nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒03‒05
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Social capital and political bias in knowledge sharing: An exploratory study By A. WILLEM; H. SCARBROUGH
  2. Participation in Environmental Organizations: An Empirical Analysis By Benno Torgler; Maria A.Garcia-Valinas
  3. Political Institutions and Economic Growth By Thomas Renstrom; Laura Marsiliani
  4. On the structural value of children and its implication on intended fertility in Bulgaria By Christoph Bühler
  5. Corruption in Tax Administration: Lessons from Institutional Reforms in Uganda By Odd-Helge Fjeldstad
  6. Corporate Social Responsibility in the Angolan Oil Industry By Arne Wiig
  7. Conformity in contribution games: gender and group effects By C. Mónica Capra; Lei Li
  8. On the Sustainability of Cultural Capital By David Throsby
  9. Explicit and Implicit Determinants of Fair-Trade Buying Behavior By D. VANTOMME; M. GEUENS; J. DE HOUWER; P. DE PELSMACKER
  10. The Structure and Evolution of Industrial Clusters: Transactions, Technology and Knowledge Spillovers By Simona Iammarino; Philip McCann
  11. Is Team Formation Gender Neutral? Evidence from Coauthorship Patterns By Boschini, Anne; Sjögren, Anna
  12. The private and social return to schooling in Italy By Antonio Ciccone; Federico Cingano; Piero Cipollone
  13. Sustainable food consumption, involvement, certainty and values: an application of the theory of Planned Behaviour By I. VERMEIR; W. VERBEKE
  14. Violencia y Criminalidad en Santa Fe de Bogotá: Posibles determinantes y relaciones de doble causalidad By Javier Alberto Gutiérrez; Dalila Gallo Cubillos
  15. Religion and education gender gap: Are Muslims different? By Mandana, Hajj; Panizza, Ugo

    Abstract: The benefits of social capital for the sharing of knowledge are frequently emphasized in the literature (Burt, 1997; Kostava & Roth, 2003; Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998; Tsai, 2000). However, a few authors have also begun to draw our attention towards the drawbacks of social capital for the working of organizations (Adler & Kwon, 2002; Edelman, Bresnen, Newell, & Scarbrough, 2004). In particular, instrumental social capital –as opposed to consummatory social capital- is seen as linked to power relations, which can inhibit the sharing of knowledge (Burt, 1997; Kale et al., 2000). To contribute to this debate on the role of social capital, we carried out a qualitative study in two Belgian companies. Our findings reveal that social capital tends to enhance the sharing of knowledge but that instrumental social capital in particular reflects opportunistic and political objectives, which causes a selective form of knowledge sharing.
    Keywords: case studies, informal networking, knowledge sharing, politicking, social capital
    Date: 2005–12
  2. By: Benno Torgler; Maria A.Garcia-Valinas
    Abstract: The literature on volunteering has strongly increased in the last few years. However, there is still a lack of substantial empirical evidence about the determinants of environmental participation. This empirical study analyses a cross-section of individuals using micro-data of the World Values Survey wave III (1995-1997), covering 38 countries, to investigate this question. The results suggest that not only socio-demographic and socio-economic factors have an impact on individuals’ active participation in environmental organizations, but also political attitudes. Furthermore, regional differences are observed.
    Keywords: Environment; Environmental Participation; International Perspective; Political Interest; Social Capital
    JEL: Q26 R22 Z13 I21
    Date: 2006–02
  3. By: Thomas Renstrom (University of Durham and CEPR); Laura Marsiliani (University of Durham)
    Date: 2005–09–03
  4. By: Christoph Bühler (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Personal networks receive increasing recognition as structural determinants of fertility. However, the network perspective also helps to explain personal motivations for having children. Using theories of interpersonal exchange and of the value of children, it is argued that children can substantively alter and improve their parents’ social networks. Individuals perceive this potential advantageous development as a structural benefit and consider this value in their reproductive decisions. Data from Bulgaria, collected in 2002, support this argument. The intentions of females and males to have a first or second child are positively influenced by at least one structural value. Women’s intentions are promoted by the prospect that a child will bring their parents and relatives closer or will strengthen the bond with the partner. Male’s intentions are closely associated with the expectation that a child will improve their security at old age.
