nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒05‒20
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Generalized Trust and Sustainable Coexistence between Socially Responsible Firms and Non Profit Organizations By Angelo Antoci; Marcello Galeotti; Russu; Zarri
  2. Assessing the impact of illness, caring and ethnicity on social activity By Lucinda Platt
  3. Inequity aversion and trustees’ reciprocity in the trust game By Emanuele Ciriolo
  4. "The Social Capital of Regional Dynamics: A Policy Perspective" By Hans Westlund
  5. Network Cooperation and incentives within online communities By Godefroy DangNguyen (ENST-B); Thierry Pénard (CREM-CNRS)
  6. Matching and Network Effects By Sanjeev Goyal; Marcel Fafchamps; Marco J. van der Leij
  7. Punishment, Inequality and Emotions By David Masclet; Marie-Claire Villeval
  8. Institutions and their Measures: A Black Box of Goodies By Hansson, Gustav
  9. Democratic Voting and Social Exclusion By Sylvain Dessy; Flaubert Mbiekop
  10. Peer Punishment in Teams: Emotional or Strategic Choice? By Casari, Marco; Luini, Luigi

  1. By: Angelo Antoci (University of Sassari); Marcello Galeotti (University o Firenze); Russu (University of Sassari); Zarri (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: In this paper, we focus on a speci¯c component of economically rel- evant trust, i.e. on what we call `institutionally produced generalized trust', de¯ned as the amount of widespread trust (which is a public good for the economic system as a whole) endogenously and continuously gen- erated by the interaction of two types of private organizations operating in the economy: for-pro¯t ¯rms and nonpro¯t organizations. Through an evolutionary model with a trust accumulation equation and two replicator equations (capturing the evolution of economic organizations over time) we show that (1) The ¯xed point where all the four sub-types of private organizations considered in the model are simultaneously present can be attractive only if `virtuous' for-pro¯ts (i.e. socially responsible ¯rms) and `virtuous' nonpro¯ts (i.e. actually trustworthy mission-oriented organiza- tions) generate a negative externality on the other organizations of the same type. (2) The ¯xed point where the level of trust is very low and no socially responsible ¯rms neither trustworthy organizations are present can be attractive; this social con¯guration interestingly recalls, to some extent, what some prominent social scientists depict as a trend currently occurring in the United States. (3) A socio-economic scenario where four pure population ¯xed points are simultaneously attractive exists.
    Date: 2005–07
  2. By: Lucinda Platt
    Abstract: It has long been accepted that lack of social participation in wider society is one aspect or one definition of poverty. Current concerns with the extent and distribution of social capital as both a measure of a good society and as means to upward mobility also emphasise the importance of social contacts and networks to the well-being of individuals and communities. While research has often focused on 'civic participation' and the measurement of trust, more informal social bonds are also a crucial part of individuals' social capital. Moreover, informal social capital or social participation might be particularly important for those whose circumstances make them already more vulnerable to marginalisation, exclusion or poverty. For example, social interaction has been argued to be conducive to better outcomes for those with health problems; and there is an extensive literature which aims to chart and explain the role of 'ethnic capital' in the life chances of minority ethnic groups. I use the British Home Office Citizenship Survey 2001 for England and Wales to explore the impact on four aspects of lack of social engagement of long-term illness, caring for someone with such an illness, and ethnicity. Controlling for a range of characteristics and examining the relationships separately for men and women there is evidence that between them, the four measures reveal an underlying propensity for reduced social contact. Other things being equal, illness has little association with reduced social participation, but caring does seem to affect opportunities for sociability. Members of some ethnic groups are less likely to engage in neighbourly social visiting than others, and these differences are little affected by income level. By contrast differences in 'going out' across groups can largely be explained by differences in income. Overall, social engagement among male Bangladeshis and to a lesser extent Pakistanis is high, whereas Black Africans and Black Caribbeans, especially women, are notable for their lack of opportunities for social engagement compared with their otherwise similar peers. They would appear to be particularly at risk of social isolation, with consequences for their current and future welfare.
    Keywords: long-term illness, caring, ethnic group, social engagement, social capital
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2006–03
  3. By: Emanuele Ciriolo (DULBEA, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, and CORE, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve)
    Abstract: The introduction of inequity concerns into the Trust Game gives rise to complementary concepts of conditional trustworthiness and unconditional untrustworthiness. When the inequity concern is not accounted for, unconditional untrustworthiness is overestimated. The high proportion of trustees adopting the equal division behavioural norm suggests that an unequal distribution of show-up fees may deter trustors from placing trust, and may eventually reduce the incentive to cooperate for both players. It also follows that increases in income inequality can explain declines in self-reported trust in high-income countries.
