
  11. A constitutional theory of the family By Alessandro Cigno
  12. The Relationship between Buyer and a B2B e-Marketplace: Cooperation Determinants in an Electronic Market Context By Lancastre, Andrew; Lages, Luis Filipe

  1. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics)
    Abstract: This paper carries out an empirical assessment of the causal nexus connecting social capital’s diverse aspects to the “quality” of economic development in Italy. The analysis accounts for three main social capital dimensions (i.e. bonding, bridging and linking social capital) and measures them through synthetic indicators built by means of principal component analyses performed on a dataset including multiple variables. The quality of development is measured through human development and indicators of the state of health of urban ecosystems, public services, social protection, gender equality, and labour markets. The causal relationship between social capital’s and development’s different dimensions is then assessed through structural equations models. The analysis in this paper provides relevant a proof of Putnam’s claims on the positive role of civil society organizations in development processes.
    Keywords: Social capital, Social networks, Civil Society, Economic development, Social quality, Labour precariousness, Structural Equations Modelling
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–12–11
  2. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics)
    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, Industrial organization, Social capital, Social networks, Structural equations models
    JEL: J24 R11 O15 O18
    Date: 2005–12–16
  3. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics)
    Abstract: This paper carries out an empirical assessment of the relationship between social capital and the quality of economic development in Italy. The analysis draws on a dataset collected by the author including about two hundred variables representing different aspects of economic development and four “structural” dimensions of social capital. The quality of development is measured through human development and indicators of the state of health of urban ecosystems, public services, gender equality, and labour markets, while social capital is measured through synthetic indicators representing strong family ties, weak informal ties, voluntary organizations, and political participation. The quality of development exhibits a strong positive correlation with bridging weak ties and a negative correlation with strong family ties. Particularly, the analysis shows a strong correlation between informal ties and an indicator of “social well-being” (synthesizing gender equality, public services and labour markets) and between voluntary organizations and the state of health of urban ecosystems. Active political participation proves to be irrelevant in terms of development and well-being. Finally, the role of public spending for education, health care, welfare work, and the environment protection is analysed, revealing a scarce correlation both with social capital and development indicators.
    Keywords: Social capital, Social networks, Public spending, Economic development, Human development, Principal component analysis
    JEL: O15 O18 R11
    Date: 2005–12–11
  4. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics)
    Abstract: This paper provides an introduction to the concept of social capital, and carries out a critical review of the empirical literature on social capital and economic development. The survey points out six main weaknesses affecting the empirics of social capital. Identified weaknesses are then used to analyze, in a critical perspective, some prominent empirical studies and new interesting researches published in last two years. The need emerges to acknowledge, also within the empirical research, the multidimensional, context-dependent and dynamic nature of social capital. The survey also underlines that, although it has gained a certain popularity in the empirical research, the use of “indirect” indicators may be misleading. Such measures do not represent social capital’s key components identified by the theoretical literature, and their use causes a considerable confusion about what social capital is, as distinct from its outcomes, and what the relationship between social capital and its outcomes may be. Research reliant upon an outcome of social capital as an indicator of it will necessarily find social capital to be related to that outcome. This paper suggests to focus the empirical research firstly on the “structural” aspects of the concept, therefore excluding by the measurement toolbox all indicators referring to social capital’s supposed outcomes.
    Keywords: Social capital, Social networks, Social norms, Trust, Economic development, Relation of economics to other disciplines, Relation of economics to social values
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–12–16
  5. By: Alexander W. Cappelen; Astri D. Hole; Erik Ø. Sørensen; Bertil Tungodden
    Abstract: A core question in the contemporary debate on distributive justice is how the fair distribution of income is affected by differences in talent and effort. Important theories of distributive justice, such as strict egalitarianism, liberal egalitarianism and libertarianism, all give different answers to this question. This paper presents the results from a version of the dictator game where the distribution phase is preceded by a production phase. Each player’s contribution is a result of an exogenously given talent and a chosen effort. We estimate simultaneously the prevalence of three main principles of distributive justice among the players as well as the distribution of weights they attach to fairness considerations.
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2005
  6. By: Andrew Healy (Loyola Marymount University)
    Abstract: This paper presents experimental evidence about how individuals learn from information that comes from inside versus outside their ethnic group. In the experiment, Thai subjects observed information that came from Americans and other Thais that they could use to help them answer a series of questions. Two main findings emerge. First, subjects display overconfidence in their own opinions and place too low a value on the information that they observe. Second, conditional on this overconfidence, subjects weigh American information relative to Thai information in a nearly optimal way. The data also indicates that subjects appear to understand that outside information has extra value because people from different groups know different things and so have an opportunity to learn from each other.
