nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒02‒12
24 papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Trust on the Streets: A Natural Field Experiment on Newspaper Purchasing By Gerald Pruckner; Rupert Sausgruber
  2. Networks and heterogeneous performance of cluster firms By Elisa Giuliani
  3. Knowledge networks and innovative performance in an industrial district. The case of a footwear district in the South of Italy By Ron A. Boschma; Anne L.W. ter Wal
  4. Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods By Urs Fischbacher; Simon Gaechter
  5. Fairness vs. Social Welfare in Experimental Decisions By Stefan Kohler
  6. Networks and Innovation : A Survey of Empirical Literature. By Müge Ozman
  7. Social Sanctions in Interethnic Relations: The Benefit of Punishing your Friends By Christian Stoff
  8. What can happiness research tell us about altruism? Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel By Johannes Schwarze; Rainer Winkelmann
  9. Democracy and Development: The Devil in the Details By Torsten Persson; Guido Tabellini
  10. Social capital and fertility intentions: the case of Poland By Christoph Bühler; Ewa Fratczak
  11. Does Envy Destroy Social Fundamentals? The Impact of Relative Income Position on Social Capital By Justina A.V. Fischer; Benno Torgler
  12. Competition and Civic Engagement in the Religious Marketplace By Lynne Pepall; Daniel Richards; John Straub
  13. Network and firm antecedents of spin-offs: Motherhooding spin-offs By Manuel Portugal Ferreira; Ana Teresa Tavares; William Hesterly; Sungu Armagan
  14. Social capital related to fertility: theoretical foundations and empirical evidence from Bulgaria By Christoph Bühler; Dimiter Philipov
  15. Which Plans to Reduce the Digital Divide? Policy Evaluation and Social Interaction By Raffaele Miniaci; Maria Laura Parisi
  16. Courtesy and Idleness: Gender Differences in Team Work and Team Competition By Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel; Dorothea Kübler
  17. Learning from others and receiving support: the impact of personal networks on fertility intentions in Poland By Christoph Bühler; Ewa Fratczak
  18. Struttura e dinamica relazionale nelle reti di impresa: il caso d ella filiera del packaging di Montecchio By Luciano PILOTTI; Andrea GANZAROLI
  19. Le esternalità di rete By Marco Savioli
  20. Zur Bedeutung sozialen Kapitals für Fertilitätsentscheidungen: theoretische und empirische Darstellungen am Beispiel Bulgariens By Christoph Bühler; Dimiter Philipov
  21. Conflict and the Social Contract By Helmut Bester; Karl Wärneryd
  22. Social segregation in secondary schools: How does England compare with other countries? By Stephen P. Jenkins; John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf
  23. Mapping social influence on fertility: a mix-method approach to data collection By Laura Bernardi; Holger Von der Lippe; Sylvia Keim
  24. Family formation in times of social and economic change: an analysis of the 1971 East German cohort By Johannes Huinink; Michaela Kreyenfeld

  1. By: Gerald Pruckner (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck); Rupert Sausgruber (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck)
    Abstract: A publisher uses an honor-system for selling a newspaper in the street. The customers make payments into a cash-box, but can also just take the paper without paying. Payments are not monitored and highly anonymous; hence customers exhibit trustworthiness if they pay for the paper. We run a natural field experiment to identify motives behind payments. The experiment reveals that trustworthiness is based on a social rather than a legal norm. Additional survey questions serve to identify individual-specific components of trustworthiness. We find effects of gender, age, family status, church attendance, measures of reciprocity, social connectedness, and social risk.
    Keywords: trust, trustworthiness; natural field experiment; survey
    JEL: C93 K42
    Date: 2006–02
  2. By: Elisa Giuliani
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship existing among the heterogeneous nature of firms in industrial clusters, their structural position in knowledge networks and their performance. Following the rising interest for spatially agglomerated industrial firms and their learning and innovative potential the paper shows empirically that the performance of firms in clusters is related with firm-level knowledge endowments and their position in the knowledge network using firm-level data on three wine clusters.
