nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒07‒15
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Peer Effects, Social Multipliers and Migrants at School: An International Comparison By Horst Entorf; Martina Lauk
  2. India's Socially Regulated Economy By Barbara Harriss-White (QEH)
  3. Local public goods in a democracy: Theory and evidence from rural India. By S. Gupta; Raghbendra Jha
  4. Earnings Inequality in India: Has the Rise of Caste and Religion Based Politics in India had an Impact? By Sumon Kumar Bhaumik; Manisha Chakrabarty;
  5. Language competition with bilinguals in social networks By Xavier Castelló; ; Víctor M. Eguíluz
  6. Determinants of growth in Italy. A time series analysis By Stefania Villa
  7. Livelihood Networks and Decision-making Among Congolese Young People in Formal and Informal Refugee Contexts in Uganda By Christina Clark
  8. Intergenerational Transmission of ‘Religious Capital’: Evidence from Spain By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Shoshana Neuman
  9. Divorce Laws and the Structure of the American Family By Stéphane Mechoulan
  10. Can information campaigns spark local participation and improve outcomes ? A study of primary education in Uttar Pradesh, India By Khemani, Stuti; Glennerster, Rachel; Duflo, Esther; Banerji, Rukmini; Banerjee, Abhijit
  11. The Politics of Institutional Renovation and Economic Upgrading: Lessons from the Argentine Wine Industry By Gerald Mc Dermott; ;
  12. The Political Economy of Corruption and the Role of Financial Institutions By Kira Boerner; Christa Hainz
  13. Businessman Candidates: Special-Interest Politics in Weakly Institutionalized Environments By Scott Gehlbach; Konstantin Sonin
  14. Artificial Neural Network Enhanced Parametric Option Pricing By Panayiotis C. Andreou
  15. Religious Women in a Chinese City: Ordering the past, recovering the future - Notes from fieldwork in the central Chinese province of Henan By Maria Jaschok (QEH)
  16. Is Fertility Related to Religiosity? Evidence from Spain By Pablo Brañas-Garza; Shoshana Neuman

  1. By: Horst Entorf (Darmstadt University of Technology and IZA Bonn); Martina Lauk (Darmstadt University of Technology)
    Abstract: This article analyses the school performance of migrants dependent on peer groups in different international schooling environments. Using data from the international OECD PISA test, we consider social interaction within and between groups of natives and migrants. Results based on social multipliers (Glaeser et al. 2000, 2003) suggest that both native-tonative and migrant-to-migrant peer effects are higher in ability-differencing school systems than in comprehensive schools. Thus, non-comprehensive school systems seem to magnify the already existing educational inequality between students with a low parental socioeconomic migration background and children from more privileged families. Students with a migration background and a disadvantageous parental status would benefit from higher diversity within schools.
    Keywords: peer effects, migration, education, social multipliers, school systems, parental socioeconomic background
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2006–06
  2. By: Barbara Harriss-White (QEH)
    Abstract: By far the larger part of the contemporary Indian economy - judged by measures as disparate as GDP and livelihoods - is not directly regulated by the state. It is regulated through social institutions. Social institutions express forms of power not confined to the economy. Macro-economic policy is implemented through their filters. In this paper some propositions derived from a large primary literature concerning the roles of gender, religious plurality, caste, space, class and the state are introduced. Liberalisation is argued to increase the tension between forces dissolving social forms of regulation and those intensifying them.
  3. By: S. Gupta; Raghbendra Jha
    Abstract: This paper examines allocation of local public goods over jurisdictions (villages) with individuals with identical tastes and different incomes, in a model with democratic institutions and majority rule. The median voter (in income) in each jurisdiction determines the probability of re-election for the incumbent government. The jurisdiction with the median of these median voters is most favoured. With identical median voters in jurisdictions, and with re-election requiring less than 50mandate, jurisdictions with higher income inequality get favoured. Results from a survey data (from NCAER) on infrastructure provision in 1669 Indian villages confirm this hypothesis. Ethnic fragmentation does not affect public good provision but political fragmentation does. Finally, villages with the median population are the most favoured for public goods allocation. Sparsely populated and too densely populated villages are relatively neglected.
