nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒01‒01
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universitá degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. The Demand for Social Interaction By Henry Saffer
  2. Social capital, labour precariousness and the economic performance. An empirical assessment of the strength of weak ties in Italy By Fabio Sabatini
  3. Localized Learning and Social Capital: The Geography Effect in Technological and Institutional Dynamics By Mark Lorenzen
  4. Denominational Schism: An Economic Perspective By Mehmet Karacuka; Martin Leroch
  5. Informational Complexity and the Flow of Knowledge across social boundaries By Olav Sorenson; Jan W. Rivkin; Lee Fleming
  6. Tax Avoidance, Endogenous Social Norms, and the Comparison Income Effect By Alessandro Balestrino
  7. Collaborative Networks in Experimental Triopolies By Anthony Ziegelmeyer; Katinka Pantz
  8. Community-campus partnerships for economic development: community perspectives By Anna Afshar
  9. A complex network approach to urban growth By Claes Andersson; Koen Frenken; Alexander Hellervik
  10. Un atlante del capitale sociale italiano By Fabio Sabatini
  11. Le capital social et les associations : <br />Tests économétriques sur des données de commerçants de produits vivriers du Bénin By Mourad Ayouz; Zakari Tassou
  12. Capital social y desarrollo en zonas rurales By Eduardo Mayano Estrada
  13. Los jóvenes en Uruguay: salud y redes sociales. Uruguay 2004 By Zuleika Ferre; Cecilia González; Máximo Rossi; Patricia Triunfo
  14. The Component Fairness Solution for Cycle- Free Graph Games By Herings,P. Jean-Jacques; Laan,Gerard,van der; Talman,Dolf
  15. Inequality Aversion in Ultimatum Games with Asymmetric Conflict Payoffs - A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis - By Sven Fischer
  16. Buying Organic Food in France : Shopping Habits and Trust By Lucie Sirieix; Brigitte Schaer
  17. Will I see you at work? Ethnic workplace segregation in Sweden 1985–2002* By Åslund, Olof; Nordström Skans, Oskar

  1. By: Henry Saffer
    Abstract: In this paper social interaction is modeled as a consumer good. Social interaction may provide an externality in the form of social capital, but the primary reason that individuals engage in social interaction is that these activities directly yield utility. It is important to note that some measures of social interaction show declines while many do not. A model of household production is employed to derive the demand for social interaction. The model shows that the demand for social interaction is a function of its price, the price of other goods and income. The role of children and marriage in social interaction can also be explained in the model. The theory is tested with data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and the results show that social interaction can be explained as the consequence of utility maximizing behavior by individuals. Increases in education generally increase memberships but reduce visiting with relatives and friends. Increases in income generally increase memberships and some forms of visiting. The model predicts 70 percent, or more, of the time trends in social interaction. These results are in contrast to social capital theorists who have focused on the declines in social interaction and who have attributed these changes to factors such as increased community heterogeneity and increased television viewing.
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2005–12
  2. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics)
    Abstract: This paper carries out an assessment of the influence that different kinds of social ties exert on labour precariousness, on the state of health of urban environments and on the economic performance in Italy. Overall, the empirical evidence shows that weak ties connecting members of voluntary organizations positively affect the economic performance and the quality of urban ecosystems, differently from strong ties connecting family members and close friends, which, on the other side, are proved to reduce labour precariousness.
    Keywords: Social capital, Social networks, Civil society, Economic development, Labour precariousness, Structural Equations Modelling
    JEL: J
    Date: 2005–12–22
  3. By: Mark Lorenzen
    Abstract: Providing a concise working definition of social capital, this conceptual paper analyses why social capital is important for learning and economic development, why it has a regional dimension, and how it is created. It argues that with the rise of the Knowledge Economy, social capital is becoming valuable because it organizes markets, lowering business firms’ costs of coordinating and allowing them to flexibly connect and reconnect. Thus, it serves as a social framework for localized learning in both breadth and depth. The paper suggests that a range of social phenomena such as altruism, trust, participation, and inclusion, are created when a matrix of various social relations is combined with particular normative and cognitive social institutions that facilitate cooperation and reciprocity. Such a matrix of social relations, plus facilitating institutions, is what the paper defines as “social capital”. The paper further suggests that social capital is formed at the regional (rather than national or international) level, because it is at this level we find the densest matrices of social relations. The paper also offers a discussion of how regional policies may be suited for promoting social capital.