    Keywords: knowledge networks, clusters, firm performance, evolutionary economics, wine sector
    Date: 2006–01
  3. By: Ron A. Boschma; Anne L.W. ter Wal
    Abstract: The traditional district literature tends to assume that: (1) the competitiveness of firms depends on external sources of knowledge; (2) all firms in a district benefit from knowledge externalities; (3) relying on external knowledge relationships necessarily means these are confined to the district area. Our case study of the Barletta footwear district in the South of Italy suggests otherwise. Based on social network analysis, we demonstrate that the local knowledge network is quite weak and unevenly distributed among the local firms. A strong local network position of a firm tended to increase their innovative performance, and so did their connectivity to extra-local firms. So, it mattered being connected either locally or non-locally: being co-located was surely not enough. Having a high absorptive capacity seemed to raise only indirectly, through non-local relationships, the innovative performance of firms.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics, new economic geography, social networks, innovative performance, Italy
    Date: 2006–01
  4. By: Urs Fischbacher (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics); Simon Gaechter (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We provide a direct test of the role of social preferences in voluntary cooperation. We elicit individuals’ cooperation preference in one experiment and make a point prediction about the contribution to a repeated public good. This allows for a novel test as to whether there are "types" of players who behave consistently with their elicited preferences. We find clear-cut evidence for the existence of "types". People who express free rider preferences show the most systematic deviation from the predicted contributions, because they contribute in the first half of the experiment. We also show that the interaction of heterogeneous types explains a large part of the dynamics of free riding.
    Keywords: Public goods games, experiments, voluntary contributions, conditional cooperation, free riding
    JEL: C91 C72 H41 D64
    Date: 2006–01
  5. By: Stefan Kohler
    Abstract: Experimental evidence from modified dictator games and simple choice situations indicates that concern for overall welfare is an important motive in human decision making. Models of inequality averse agents, as suggested by Fehr and Schmidt (1999) or Bolton and Ockenfels (2000), fall short in explaining behavior of proposers, who reduce their payoff below a fair split of the endowment to maximize social welfare, while other types of social preferences do well on these data. This has created the impression that inequality aversion is a misguided concept. This paper presents a formal model and shows that a combination of welfare concern and inequality aversion changes this result in favor of inequality aversion. It also establishes a unique link between altruism and social welfare in the proposed model.
    Keywords: Social Preferences, Inequality Aversion, Welfare Concern, Reciprocity
    JEL: A13 B49 C70 D63 D64
    Date: 2005
  6. By: Müge Ozman
    Abstract: Networks are now understood to be an important mechanism to change economic and social outcomes through non-market means, and one of these outcomes is the contribution of networks to innovation and technological change in general. This survey covers the recent literature on networks as far as they have implications for knowledge transfer among actors, innovation and technological change. We present a recent survey of empirical research, covering inter-firm and intra-firm networks, since these are accepted to have the most important impact on knowledge dissemination and innovation. One important conclusion that can be derived from the survey is that, although there exists a tremendous increase in network research, it is still difficult in most cases to draw robust conclusions and generalizable results. Therefore, one of the aims of this survey is to highlight those areas in which some consensus has been achieved in the literature, and others which need more attention and research in the future.
    Date: 2006
  7. By: Christian Stoff (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: We analyse interethnic cooperation in an infinitely repeated prisoner’s dilemma when members of one group are unable to target punishment towards individual defectors from the other group. We first show that indiscriminate punishment may sustain cooperation in this setting. Our main result, however, is that the introduction of ingroup punishment in addition to outgroup punishment represents a better sanctioning institution in the sense that cooperative outcomes may persist in situations where outgroup punishment alone fails to induce cooperation. Our findings are consistent with historical evidence on the dynamics of interethnic conflicts.
    Keywords: conflicts, interethnic cooperation, ethnicity, intergroup relations, ingroup punishment, outgroup punishment
    JEL: C70 C72 O12 O17 Z13
    Date: 2004–12
  8. By: Johannes Schwarze (University of Bamberg); Rainer Winkelmann (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Much progress has been made in recent years on developing and applying a direct measure of utility using survey questions on subjective well-being. In this paper we explore whether this new type of measurement can be fruitfully applied to the study of interdependent utility in general, and altruism between parents and adult children who moved away from home in particular. We introduce an appropriate econometric methodology and, using data from the German SocioEconomic Panel for the years 2000-2004, find that the parents’ self-reported happiness depends positively on the happiness of their adult children. A one standard deviation move in the child’s happiness has the same effect as a 45 percent move in household income.
