nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒05‒13
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Mutual Monitoring in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence on the Importance of Reciprocity By Jeffrey Carpenter; Samuel Bowles; Herbert Gintis
  2. How Can the Decline in Social Capital be Reconciled with a Satisfactory Growth Performance? By Stefano Bartolini; Luigi Bonatti
  3. How Does Social Trust Affect Economic Growth? By Bjørnskov, Christian
  4. Culture and Collective Action – Japan, Germany and the United States after September 11, 2001 By Dirk Nabers
  5. Keeping in Touch - A Benefit of Public Holidays By Joachim Merz; Lars Osberg
  6. Eight degrees of separation By Paolo Pin
  7. Is the First System also Fairer? Traversing the Domain of Knowledge, Institutions, Culture and Ethics By Gupta Anil K
  8. Political Ideology and Economic Freedom. By Bjørnskov, Christian
  9. Friendship in a Public Good Experiment By Marco Haan; Peter Kooreman; Tineke Riemersma
  10. Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS By Andreas Ammermueller; Jörn-Steffen Pishcke
  11. Individual’s religiosity enhances trust: Latin American evidence for the puzzle By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Maximo Rossi; Dyane Zaclicever
  12. The role of opinion leaders in the diffusion of new knowledge : the case of integrated pest management By Savastano, Sara; Feder, Gershon
  13. Global Health Governance: Conflicts on Global Social Rights By Wolfgang Hein; Lars Kohlmorgen
  14. Getting girls into school : evidence from a scholarship program in Cambodia By Schady, Norbert; Filmer, Deon
  15. Social capital as social networks. A new framework for measurement. By Fabio Sabatini
  16. Educational Qualification, Work Status and Entrepreneurship in Italy: an Exploratory Analysis By Fabio Sabatini

  1. By: Jeffrey Carpenter (Middlebury College and IZA Bonn); Samuel Bowles (Santa Fe Institute and University of Siena); Herbert Gintis (Central European University and Santa Fe Institute)
    Abstract: Monitoring by peers is often an effective means of attenuating incentive problems. Most explanations of the efficacy of mutual monitoring rely either on small group size or on a version of the Folk theorem with repeated interactions which requires reasonably accurate public information concerning the behavior of each player. We provide a model of team production in which the effectiveness of mutual monitoring depends not on these factors, but rather on strong reciprocity: the willingness of some team members to engage in the costly punishment of shirkers. This alternative does not require small group size or public signals. An experimental public goods game provides evidence for the behavioral relevance of strong reciprocity in teams.
    Keywords: team production, public good, monitoring, punishment, experiment
    JEL: C92 H41 J41 J54 Z13
    Date: 2006–04
  2. By: Stefano Bartolini; Luigi Bonatti
    Abstract: We aim at reconciling Putnam’s claim that social capital has declined in the U.S. in the last decades with the satisfactory growth performance of the U.S. economy over the same period. This puzzle originates from the fact that most literature on social capital emphasizes its role in enhancing factor productivity (mainly by reducing transaction costs). We model the hypotheses that the expansion of market activities (increased “marketization”) weakens social capital formation, and that firms utilize more market services in response to the declining social capital. Within this framework, perpetual growth can be consistent with the progressive erosion of social capital.
    Keywords: Endogenous growth, externalities, marketization, social assets
    JEL: O13 O41 Q20 Z13
    Date: 2006–04
  3. By: Bjørnskov, Christian (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: This paper connects two strands of the literature on social trust by estimating the effects of trust on growth through a set of potential transmission mechanisms directly. It does so by modelling the process using a three-stage least squares estimator on a sample of countries for which a full data set is available. The results indicate that trust affects schooling and the rule of law directly. These variables in turn affect the investment rate (schooling) and provide a direct effect (rule of law) on the growth rate. The paper closes with a short discussion of the relevance of the findings.
    Keywords: Growth; Trust; Transmission mechanisms
    JEL: N40 O10 Z13
    Date: 2006–05–04
  4. By: Dirk Nabers (GIGA Institute of Asian Affairs)
    Abstract: In order to provide a lens to the issue of international security cooperation after 11 September 2001, this paper will examine the question of how collective action in international relations becomes possible. The author maintains that it is possible to understand, if not explain, a fair amount of inter-state collective action by analyzing the culture of the international system. Using discourse analysis as a tool, the analysis addresses the underlying ideas, norms and identities that constitute the relationship between the United States and Japan on the one hand and Germany and the United States on the other hand as it evolved since September 2001. As a result, the paper argues that even if the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington have led to strong pressure on states like the United States, Germany and Japan to form a collective identity, rivalling identities have yet not given way.