    Keywords: Social capital; knowledge economy; regional dimension
    JEL: D83 Z13
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Mehmet Karacuka (Ege University); Martin Leroch (University of Hamburg)
    Abstract: In this paper we present an economic model contributing to the explanation of religious schism, a topic mostly dealt with in the fields of sociology and psychology so far. The main idea is to see religious groups as networks. These networks may serve as a device for exchanging information about and via other members. Two effects are implied by this view. On the one hand, the more members a network has, the more anonymous it gets, meaning that the signals one can receive about the type of some other are getting worse. On the other hand, the larger a network is, the more potentially valuable information is available. A modernizing economy is characterized by an increasing number of transactions with an increasing number of partners, leading to increasing transaction costs. It might be profitable for groups to split up in this economic environment in order to economize on these transaction costs. In our view, our findings also contribute to the explanation of the so-called Kelley Thesis, stating that religious movements with stricter enforcement of their behavioural norms are growing in size, while such with rather liberal attitudes toward their norm enforcement face a loss of members. Historical and empirical results supporting our line of argument are presented.
    Keywords: Religion, Schism, Social Norms, Social Capital, Social Networks
    JEL: O17
    Date: 2005–12–20
  5. By: Olav Sorenson; Jan W. Rivkin; Lee Fleming
    Abstract: Scholars from a variety of backgrounds – economists, sociologists, strategists, and students of technology management – have sought a better understanding of why some knowledge disperses widely while other knowledge does not. In this quest, some researchers have focused on the characteristics of the knowledge itself (e.g., Polanyi, 1966; Reed and DeFillippi, 1990; Zander and Kogut, 1995) while others have emphasized the social networks that constrain and enable the flow of knowledge (e.g., Coleman et al., 1957; Davis and Greve, 1997). This chapter examines the interplay between these two factors. Specifically, we consider how the complexity of knowledge and the density of social relations jointly influence the movement of knowledge. Imagine a social network composed of patches of dense connections with sparse interstices between them. The dense patches might reflect firms, for instance, or geographic regions or technical communities. When does knowledge diffuse within these dense patches circumscribed by social boundaries but not beyond them? Synthesizing social network theory with a view of knowledge transfer as a search process, we argue that knowledge inequality across social boundaries should reach its peak when the underlying knowledge is of moderate complexity. To test this hypothesis, we analyze patent data and compare citation rates across three types of social boundaries: within versus outside the firm, geographically near to versus far from the inventor, and internal versus external to the technological class. In all three cases, the disparity in knowledge diffusion across these borders is greatest for knowledge of an intermediate level of complexity.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics, informational complexity, knowledge flow, social boundaries
    Date: 2005–09
  6. By: Alessandro Balestrino (University of Pisa)
    Abstract: We present a model of income tax avoidance with heterogenous agents, assuming the presence of a comparison income effect and of a psychic cost (disutility) of tax dodging. We analyse the policy preferences of the agents, and identify a median-voter political equilibrium. Paralleling previous results in the optimal taxation literature, we show that the comparison income effect calls for a high degree of progressivity of the income tax; additionally, we find that this tendence is strenghtened by the psychic cost of avoidance. We then investigate the source of the stigma attached to the act of avoidance and find that such stigma is motivated by the desire to make redistribution more effective, and that it is enhanced by the income comparison effect.