    Keywords: utility interdependence, sympathy, extended family, fixed effects
    JEL: D6 D64 C25 J10
    Date: 2005–02
  9. By: Torsten Persson; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: Does democrazy promote economic development? Reviews recent attempts to addresses this question that exploited within-country variation. It shows that the answer is largely postive, but also depends on the details of democratic reforms. First, the sequence of economic vs political reforms matters: countries liberalizing their economy before extending political rights do better. Second, different forms of democratic government lead to different economic policies, and this might explain why presidential democracy leads to faster growth than parliamentary democracy. Third, it is important to distinguish between expected and actual political reforms. Taking expectations of regime change into account helps identify a stronger growth effect of democracy.
  10. By: Christoph Bühler (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Ewa Fratczak
    Abstract: -
    Keywords: Poland, fertility determinants, social capital
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2004–04
  11. By: Justina A.V. Fischer; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: Research evidence on the impact of relative income position on individual attitudes and behaviour is sorely lacking. Therefore, this paper assesses such positional impact on social capital by applying 14 different measurements to International Social Survey Programme data from 25 countries. We find support for a positional concern effect or ‘envy’ whose magnitude in several cases is quite substantial. The results indicate that such an effect is non-linear. In addition, we find an indication that absolute income level is also relevant. Lastly, changing the reference group (regional versus national) produces no significant differences in the results.
    Keywords: Relative income position; envy; positional concerns; social capital; social norms; happiness
    JEL: Z13 H26 I31 D00 D60
    Date: 2006–01
  12. By: Lynne Pepall; Daniel Richards; John Straub
    Abstract: Faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the United States are distinguished by their diversity, both in varied religious beliefs and practices, and in the nature and extent of their civic engagement. Most American churches and synagogues offer more than regular worship and religious education services to their members. In addition, they offer their members programs and experiences that serve to strengthen their members’ bonds of faith. Often these include ways for members to engage in their community, or beyond, and provide valued social services and real goods including health-care, education, food, housing, and financial assistance. Indeed, Johnson, Tompkins, and Webb [2002] estimate that FBOs in the United States provide community and social services to over 70 million Americans annually. Similarly, Ronsvalle and Ronsvalle [2000] estimate that roughly half of charitable contributions and volunteering in the United States comes from religious organizations. These estimates are supported by Putnam [2000] who concludes that more than one half of social capital in the US, as measured by volunteering, philanthropy or civic participation, is affiliated with FBOs.
    Date: 2006
  13. By: Manuel Portugal Ferreira (Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão, Instituto Politécnico de Leiria); Ana Teresa Tavares (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto); William Hesterly (David Eccles School of Business, The University of Utah); Sungu Armagan (David Eccles School of Business, The University of Utah)
    Abstract: We advance firm and network conditions that are favorable for the gestation of new spin-offs by entrepreneurial employees that exit the mother firm to constitute their own companies. This type of entrepreneurial activity has some unique characteristics. We suggest that spin-offs from certain parent firms have fundamental network benefits that increase their likelihood of survival and success. These benefits accrue on the form of social resources and a unique embeddedness in networks of other offspring and mother firms, and do not require the spin-offs to engage in any direct exchanges with the parent firm. The process which we call 'motherhood' highlights the potential for a mother-progeny and child-child model that promotes entrepreneurial action through spin-offs, and allow us to understand the conditions under which interorganizational networks of firms emerge and thrive as an entrepreneurial process. We conclude that considering a motherhood process, with the characteristics defined in this paper, contributes to the study of entrepreneurship and network evolution.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, spin-offs, motherhood, network benefits
    JEL: M13 D23 D85
    Date: 2006–02
  14. By: Christoph Bühler (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Dimiter Philipov (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Interpersonal relationships of support have been found to be an important factor in individual fertility intentions in Central and Eastern European countries. The foundations of this positive influence have not been well explored to date, however. We present a theoretical discussion on exchange-based social capital and argue that processes of interpersonal exchange are relevant for reproductive decisions when they provide access to resources that help to reduce the costs of having children and stabilize the economic situation of a household. Data from 2002 on the fertility intentions of 2,016 Bulgarian women support our argument. The availability of important and substantive resources has a positive impact on women’s intentions to have a second or third child and their timing of having a first or second child. The embededness in kin-based exchange systems of indirect reciprocity shows similar positive effects and highlights especially the significance of parents as a source of intergenerational transfers and support.
