nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒06‒24
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Incentives and Prosocial Behavior By BENABOU, Roland; TIROLE, Jean
  2. Institutions, Networks and Entrepreneurship Development in Russia: An Exploration By Ruta Aidis; Saul Estrin
  3. Moral Norms in a Partly Compliant Society By Sebastian Kranz
  4. Moral Norms and Institutions in a Partly Selfish Society By Sebastian Kranz
  5. Where are you from? Cultural Differences in Public Good Experiments. By Massimo Finocchiaro Castro
  6. Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China%u2019s Secondary Schools? By Weili Ding; Steven F. Lehrer
  7. Alternative Measures of Well-Being By Romina Boarini; Åsa Johansson; Marco Mira d'Ercole
  8. (When) Would I Lie To You? Comment on “Deception: The Role of Consequences†By Sjaak Hurkens; Navin Kartik  
  9. "Time and Money: Substitutes in Real Terms and Complements in Satisfactions" By J. Bonke; M. Deding; M. Lausten
  10. Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets By Raymond Fisman; Edward Miguel

  1. By: BENABOU, Roland; TIROLE, Jean
    JEL: D64 D82 H41 Z13
    Date: 2003–05
  2. By: Ruta Aidis (SSEES, University College London and FEE, University of Amsterdam); Saul Estrin (London Business School and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the ways in which institutions and networks influence entrepreneurial development in Russia. By utilizing new Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data collected in 2001, we investigate the effects of the weak institutional environment in Russia in terms of three dimensions: on the rate of productive entrepreneurial activity measured in terms of start-ups and existing business owners; on the characteristics of business owners; and on business financing. In addition, the analysis explores the effectiveness of Russia’s informal networks for circumventing the weak institutional environment for business development. Our results indicate that Russia’s business owners share many of the same characteristics as business owners in advanced western countries, though education is not associated with entrepreneurial activity. However, the main differences are in the sources of financing and the fact that relatively few individuals engage in productive entrepreneurial activity. Our results support the notion of the limited effectiveness of Russia’s networks for supporting entrepreneurial activity in its weak institutional environment.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship, institutions, networks, Russia
    JEL: J23 M13
    Date: 2006–06
  3. By: Sebastian Kranz
    Abstract: This paper analyses competition of moral norms and institutions in a society where a fixed share of people unconditionally complies with norms and the remaining people act selfishly. Whether a person is a norm-complier or selfish is private knowledge. A model of voting-by-feet shows that those norms and institutions arise that maximize expected utility of norm-compliers, taken into account selfish players' behavior. Such complier optimal norms lead to a simple behavioral model that, when combined with preferences for equitable outcomes, is in line with the relevant stylized facts from a wide range of economic experiments, like reciprocal behavior, costly punishment, the role of intentions, giving in dictator games and concerns for social efficiency. The paper contributes to the literature on voting-by-feet, institutional design, ethics and social preferences.
    Keywords: moral norms, social preferences, fairness, reciprocity, rule utilitarianism, voting-by-feet, farsighted-stability, cultural evolution, golden rule, social norms
    JEL: A13 C7 D02 D63 D64 D71 D8 Z13
    Date: 2006–05
  4. By: Sebastian Kranz
    Date: 2006–06–17
  5. By: Massimo Finocchiaro Castro (Department of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: We study the effect of cultural differences on contributions in a public good experiment, analysing real-time interactions between Italian and British subjects in their home countries. In the first treatment, subjects play in nationally-homogeneous groups. In the second treatment, Italian and British subjects play in heterogeneous groups, knowing the nationality of the group members. In the third treatment, we control for a possible “country effect” by giving players no information on nationality. The data suggest that, in homogeneous groups, British subjects contribute significantly more to the public good; contributions are lower in heterogeneous groups; there is no country effect.
    Keywords: public goods, experiments, real time interactions, cultural differences
    JEL: C92 H41 Z13
    Date: 2006–06
  6. By: Weili Ding; Steven F. Lehrer
    Abstract: Peer effects have figured prominently in debates on school vouchers, desegregation, ability tracking and anti-poverty programs. Compelling evidence of their existence remains scarce for plaguing endogeneity issues such as selection bias and the reflection problem. This paper firmly establishes a link between peer performance and student achievement, using a unique dataset from China. We find strong evidence that peer effects exist and operate in a positive and nonlinear manner; reducing the variation of peer performance increases achievement; and our semi-parametric estimates clarify the tradeoffs facing policymakers in exploiting positive peers effects to increase future achievement.