    Date: 2005–12
  7. By: Anthony Ziegelmeyer; Katinka Pantz
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates the interdependence between market competition and endogenously emerging inter-firm collaboration. We restrict attention to arrangements resulting from bilateral collaboration agreements that typically characterize real world applications in which the activity concerned is a core activity of the partnering firms and risk sharing, contract enforcement and protection of proprietory knowledge are central issues. We rely on a baseline model by Goyal and Joshi (2003) which formalizes the strategic formation of collaborative networks between firms that are competing on the same product market. This model predicts strategically stable patterns of inter-firm collaboration which are empirically observed but have been ruled out in the previous theoretical literature. In a two-stage game, firms decide to form bilateral collaboration links, whose formation is costly but reduces marginal production costs, before they compete in quantity on the market. We report the results of a series of experiments. The first experiment is designed as a straightforward theory-test simulating a one-shot interaction. We manipulate the cost of link formation in different treatments. Our data almost perfectly match the predictions for both stages whenever the link formation costs are extreme and the predicted networks symmetric (empty or complete networks). In the case of intermediate link formation costs where the predicted networks are asymmetric, subjects rarely form asymmetric networks. When they do, observed and predicted quantities are less in accordance than for symmetric networks. Collusion cannot account for the observed behavior. In our second experiment we reject the conjecture that these findings are driven out by experience in a setting in which we increase the implemented number of repetitions of the two-stage game. Finally, in our third experiment we reduce the complexity of the setting by transforming the original two-stage game into a one-stage game where the formation of inter-firm networks directly determines firms’ payoffs. These are derived from assumed equilibrium market outputs on the here absent competition stage. In this case, observed networks coincide with the predicted ones indicating that experimental subjects’ limited capacity to foresee the outcomes of the market stage may be driving the earlier discrepancies.
    Keywords: Endogenous formation of networks; Cournot competition; Collusion; Experiments
    JEL: D85 C92 D43
    Date: 2005–11
  8. By: Anna Afshar
    Abstract: Formal collaborations between community groups and academic institutions to promote economic development have increased substantially over the past 10 years. The bulk of research on community-campus partnerships has focused on the experiences of institutions of higher learning and the foundations that have funded the collaborations, leaving a gap in our understanding of community experiences. This report draws on a variety of sources, including first-person interviews and academic literature, to bring out community perspectives on what makes for successful partnerships. The conclusions are presented as practical suggestions for community groups and campuses seeking to optimize partnerships. Four case studies describe lessons learned by participating community groups.
    Keywords: Community development ; Universities and colleges
    Date: 2005
  9. By: Claes Andersson; Koen Frenken; Alexander Hellervik
    Abstract: The economic geography can be viewed as a large and growing network of interacting activities. This fundamental network structure and the large size of such systems makes complex networks an attractive model for its analysis. In this paper we propose the use of complex networks for geographical modeling and demonstrate how such an application can be combined with a cellular model to produce output that is consistent with large scale regularities such as power laws and fractality. Complex networks can provide a stringent framework for growth dynamic modeling where concepts from e.g. spatial interaction models and multiplicative growth models can be combined with the flexible representation of land and behavior found in cellular automata and agent-based models. In addition, there exists a large body of theory for the analysis of complex networks that have direct applications for urban geographic problems. The intended use of such models is twofold: i) to address the problem of how the empirically observed hierarchical structure of settlements can be explained as a stationary property of a stochastic evolutionary process rather than as equilibrium points in a dynamics, and, ii) to improve the prediction quality of applied urban modeling.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics, complex networks, urban growth
    Date: 2005–02
  10. By: Fabio Sabatini (University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics)
    Abstract: This paper is the Italian version of “Measuring Social Capital in Italy”, presented at the Third Forum for Young Researchers promoted by the Italian Sociological Association and at the Second Workshop for Young Economists organized by the University of Bologna. The contribution of this paper to the social capital literature is threefold. Drawing on Italian data, it firstly develops a new framework for measurement, allowing to build indicators of five different components of the multidimensional concept of social capital. Secondly, it provides a single, synthetic, measure capturing that particular configuration of social capital which the literature generally associates with positive economic outcomes. Thirdly, it draws the first atlas of the Italian social capital endowments. Questo saggio propone un nuovo metodo per la misurazione del capitale sociale ed effettua un’indagine empirica sul territorio italiano. L’analisi è basata su un dataset di indicatori di cinque dimensioni fondamentali del capitale sociale: i legami familiari, i rapporti informali con amici e conoscenti, le organizzazioni volontarie, la partecipazione politica e la coscienza civica. Sui cinque gruppi di variabili viene effettuata un’analisi in componenti principali, con l’obiettivo di costruire indicatori sintetici per ciascuna dimensione e individuare eventuali dimensioni latenti. L’intero dataset è analizzato invece mediante un’analisi fattoriale multipla, nel tentativo di costruire una misura “unica” delle dotazioni complessive di capitale sociale di ciascuna regione italiana. Dall’analisi emerge una chiara distinzione tra due tipi di rete, rispettivamente formati dai legami forti tra familiari e dai legami deboli che collegano amici, conoscenti e membri delle organizzazioni volontarie. Queste due forme di capitale sociale sono diversamente distribuite sul territorio italiano: le regioni ricche di legami forti sono povere di legami deboli e viceversa.