    Keywords: Bulgaria, costs, decision making, fertility determinants, social capital, social network, value of children
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2006–02
  5. By: Odd-Helge Fjeldstad
    Abstract: Over the past two decades many developing countries have implemented comprehensive reforms of their tax administrations in order to increase revenue and curb corruption. This paper examines recent experiences in the fight against corruption in the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). It argues that the technocratic remedies supported by donors have underplayed the degree to which progress in tax administration depends upon a thorough 'cultural change' in the public service. The motives of individual actors are often inextricably tied to the interests of the social groups to which they belong. In the URA patronage runs through networks grounded on ties of kinship and community origin. As such, people recognize the benefits of large extended families and strong kinship ties, even as their social and economic aspirations may be indisputably modern. This implies that such social relations may undermine formal bureaucratic structures and positions. If these problems, which are rooted in social norms and patterns of behavior rather than administrative features, are overlooked, the result may be to distort incentives. As a consequence, the government's commitment to reforming the tax administration may also be undermined.
    Keywords: Corruption Incentives Social norms Tax administration Tax evasion Uganda
    JEL: D73 H26 H30 J33 K42 Z13
    Date: 2005
  6. By: Arne Wiig
    Abstract: What are the responsibility of oil companies in resource rich countries? Do they take these responsibilities? Based on a utilitarian perspective and theories of the resource curse, we discuss the oil companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) when a resource rich country such as Angola lacks accountable public institutions. We also analyse the type of responsibility oil companies take and factors driving corporate social responsibility. From undertaking a survey among oil service fi rms operating in Angola, we have found that, in practice, policy on the corporate social responsibility of oil companies is mainly driven by economic incentives (it is good for business), rather than by ethical considerations.
    Keywords: Oil Corporate social responsibility Ethics Angola
    JEL: M14 L71 D63
    Date: 2005
  7. By: C. Mónica Capra; Lei Li
    Abstract: Psychologists have established that task complexity, gender and group identity affect conformity rates. We test the effects of these variables in contribution games. Our experiments consist of two parts: a public goods and a dictator game, both are played once. After subjects make their initial choices, they can revise them. Before revising, they are allowed to choose among different payoff irrelevant information regarding choices made by other cohorts that differed in class and gender. Our data are consistent with some of the findings in the psychology literature. We find that complexity matters. We find no gender or group effects on conformity rates. However, gender has weak effects when combined with group identity.
    Date: 2006–01
  8. By: David Throsby (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: The concept of sustainable development as defined in ecological terms can be extended to apply to culture by recognising parallels between the concepts of natural and cultural capital. This paper reviews the definitions of both these forms of capital and shows how they contribute to sustainability. Criteria for weak and strong sustainability are considered, on the basis of which a strong sustainability rule for cultural capital is derived. It is speculated that certain cultural indicators may be useful in providing first approximations to variables that would need to be quantified in any eventual empirical application of this model.
    Keywords: Natural capital, cultural capital, sustainability, sustainable development
    JEL: Q01 Q57 Z11
    Date: 2005–07
    Abstract: We examined the usefulness of an implicit attitude measure (IAT) to explain the weak attitude-behavior relationships often found in research about ethical consumer behavior. The results indicated that the IAT effects for buyers and nonbuyers of Fair Trade products were significantly different, showing that the IAT can be used to differentiate between buyers and non-buyers. Further, the authors conclude that the IAT has unique predictive validity and that most importantly implicit attitudes need to be enhanced to raise ethical consumer behavior.
    Date: 2005–12
  10. By: Simona Iammarino (SPRU, University of Sussex); Philip McCann (University of Reading)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the relationship between location patterns, innovation processes and industrial clusters. In order to do this we extend a transactions costs-based classification of industrial clusters into a knowledge-based taxonomy of clusters, along the lines suggested by a critical revision of the main assumptions underlying most of the existing literature on spatially defined clusters. Our arguments show that the transactions costs approach and the innovation and technological change framework are broadly consistent, and that real insights into the microfoundations, nature, and evolution of clusters can be provided by these classification systems.
    Keywords: industrial clusters, firm location, innovation processes, cluster classification
    JEL: O31 O33 R3 D8
    Date: 2006–02–27
  11. By: Boschini, Anne (Stockholm University); Sjögren, Anna (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate if voluntary team formation is gender neutral. To this end, we model team formation as a random matching process influenced by the agents' preferences for team size and gender composition and derive how team formation depends on the gender ratio in the population of prospective team mates. We then test if the coauthorship pattern in articles published 1991-2002 in three top Economics journals is gender neutral, exploiting the variation in female presence across subfields of Economics. Our main finding is that gender sorting in coauthorship increases in the presence of women. In particular, we find that the gender gap in the propensity to coauthor with a woman increases in the presence of women in the subfield. We also find that women single author significantly more than men. These findings allow us to reject gender neutrality in team formation.