    Keywords: Trust game; Trustworthiness; Reciprocity; Inequality; Social capital.
    JEL: C90 D63 Z13
    Date: 2005–12
  4. By: Hans Westlund (National Institute for Working Life)
    Abstract: This paper deals with social capital as an extra-market externality, and its role for innovations and growth. It analyses the changes of innovation activity over time, from early industrialism to the global knowledge economy, how the relations between the actors of today's innovation systems have developed and the role of social networks for innovations. The different kinds of networks built by the three constructers of social networks: the individual, the organizations and the (public and civic) society are discussed. The role of public policy in building social capital for innovations and growth is analyzed.
    Date: 2006–05
  5. By: Godefroy DangNguyen (ENST-B); Thierry Pénard (CREM-CNRS)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to understand the rationale of cooperation within online sharing communities. How can we explain the extent of cooperative interactions between anonymous distant Internet users ? We build a game theoretic framework to study the exchange of services within virtual community like in a peer-to-peer network. We show that the coexistence of contributors and free-riders is often a stable situation. We also examine the optimal incentive mechanisms to stimulate contributions by community members.
    Keywords: Online communities, Internet,free riding
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Sanjeev Goyal; Marcel Fafchamps; Marco J. van der Leij
    Abstract: This paper examines the existence and magnitude of network effects in the matching of workteams. We study the formation of co-author relations among economists over a thirty year period. Our principal finding is that a collaboration emerges faster among two authors if they are closer in the social network of economists. This proximity effect on collaboration is strong and robust but only affects initial collaboration. It has no positive influence on subsequent co-authorship. We also provide some evidence that matching depends on experience, junior authors being more likely to collaborate with senior authors.
    Date: 2006–05–11
  7. By: David Masclet (CNRS, CREM, University of Rennes 1); Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE (CNRS, University of Lyon 2, ENS-LSH) and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Cooperation among people who are not related to each other is sustained by the availability of punishment devices which help enforce social norms (Fehr and Gächter, 2002). However, the rationale for costly punishment remains unclear. This paper reports the results of an experiment investigating inequality aversion and negative emotions as possible determinants of punishment. We compare two treatments of a public good game, one in which costly punishment reduces the immediate payoff inequality between the punisher and the target, and one in which it does not affect inequality. We show that while inequality-aversion prevents some subjects from punishing in the equal cost treatment, negative emotions are the primary motive for punishment. Results also indicate that the intensity of punishment increases with the level of inequality, and reduces earnings inequality over time.
    Keywords: inequality aversion, negative emotions, free-riding, cooperation, experiment
    JEL: A13 C92 D63
    Date: 2006–05
  8. By: Hansson, Gustav (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The use of institutional measures in empirical work is widespread, but the question of what these measures actually capture and how they are constructed is something that is not given enough attention. Institutions and their measures are therefore like a “black box of goodies”: Something that we do not know much about but at the same time is given a very prominent role in explaining economic development. This paper is an attempt to deepen our understanding of institutional measures by critically examining four measures that have been given a prominent role in the recent literature on economic development. <p>
    Keywords: Institutions; Measurement; Methodology
    JEL: B40 C82
    Date: 2006–04–06
  9. By: Sylvain Dessy; Flaubert Mbiekop
    Abstract: This paper explores the political determinants of societies' tolerance for social exclusion on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or race. We develop a political-economic model of social exclusion with three main features. First, each individual living in this society must submit a political proposals regarding the extent to which society must tolerance social exclusion. Second, depending on the realized degree of society's tolerance for social exclusion, each population group comprising the society must decide on how much resources to expend in order to exclude rival groups from, or include its members in, the public allocation of education resources. Third, allocation of resources to participation in the exclusion contest trades off private investment in child's human capital. To the extent that population size is, at least initially, the only source of asymmetry between rival groups, our analysis suggests that the introduction of democratic voting may not be sufficient to save small, but visible, minorities from social exclusion. Only where this asymmetric is moderate, can the introduction of democratic voting suffice to eliminate social exclusion.
    Keywords: Democratic voting, social exclusion, political equilibrium
    JEL: D72 J15 P16
    Date: 2006
  10. By: Casari, Marco; Luini, Luigi
    Abstract: Punishing the free-riders of a team can promote group efficiency but is costly for the punisher. For this reason, economists see punishment as a second-order public good. We show in an experiment that subjects do not value punishment for its deterrence but instead for the satisfaction of retaliating. Punishment choices are made with little strategic reasoning.
    Keywords: experiments ; public goods ; informal punishment ; emotions ; legal systems
    JEL: C91 C92 D23
    Date: 2006–04

This nep-soc issue is ©2006 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.