    Keywords: laboratory experiment, economic development, Bayesian updating, behavioral economics, learning
    JEL: C11 C53 C91 D83 O10 Q16
    Date: 2005–12–16
  7. By: Andrew E. Clark; Orsolya Lelkes
    Abstract: This paper focusses on the insurance role of religion in buffering the well-being impact of stressful life events, and the ensuing economic and social implications. Using two large-scale European data sets, we show that the religious enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction, and that religion does insure against some adverse life events. All denominations suffer less psychological harm from unemployment than do the non-religious; equally both Catholics and Protestants are less hurt by marital separation. However, while Protestants are protected against divorce, Catholics are punished for it. These results do not seem to come about from the endogeneity of religion. These patterns in subjective well-being correspond to data on both attitudes (the religious are both anti-divorce and anti-job creation for the unemployed) and behaviour (the religious unemployed are less likely to be actively looking for work). In panel data, as implied by insurance, the religious have less variation in life satisfaction. Last, we suggest that religion's insurance role might be reflected in support for different economic and social systems: consistent with this, unemployment replacement rates across Europe are lower in more religious countries.
    Date: 2005
  8. By: Andrew Austin; Tatyana Kosyaeva; Nathaniel Wilcox
    Abstract: Prominent analysts argue that the Russian reform process has gone badly because Russian attitudes towards the market mechanism fundamentally differ from those in the West. Others strenuously dispute this. We combine surveys and a double auction experiment to investigate Russian beliefs about how markets work. Beliefs about the likelihood that economic theory would predict outcomes were elicited before (‘ex ante’) and after (‘ex post’) the double auction. Women, graduates of general secondary schools, children of Orthodox parents and children of entrepreneurs are more skeptical ex ante. Having observed the trading results women, children of Orthodox parents and children of entrepreneurs become less skeptical. Graduates of general secondary schools remain relatively skeptical ex post. Measures of political orientation are weakly associated with beliefs, and sociodemographic characteristics, such as occupation, income and parents’ education, have no detectable effect on beliefs about the predictive value of economic theory.
    Date: 2005–11
  9. By: Alison L. Booth (Australian National University, CEPR and IZA Bonn); Jan C. van Ours (Tilburg University, CentER, CEPR and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Taking into account inter-dependence within the family, we investigate the relationship between part-time work and happiness. We use panel data from the new Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey. Our analysis indicates that part-time women are more satisfied with working hours than full-time women. Partnered women’s life satisfaction is increased if their partners work full-time. Male partners’ life satisfaction is unaffected by their partners' market hours but is increased if they themselves are working full-time. This finding is consistent with the gender identity hypothesis of Akerlof and Kranton (2000).
    Keywords: part-time work, happiness, gender identity
    JEL: J22 I31 J16
    Date: 2005–12
  10. By: Daniela Del Boca; Silvia Pasqua
    Abstract: The analysis of the temporal and cross-country patterns of women’s labour market participation and fertility shows how several factors affect the compatibility between childrearing and work (labour market characteristics, social services, and family wealth). The most significant factors which facilitate reconciliation of childrearing and work are the opportunities for part-time arrangements, the availability of childcare and parental leave options. The combination of these options seems to allow different solutions for combining work with having children. Empirical evidence and comparative results show that it is more difficult to combine work and having children in Southern Europe than in the rest of Europe.
    Keywords: labor, market, participation, fertility
    JEL: J2 C3 D1
    Date: 2005–12
  11. By: Alessandro Cigno
    Abstract: The paper re-examines the idea that a family can be viewed as a community governed by a self-enforcing constitution, and extends existing results in two directions. First, it identi?es circumstances in which a constitution is renegotiation-proof. Second, it introduces parental altruism. The behavioural and policy implications are illustrated by showing the effects of public pensions and credit rationing. These implications are not much affected by whether altruism is assumed or not, but contrast sharply with the predictions of more conventional models.
    Keywords: families, self-enforcing constitutions, renegotiation-proofness, altruism, fertility, saving, transfers, attention, pensions, credit rationing
    JEL: C72 D13 D71 D74 D91 H55 J13 J14
    Date: 2005–05
  12. By: Lancastre, Andrew; Lages, Luis Filipe
    Abstract: In this article, the authors argue that cooperation may be achieved by adding technology dimensions to the core product. Given the growing importance of real time information exchange and interactivity, a better understanding of the use of technology to the establishment and development of the buyer-supplier cooperative relationships is essential for knowledge advancement. Using a sample of nearly 400 SMEs purchasing managers, this paper reveals that in an electronic market context, cooperation is positively affected by termination costs, supplier policies and practices, communication and information exchange, and negatively affected by product prices and opportunistic behavior. Moreover, both relationship commitment and trust play a major role in mediating the relationships between these five determinants and cooperation.
    Keywords: relationship marketing, trust, cooperation, electronic markets, e-commerce
    Date: 2004

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