    Keywords: Social capital, social networks, social norms, civil society, economic development, Italy. Capitale sociale, società civile, sviluppo economico
    JEL: A12 O10 O18 R11
    Date: 2005–12–24
  11. By: Mourad Ayouz (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - - CNRS : UMR8568 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales;Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural des Eaux et des Forêts;Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées); Zakari Tassou (INRA - Institut national de recherche agronomique)
    Abstract: On cherche à savoir si un commerçant réalise une plus grande profitabilité du fait de son appartenance à une association. L'hypothèse retenue est que dans le cadre d'associations, les commerçants mettent en commun leur capital social pour réduire leurs coûts de transaction. On estime que parmi 512 commerçants béninois ceux qui sont en association ont en moyenne 845 $ de profit supplémentaire. Cependant, l'estimation d'une forme structurelle montre que l'effet du capital social est modéré
    Keywords: capital social; association; institution; économétrie
    Date: 2005–12–14
  12. By: Eduardo Mayano Estrada
    Abstract: En este trabajo el autor revisa el concepto de “capital social” y plantea su utilidad para el análisis de las dinámicas de desarrollo. En primer lugar, analiza el carácter polisémico de este concepto, mostrando cómo ha sido definido de modo diferente desde los diversos enfoques teóricos de la sociología. En segundo lugar, comenta algunas de las dimensiones del concepto de capital social, fundamentalmente las de embeddedness (enraizamiento) y autonomy (autonomía), y selecciona aquéllas que resultan de mayor utilidad para el análisis de los procesos de desarrollo. En tercer lugar, siguiendo el modelo de M. Woolcock el autor presenta, redefiniéndolo, un marco teórico en el que sitúa las distintas dimensiones del capital social para analizar las dinámicas “descendentes” (top-down) y “descendentes” (bottom-up) de desarrollo en las zonas rurales. La tesis fundamental que está implícita en este marco teórico es que el concepto de capital social es útil para analizar los proceso de desarrollo si se amplía para incluir dimensiones que den cuenta no sólo de las relaciones de integración intracomunitaria, sino también de la capacidad y autonomía de los individuos para relacionarse con grupos externos a su propia comunidad, así como de la sinergia entre instituciones y de su eficiencia y credibilidad.
    Date: 2005
  13. By: Zuleika Ferre (Departmento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Cecilia González (Departmento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Máximo Rossi (Departmento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Patricia Triunfo (Departmento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: This paper studies the uruguayan young population between 14 and 29 years old. The contribution from young to the society is not limited exclusively to their economic contribution. It is essential in the social institutions as form of giving them the necessary flexibility to adapt to changes, biological reproduction and in the socialization of the new generations. The paper is based on a specific survey about Health and Social Networks carried out by the Department of Economics of Faculty of Social Sciences (UDELAR) in agreement with the Youth's National Institute. This survey covers different aspects of the socio-economic situation (household situation, situation during their first years of life, medical care, reproductive health, habits and social networks.
    Keywords: health, labor market, young people, habits, social netwoks.