    JEL: I2 Z13 P36
    Date: 2006–06
  7. By: Romina Boarini; Åsa Johansson; Marco Mira d'Ercole
    Abstract: All discussions about the desirability of policy reforms rest on judgements about their effects on individuals and societal well-being. Yet, suitable measures for assessing how well-being is changing over time or compares across countries are lacking. This problem is, of course, not new and standard economic theory has provided, over the years, a range of insights about the criteria and domains that are most critical for the measurement of well-being, and on the relation between well-being and measures of economic resources. This paper does not revisit this theoretical discussion, nor does it provide a comprehensive review of different approaches to the measurement of well-being. It rather assesses whether GDP per capita is an adequate proxy as a measure of well-being or whether other indicators — used either as substitutes or as complements to GDP per capita — are more suitable for that purpose. Attention is limited to only some of the factors that influence well-being, and excludes some critical elements such as the environment, home production and other non-market factors. Tous les débats sur l'opportunité des réformes reposent sur des considérations relatives à leurs impacts sur le bien-être des individus et de la société. Pour autant, des mesures appropriées font défaut pour mesurer l'évolution du bien-être au fil du temps ou effectuer des comparaisons entre pays. Ce problème n'est, bien sûr, pas nouveau et la théorie économique fourni un éventail d'idées sur les critères et les domaines qui sont les plus importants pour mesurer le bien-être, ainsi que sur la relation entre le bienêtre et les mesures des ressources économiques. Ce document ne revient pas sur ce débat théorique et n'apporte pas non plus un examen exhaustif des différentes approches sur les mesures du bien-être. Son objectif, plus limité, est celui d'évaluer si le PIB par habitant peut être considéré comme une mesure adéquate du bien-être ou si d'autres indicateurs - utilisés comme substituts ou comme compléments au PIB par habitant - seraient plus appropriés. Seuls quelques-uns des éléments qui influent sur le bien-être seront examinés dans cette étude, tandis que d'autres facteurs importants tels que l'environnement, la production domestique et les autres productions non marchandes seront laissés de coté.
    JEL: D31 D6 I31 J22
    Date: 2006–02–17
  8. By: Sjaak Hurkens; Navin Kartik  
    Abstract: This paper reconsiders the evidence on lying or deception presented in Gneezy (2005,American Economic Review). We argue that Gneezy’s data cannot reject the hipótesis that people are one of two kinds: either a person will never lie, or a person will lie whenever she prefers the outcome obtained by lying over the outcome obtained by telling the truth. This implies that so long as lying induces a preferred outcome over truth-telling, a person’s decisión of whether to lie may be completely insensitive to other changes in the induced outcomes, such as exactly how much she monetarily gains relative to how much she hurts an anonymous partner. We run new but similar experiments to those of Gneezy in order to test this hypothesis. We find that our data cannot reject this hypothesis either, but we also discover substantial differences in behavior between our sub jects and Gneezy’s sub jects.
    Keywords: experimental economics, lying, deception, social preferences
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2006–06–02
  9. By: J. Bonke; M. Deding; M. Lausten
    Abstract: Time and money are basic commodities in the utility function and are substitutes in real terms. To a certain extent, having time and money is a matter of either/or, depending on individual preferences and budget constraints. However, satisfaction with time and satisfaction with money are typically complements, i.e., individuals tend to be equally satisfied with both domains. In this paper, we provide an explanation for this apparent paradox through the analysis of the simultaneous determination of economic satisfaction and leisure satisfaction. We test some hypotheses, including the hypothesis that leisure satisfaction depends on both the quantity and quality of leisure-where quality is proxied by good intensiveness and social intensiveness. Our results show that both the quantity and the quality of leisure are important determinants of leisure satisfaction, and, since having money contributes to the quality of leisure, this explains the empirical findings of the satisfactions being complementary at the same time as the domains are substitutes. Interestingly, gender matters. Intra-household effects and especially individual characteristics are more pronounced for women than for men for both domain satisfactions. Additionally, good intensiveness is more important for men (e.g., housing conditions), whereas social intensiveness is more important for women (e.g., the presence of children and participation in leisure-time activities).
    Date: 2006–05
  10. By: Raymond Fisman; Edward Miguel
    Abstract: Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement versus cultural norms in controlling corruption is poorly understood. To disentangle these two factors, we exploit a natural experiment, the stationing of thousands of diplomats from around the world in New York City. Diplomatic immunity means there was essentially zero legal enforcement of diplomatic parking violations, allowing us to examine the role of cultural norms alone. This generates a revealed preference measure of government officials' corruption based on real-world behavior taking place in the same setting. We find strong persistence in corruption norms: diplomats from high corruption countries (based on existing survey-based indices) have significantly more parking violations, and these differences persist over time. In a second main result, officials from countries that survey evidence indicates have less favorable popular views of the United States commit significantly more parking violations, providing non-laboratory evidence on sentiment in economic decision-making. Taken together, factors other than legal enforcement appear to be important determinants of corruption.
    JEL: K42 Z13 D73 P48
    Date: 2006–06

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.
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