    Keywords: Bulgaria, fertility determinants, social capital
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2005–06
  15. By: Raffaele Miniaci; Maria Laura Parisi
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of implementing technological policies like computer donations or subsidization on the probability of an individual to have computer abilities, when this is affected by the computer skills of her household's other members, i.e. when there are significant within household peer effects. Our application for a sample of Italian households indicates that although the probability of being skilled is remarkably improved by the presence of a PC at home, thanks also to within household peer effects, the budget constraint of an household can be so binding to make the policy less effective for a large part of the target population.
  16. By: Radosveta Ivanova-Stenzel (Department of Economics, Spandauer Str. 1, D-10178 Berlin, Germany.; Dorothea Kübler (Department of Economics and Management, Straße des 17. Juni 135, D-10623 Berlin, Germany.
    Abstract: Does gender play a role in the context of team work? Our results based on a real-effort experiment suggest that performance depends on the composition of the team. We find that female and male performance differ most in mixed teams with revenue sharing between the team members, as men put in significantly more effort than women. The data also indicate that women perform best when competing in pure female teams against male teams whereas men perform best when women are present or in a competitive environment.
    Keywords: team incentives, gender, tournaments
    JEL: C72 C73 C91 D82
    Date: 2005–09
  17. By: Christoph Bühler (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Ewa Fratczak
    Abstract: Research about fertility has focused in the main on studying separately the influences of communication networks and social capital on reproductive behavior, but it has rarely tried to integrate both network properties theoretically or analytically. We therefore discuss a general model of purposeful behavior that perceives individuals’ subjective perceptions of the utilities of different courses of action to be affected by structures of interpersonal influence. Resources needed to realize desired goals are furthermore shaped by exchange relationships that build social capital. These considerations are empirically applied to explanations of the intentions of 758 Polish men and women ever to have a first, second, or third child. Personal networks are especially relevant for the considerations to have a first or a second child. The intentions of childless respondents are positively influenced by network partners that are in a similar stage of their reproductive biographies or that have already taken the step of having a first child. However, respondents with one child intend to have a second child with a higher probability the more they have access to fertility-related social capital. (Keywords: interpersonal influence, social capital, fertility, rational choice, behavioral intentions, Poland)
    Keywords: Poland, fertility determinants, influence, interpersonal communication, social capital, social network
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2005–07
  18. By: Luciano PILOTTI; Andrea GANZAROLI
    Abstract: This paper studies the structural and the relational dynamics cha racterizing the development process of a local supply chain speci alizing on the production of packaging machines. The focus is on two major aspects. The first is intermediation and trust manageme nt between a local and a global supply chain. The second is learn ing. Our findings are mainly two. The first is to show that the c ommunication channel between local and global tends, as consequen ce of the increasing demand for trust and trustworthiness along t he global supply chain, to structure into two levels. The first, that of leadership, is specializing on global communication and c oordination. The second, that of coordination, tends to specializ e on local communication and coordination. This organizational ar rangement has the major advantage of increasing the level of trus t transferability between these two dimensions of interaction. Ou r second findings is to show the emergence of cooperative forms l earning based on explicit, rather than simply tacit, partnership between local partners. Our findings are based on an exploratory case study analysis of a local supply chain.
    Keywords: Industrial district, supply chain management, knowledge management and learning, trust.
  19. By: Marco Savioli
    Abstract: Negli ultimi vent'anni gli avanzamenti della letteratura riguardo le esternalità di rete sono stati notevoli, d'altra parte essi mancano di uniformità e omogeneità. L'obiettivo di questo articolo è quello di verificare le congruenze di tali concetti presentandoli in maniera congiunta e discutendo l'origine delle loro divergenze. Nell'ultima parte discuti amo approfonditamente l'approccio di Mix and match e verifichiamo la forza dei risultati raggiunti proponendo delle funzioni di surplus netto del consumatore differenti e ottenendo una forma di mercato alternativa.