    Keywords: collective action, culture, constructivism, discourse analysis, terrorism, Japan, Germany, United States
    Date: 2005–09
  5. By: Joachim Merz (Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Research Institute on Professions, University of Lüneburg); Lars Osberg (Department of Economics, Dalhousie University)
    Abstract: This paper argues that public holidays facilitate the co-ordination of leisure time but do not constrain the annual amount of leisure. Public holidays therefore have benefits both in the utility of leisure on holidays and (by enabling people to maintain social contacts more easily) in increasing the utility of leisure on normal weekdays and weekends. The paper uses the variation (13 to 17) in public holidays across German Länder and the German Time Use Survey of 2001-02 to show that public holidays have beneficial impacts on social life on normal weekdays and weekends. Since these benefits are additional to the other benefits of holidays, it suggests that there is a case to be made for more public holidays.
    Keywords: Public holidays, social contacts, social leisure time, time allocation, time use diaries, German Time Budget Survey 2001/02
    JEL: J22 I31 Z13 H40
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Paolo Pin (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: The paper presents a model of network formation where every connected couple give a contribution to the aggregate payoff, eventually discounted by their distance, and the resources are split between agents through the Myerson value. As equilibrium concept we adopt a refinement of pairwise stability. The only parameters are the number N of agents and a constant cost k for every agent to maintain any single link. This setup shows a wide multiplicity of equilibria, all of them connected, as k ranges over non trivial cases. We are able to show that, for any N, when the equilibrium is a tree (acyclical connected graph), which happens for high k, and there is no decay, the diameter of such a network never exceeds 8 (i.e. there are no two nodes with distance greater than 8). Adopting no decay and studying only trees, we facilitate the analysis but impose worst-case scenarios: we conjecture that the limit of 8 should apply for any possible non--empty equilibrium with any decay function.
    Keywords: Network Formation, Myerson value
    JEL: D85
    Date: 2006
  7. By: Gupta Anil K
    Abstract: Professional norms can take precedence over social expectations. Sometimes, these norms are ahead of societal expectations and therefore the fairness follows the just norms. However, sometimes, reverse is the case. When sati was outlawed, it was enactment of justice which was considered by many believers in this practice as an unfair interference in their customs. In this case, therefore, the justice was perceived to be unfair. But in the case of knowledge domain, because of the dominant practice of professionals collecting the knowledge of people without attribution, reciprocity or acknowledgement, a just practice became actually an unfair practice. Legally, if the rights of the people to their traditional knowledge are not recognized, then it is not unjust system to exploit that knowledge. But this is certainly an unfair system. In this paper, I deal with the issue of Prior Informed Consent and the ethics underlying the knowledge exchange between formal and informal system. The criteria for assessing the adverse consequence from knowledge providers are discussed in the context of Rawlsian framework. Similar consequences are conceptualized for knowledge seekers. It is debated that whether motives could have a bearing on the outcomes or the consequences. The relationship between knowledge, institutions, ethics and culture is briefly reviewed to discuss what exactly is the normal behaviour among scholars. The policy implications of the work with particular reference to intellectual properly rights are identified.
    Date: 2006–04–24
  8. By: Bjørnskov, Christian (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: This paper examines the association between political ideology and the size of government and quality of the legal system and regulations. A cross-country indicator of government and citizen ideology is presented. Empirical results suggest that ideologically leftwing governments increase the size of government while the long-term ideological convictions of citizens affect the size of government and the quality of the legal system and regulations. These effects depend on the degree of political competition while ideology also affects countries’ institutional response to economic crisis.
    Keywords: Political Economy; Institutional Quality; Ideology; Social Norms
    JEL: P16 Z13
    Date: 2005–01–01
  9. By: Marco Haan (University of Groningen); Peter Kooreman (University of Groningen and IZA Bonn); Tineke Riemersma (University of Groningen)
    Abstract: We conduct a public good experiment with high school teenagers. Some groups exclusively consist of students that we know to be friends. Other groups exclusively consist of students that we know not to be friends, and that are mere classmates. We find that ‘friends’ contribute more to the public good than ‘classmates’ do. Contributions of ‘classmates’ sharply decrease in the last round, in line with the literature on public good experiments. However, contributions of ‘friends’ sharply increase in the last round.