    JEL: D13 I10 I12 J10
    Date: 2005–11
  14. By: Herings,P. Jean-Jacques; Laan,Gerard,van der; Talman,Dolf (METEOR)
    Abstract: In this paper we study cooperative games with limited cooperation possibilities, representedby an undirected cycle-free communication graph. Players in the game can cooperate if andonly if they are connected in the graph, i.e. they can communicate with one another. Weintroduce a new single-valued solution concept, the component fairness solution. Our solution is characterized by component efficiency and component fairness. The interpretationof component fairness is that deleting a link between two players yields for both resultingcomponents the same average change in payoff, where the average is taken over the players in the component. Component fairness replaces the axiom of fairness characterizing the Myerson value, where the players whose link is deleted face the same loss in payoff. Thecomponent fairness solution is always in the core of the restricted game in case the gameis superadditive and can be easily computed as the average of n specific marginal vectors,where n is the number of players. We also show that the component fairness solution canbe generated by a specific distribution of the Harsanyi-dividends.
    Keywords: operations research and management science;
    Date: 2005
  15. By: Sven Fischer
    Abstract: Assuming inequality averse subjects as modeled by Fehr and Schmidt (1999) or in the ERC model by Bolton and Ockenfels (2000) in ultimatum games with asymmetric conflict payoffs allows to make predictions especially concerning responder acceptance thresholds. These predictions are tested in a laboratory experiment eliciting proposer offers and respondent's acceptance thresholds using the strategy vector method. By and large both models make good predictions. However, they are unable to convincingly explain the observed selfishness on behalf of responders in ultimatum games favoring them in conflict. Overall, observed behavior gives rise to a context dependent interpretation of inequality aversion and to Knez and Camerer's 1995 observation that subjects form 'egocentric assessments of fairness'.
    Date: 2005–10
  16. By: Lucie Sirieix (Agro.M ; UMR MOISA ; Montpellier, France); Brigitte Schaer (Ecozept ; Montpellier, France)
    Abstract: In this paper we attempt to compare the responses of consumers and professionals to questions related to organic food retailing, in order to highlight the differences and the similarities of viewpoints between them and to understand the links between consumer perception of organic food and the sales channel. In order to do this, we analyse the results of three studies, two of them conducted with consumers, the third one with professionals. The first study deals with the links between consumer trust orientations and the frequentation of the different sales channels where organic food can be found. The results of this study conducted in France and Germany show that consumers in organic food stores put trust in their store but are neither the heaviest nor the most trusting consumers. Consumers in hypermarkets or supermarkets do not really trust the store, and only really trust the label. In the second study, respondents were asked what their preferred outlet for organic products would be and why. Results show that organic food consumers like being something more than an anonymous consumer when shopping. They seem to appreciate markets particularly, and appear to attach no particular value to organic food stores, nor to the acknowledged greater convenience of shopping in supermarkets. This study also raises interesting questions relating to the experience of purchasing in terms of shop image and atmosphere, and factors that contribute to consumer trust in organic foods. The third study is based upon two surveys (autumn 2003 and autumn 2004) among organic food stores in France, on market development and on actors’ perception of their situation and their customers. According to shopkeepers, customers of organic food stores are looking more for quality and competence, than for attractive prices, and attach more and more value to traceability and trustworthiness. This paper both shows important similarities and differences of viewpoints between consumers and organic food stores shopkeepers, and gives researchers and professionals a better insight into the links between consumer perception of organic food and the sales channel.
    Keywords: Organic food, consumer behaviour, sales channel, trust
    JEL: P Q Z
    Date: 2005–12–19
  17. By: Åslund, Olof (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation); Nordström Skans, Oskar (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)
    Abstract: We study ethnic workplace segregation in Sweden using linked employer-employee data covering the entire working-age Swedish population during 1985–2002. Segregation is measured as overexposure to a particular group, taking into account the distribution of human capital, industry and geography. We find considerable workplace segregation between immigrants and natives but the results differ substantially between ethnic groups. Segregation has increased during the period, mainly due to changes in the ethnic composition. Immigrants are particularly overexposed to workers from their own birth region but also to other immigrants. Children to immigrants are only overexposed to immigrants from their parents region of birth. Segregation—particularly in the immigrant-native dimension—is in general negatively correlated with economic status.
    Keywords: Workplace segregation; ethnic minorities; immigrant assimilation
    JEL: J15 J23 J42 J62
    Date: 2005–12–06

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