    JEL: L10 L11 L15
    Date: 2006–01
  20. By: Christoph Bühler (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Dimiter Philipov (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Models on the impact of social networks on reproductive behavior primarily address processes of interpersonal influence on fertility related values and utility perceptions and consider aspects of social support and social capital only to a small extend. On the basis of an exchange theoretical definition of social capital it is argued that general resources like money, time, or active help generate social capital that is relevant for fertility decisions, because they help to reduce the costs of having children and stabilize the economic situation of a household. Data from 2002 on the fertility intentions of 2,016 Bulgarian women support this association. The availability of supportive resources has a positive impact on women’s intentions to have a second or third child. However, the availability of these resources does not significantly matter for the intended timing of birth. The embeddedness in kin-based exchange systems of indirect reciprocity also positively influence women’s fertility intentions. This result also highlights the significance of parents as sources of intergenerational transfers and support. (Keywords: Social capital, fertility, Bulgaria, exchange theory, reciprocity)
    Keywords: Bulgaria, fertility determinants, social capital, social network
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2004–08
  21. By: Helmut Bester (Department of Economics, Free University of Berlin, Boltzmannstr. 20, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.; Karl Wärneryd (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden.
    Abstract: We consider social contracts for resolving conflicts between two agents who are uncertain about each other's fighting potential. Applications include international conflict, litigation, and elections. Even though only a peaceful agreement avoids a loss of resources, if this loss is small enough, then any contract must assign a positive probability of conflict. We show how the likelihood of conflict outbreak depends on the distribution of power between the agents and their information about each other.
    Keywords: conflict, social contracts, asymmetric information
    JEL: C78 D72 D74 D82 H21 H23
    Date: 2006–02
  22. By: Stephen P. Jenkins (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, and DIW Berlin); John Micklewright (Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) and School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton); Sylke V. Schnepf (S3RI, University of Southampton)
    Abstract: We provide new evidence about the degree of social segregation in England’s secondary schools, employing a cross-national perspective. Analysis is based on data for 27 rich industrialised countries from the 2000 and 2003 rounds of the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA), using a number of different measures of social background and of segregation, and allowing for sampling variation in the estimates. England is shown to be a middle-ranking country, as is the USA. High segregation countries include Austria, Belgium, Germany and Hungary. Low segregation countries include the four Nordic countries and Scotland. In explaining England’s position, we argue that its segregation is mostly accounted for by unevenness in social background in the state school sector. Focusing on this sector, we show that cross-country differences in segregation are associated with the prevalence of selective choice of pupils by schools. Low-segregation countries such as those in the Nordic area and Scotland have negligible selection in schools. High segregation countries like Austria, Germany and Hungary have separate school tracks for academic and vocational schooling and, in each case, over half of this is accounted for by unevenness in social background between the different tracks rather than by differences within each track.
    Keywords: social segregation, secondary schools, England, cross-national comparison, PISA.
    JEL: D39 I21 I39
  23. By: Laura Bernardi (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Holger Von der Lippe (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sylvia Keim (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Theoretical propositions on the importance of social effects arising from informal interaction on fertility change are not yet supported by systematic empirical evidence (Kohler et al. 2002). The correct identification of informal relationships sali1ent for fertility decision-making and the comparability of social networks across population subgroups present major problems. This paper illustrates the design of a research project that specifically addresses these two problems. The project investigates the role of informal social networks on fertility decisions in East and West Germany by employing a multi-method research strategy. We use a combination of in-depth interviews, network charts, and network grids to elicit a map of individual personal relationships and to analyze their influence on respondents’ fertility decisions and intentions. We collect information in parallel from the respondents and from up to three members of their social network.
    Keywords: Germany, family formation, methodology, social norms
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2005–06
  24. By: Johannes Huinink; Michaela Kreyenfeld (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: The birth cohort 1971 entered transition to adulthood at the onset of societal transformation in East Germany. Their marriage and fertility behavior therefore was expected to be severely affected by the upheavals following unification. And indeed, compared to their predecessors, there is a drastic increase in the age at marriage, age at first birth and a decline in second birth risks. In this paper, we adopt a life course perspective to investigate the factors that have contributed to the postponement of family formation after unification. The empirical analysis suggests that highly educated women in particular are postponing fertility. Women with a relatively low education, by contrast, are accelerating family formation. Contrary to standard views on East German fertility, we do not find evidence for the hypothesis that unemployment generally lead to a postponement of first birth.
    Keywords: Germany, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2004–04

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