    Keywords: experimental economics, public goods, friendship
    JEL: C91 C92 H41
    Date: 2006–04
  10. By: Andreas Ammermueller; Jörn-Steffen Pishcke
    Abstract: We estimate peer effects for fourth graders in six European countries. The identification relies on variation across classes within schools. We argue that classes within primary schools are formed roughly randomly with respect to family background. Similar to previous studies, we find sizeable estimates of peer effects in standard OLS specifications. The size of the estimate is much reduced within schools. This could be explained either by selection into schools or by measurement error in the peer background variable. When we correct for measurement error we find within school estimates close to the original OLS estimates. Our results suggest that the peer effect is modestly large, measurement error is important in our survey data, and selection plays little role in biasing peer effects estimates. We find no significant evidence of non-linear peer effects.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2006–05
  11. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada); Maximo Rossi (Universidad de la República, Uruguay); Dyane Zaclicever (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)
    Abstract: This paper explores the effect of religious observance and affiliation to the dominant religion (Catholicism) on trust in institutions, towards others and market attitudes. The analysis is performed using a Latin American database of twenty thousand respondents from 2004 by means of ordered probit models. The most interesting results are: i) Trust toward others is positively correlated with religious observance and with Catholic affiliation. ii) There is a positive correlation between trust in the government, in the police, in the armed forces, in the judiciary and in the banking system and religious practice in general. Identical positive results are obtained for Catholic affiliation. iii) Correlations with attitudes toward the market, in general, are heterogeneous but never negative. In sum, individual’s level of religiosity crucially affects trust in institutions and toward peers. We also found that Catholicism encourages both trust in institutions and towards others. Thus, we found a positive effect of “religiosity” on social capital. In fact, we never found any negative (and significant) effect on the variables considered.
    Keywords: trust in institutions, economic behavior, religious practise, Catholics.
    JEL: Z12 Z13
    Date: 2006–05–05
  12. By: Savastano, Sara; Feder, Gershon
    Abstract: The paper reviews the literature on the characteristics and impact of opinion leaders on the diffusion of new knowledge, concluding that there is no clear evidence on whether opinion leaders are more effective if they are similar in socioeconomic attributes to the other farmers rather than superior to would be followers. A multivariate analysis of the changes in integrated pest management knowledge in Indonesia among follower farmers over the period 1991-98 indicates that opinion leaders who are superior to followers, but not excessively so, are more effective in transmitting knowledge. Excessive socioeconomic distance is shown to reduce the effectiveness of diffusion. The paper then derives operational implications of the empirical results.
    Keywords: Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems,Rural Development Knowledge & Information Systems,Primary Education,ICT Policy and Strategies,Education For All
    Date: 2006–05–01
  13. By: Wolfgang Hein (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies); Lars Kohlmorgen (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of new institutional structures in global health governance on the realization of social rights in poor countries. Meanwhile, health is broadly seen as an import precondition for social and economic development. This leads to an integration of the “diseases of the poor” (basically infectious diseases) into strategies of fighting poverty. Considering the example of global HIV/AIDS politics, the paper argues that new governance modes increase the participation of civil society groups and affected communities, but that they are also frequently instrumentalised by powerful actors to pursue their particular interests. In fact, increasing resources are mobilized for the fight against poverty related diseases. The paper concludes that global health governance is characterized by a combination of moral values and material interests which does not guarantee a comprehensive realization of social rights, but which allows some progress in the fight against poverty-related diseases – a precondition of the possible further realization of social rights.
    Keywords: Global Health Governance; New Governance Modes, International Organizations, Social Rights, Global Social Justice, Developing Countries, HIV/AIDS Politics
    Date: 2005–08
  14. By: Schady, Norbert; Filmer, Deon
    Abstract: Increasing the schooling attainment of girls is a challenge in much of the developing world. The authors evaluate the impact of a program that gives scholarships to girls making the transition between the last year of primary school and the first year of secondary school in Cambodia. They show that the scholarship program had a large, positive effect on the school enrollment and attendance of girls. Their preferred set of estimates suggests program effects on enrollment and attendance at program schools of 30 to 43 percentage points. Scholarship recipients were also more likely to be enrolled at any scchool (not just program schools) by a margin of 22 to 33 percentage points. The impact of the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) program appears to have been largest among girls with the lowest socioeconomic status at baseline. The results are robust to a variety of controls for observable differences between scholarship recipients and nonrecipients, to unobserved heterogeneity across girls, and to selective attrition out of the sample.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Gender and Education,Gender and Development
    Date: 2006–05–01
  15. By: Fabio Sabatini
    Abstract: The contribution of this paper to the social capital literature is twofold. Drawing on the Italian data, it firstly develops a new framework for measurement, allowing to build indicators for 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.
    Keywords: Social capital, Social networks, Economic development, Principal component analysis, Multiple factor analysis.
    JEL: A12 O10 O18 R11 Z13
    Date: 2005–07
  16. By: Fabio Sabatini
    Abstract: This paper provides an exploratory analysis on the relationship between educational qualification and work status in Italy, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and self-employed workers. Rough data are drawn from four waves (1995, 1998, 2002, and 2004) of the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW) carried out by the Bank of Italy. Stylised facts emerging from the empirical evidence are the surprisingly low level of educational qualification exhibited by employers and the tendency of workers holding higher levels of educational qualification not to chose to undertake an entrepreneurial activity. Such workers generally become members of the arts and professions, or take up a career as high-level employees.
    Keywords: Education, Work status, Employment, Self-employment, Entrepreneurship, Human capital
    JEL: I21 J23 J24 M13
    Date: 2006–05

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