    Keywords: Team Formation; Gender Sorting; Coauthorship Patterns
    JEL: A14 J16 J41 M50
    Date: 2006–01–24
  12. By: Antonio Ciccone (ICREA and Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Federico Cingano (Bank of Italy); Piero Cipollone (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We estimate the private (individual) and social return to schooling in Italy and four macro regions. Our estimates take into account the effects of schooling on employment and wages as well as the key features of the Italian tax and social insurance system. We find that the individual return to schooling compares favorably to the return to financial assets (especially in the South). At the social level, the available infrastructure-capital data indicates that the return to schooling exceeds that to infrastructures in the South.
    Keywords: Education, Regional Development, Wages, Employment probability
    JEL: I2 J31 O18 R11
    Date: 2006–01
    Abstract: This study investigates determinants of sustainable consumption behaviour in Belgium. To gain a better insight in sustainable consumption, we conducted a study where sustainable attitudes and behaviour as well as some individual characteristics like involvement, certainty and values related to sustainable products are scrutinized. We explore if determinants as hypothesised by the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) – attitudes, perceived behavioural control, social norms - influence sustainable consumption intention in general and according to different levels of involvement, certainty and values. The empirical research builds on a survey with a sample of 456 young consumers, using a questionnaire and an experimental design with manipulation of key constructs through showing advertisements for sustainable dairy. The stepwise multiple regression showed that 50% of the variance in intention to consume or purchase sustainable dairy was explained by the combination of attitudes, perceived social influences, perceived consumer effectiveness and perceived availability. In addition, different levels of involvement, certainty and value orientation entail different strengths of the determinants. The findings yield public policy and marketing recommendations for stimulating sustainable food consumption among the young.
    Keywords: sustainable consumption, attitudes, behavioural intention, involvement, certainty, values
    Date: 2005–12
  14. By: Javier Alberto Gutiérrez; Dalila Gallo Cubillos
    Abstract: En la última década Bogotá ha registrado índices de violencia y criminalidad que la hacen ver como una de las ciudades más inseguras en el ámbito mundial. En efecto, a pesar que Bogotá no ha sido, por fortuna, el centro de operaciones del narcotráfico, lo que ha evitado en cierta medida la generalización del sicariato, y la proliferación de ajustes de cuentas y venganzas entre las mafias, en la capital se ha presentado un fenómeno de violencia que se encuentra relacionado con la delincuencia común, que ha venido afectando la integridad física y material de los individuos. En la capital se observa una serie de manifestaciones de delincuencia que generan sensaciones de inseguridad entre la población, dado los comportamientos violentos y agresivos que asumen los victimarios para llevar a cabo sus acciones delictivas, acciones propias de bandas organizadas que con altos niveles de tecnificación y experiencia han desarrollado mercados ilícitos con matices empresariales. Atentados contra la vida, robo callejero, asalto a residencias, hurto de vehículos, y asaltos bancarios son delitos considerados de mayor impacto por la ciudadanía, tanto por la frecuencia en que suceden, como por la forma en que se presentan. Hechos que afectan a toda la sociedad y en los que concurren una serie de factores que hacen que se intensifique su presencia. Los altos índices de criminalidad registrados en la ciudad, han generado no sólo pérdidas de capital humano, sino costos económicos en sectores como la salud, la justicia y la seguridad. Costos que tienen que ver con las pérdidas en el patrimonio de los particulares y gastos en que incurre el sector público para afrontar el problema. A lo largo del trabajo se evidencia que mayor inversión en salud, educación y asistencia social contribuye de manera significativa a disminuir la tasa de criminalidad y la delincuencia en general, fenómeno que no ocurre con las formas represivas que usualmente se utilizan para disminuir dichas tasas, como mayores gastos en vigilancia y seguridad. La distribución del ingreso es una variable íntimamente asociada con los resultados de criminalidad y violencia.
    Date: 2005–05–30
  15. By: Mandana, Hajj; Panizza, Ugo
    Abstract: This paper uses individual-level data and a differences in differences estimation strategy to test whether the education gender gap of Muslims is different from that of Christians. In particular, the paper uses data for young Lebanese and shows that, other things equal, girls (both Muslim and Christian) tend to receive more education than boys and that there is no difference between the education gender gap of Muslims and Christians. Therefore, the paper finds no support for the hypothesis that Muslims discriminate against female education.
    Keywords: Religion, Islam, Education, Gender Gap
    JEL: Z12 I20 O53
    Date: 2006–02

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