    Keywords: median voter, local public good, reservation utility
    JEL: H41 H72
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Sumon Kumar Bhaumik; Manisha Chakrabarty;
    Abstract: Since 1989, there has been a sharp increase in the role of caste and religion in determining political fortunes at both state and federal levels in India. As a consequence, significant intercaste and inter-religion differences in earnings have the potential to stall the process of economic reforms. Yet, the patterns and determinants of such differences remain unexplored. We address this lacuna in the literature, and explore the determinants of the differences in inter-caste and inter-religion earnings in India during the 1987-99 period, using the 43rd and 55th rounds of National Sample Survey (NSS). Our results suggest that (a) earnings differences between “upper” castes and SC/ST have declined between 1987 and 1999, (b) over the same period, earnings differences between Muslims and non-Muslims have increased, to the detriment of the former, and (c) inter-caste and inter-religion differences in earnings can be explained largely by corresponding differences in educational endowment and returns on age (and, hence, experience). However, differences in returns on education do not explain inter-caste and interreligion earnings differences to a great extent.
    Keywords: Inequality, Caste, Religion, India
    JEL: O15 O17
    Date: 2006–03–01
  5. By: Xavier Castelló; ; Víctor M. Eguíluz
    Keywords: Complex systems, Language competition, social networks
    Date: 2006–07–04
  6. By: Stefania Villa
    Abstract: This paper investigates the macro-determinants of growth in Italy in a time series framework, from 1950 till 2004. The analysis of economic growth, started with the Solow’s (1956) and Swan’s (1956) famous contributions, has developed rapidly since the mid 1980’s. The empirical literature follows two main approaches: growth accounting and growth regressions. In this paper the empirical approach starts with a parsimonious specification of the growth equation and then it analyses extended models. The initial specification is consistent with the standard neoclassical model and includes human capital. The extensions involve the introduction of a set of policy and institutional factors potentially affecting the Italian economic performance. In relation to econometric techniques, we use the error correction model (ECM) representation: in a time series framework, it provides evidence on the existence of a stable long-run linear relationship between growth and its determinants. The main results are the following: investment is the key source of economic growth; time series properties of the variables of interest and regression analysis provide evidence in favour of endogenous growth models in Italy and the only variable that seems to be robustly correlated with growth, according to the Extreme Bound Analysis, is government consumption, which affects negatively the growth rate.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Time-Series Models.
    JEL: C22 O11 O40
    Date: 2005–12
  7. By: Christina Clark (Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Refugee young people who are without their biological parents are often assumed to be among the most disempowered members of displaced populations. This paper interrogates this assumption by exploring Congolese young people’s access to decision-making in a variety of household contexts in Kampala and Kyaka II refugee settlement, western Uganda. Using a network approach to household and family, research findings reveal shrinking networks, increasing delinkage between household and family, and a greater importance of households in the refugee context. These changes have resulted in the advent of households headed by young people and composed of young peers, as well as an increasing number of young people who are members of households outside of traditional family networks. Contrary to assumptions in much of the refugee literature, policy and programming, young people in these situations have greater access to decision-making at household, community and policy levels, thus showing that conflict-induced displacement has created opportunities as well as challenges for some refugee young people.
    Date: 2006–02
  8. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Universidad de Granada); Shoshana Neuman (Bar-Ilan University, CEPR and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: The paper examines intergenerational transmission of 'religious capital' from parents to their offspring, within an economic framework of a production function of 'religiosity' where parental inputs serve as factors of production. A sample of Catholic Spaniards who grew up in Catholic households is used for the empirical study. A rich unique data base is employed with data on several aspects of religiosity: two dimensions of the individual's religiosity - mass attendance (6 levels) and prayer (11 levels); information on the mother's and father's church attendance when the respondent was a child (9 levels) as well as the respondent's mass participation at the age of 12. The use of detailed religiosity measures (rather than one dichotomous variable, e.g. goes to church-yes/no; practicing Catholic - yes/no), facilitates a more sophisticated analysis with robust conclusions. A theoretical framework is followed by stylized facts on household composition. Then the effect of the parents' input on respondent's religiosity is examined - first using cross-tabulation and then using Ordered Logit regression. The inputs of the parents are proxied by the mother's and father's intensity of church attendance when the respondent was a child. The output (respondent's religiosity) is measured using detailed data on mass attendance and prayer. Exposure to mass services during childhood and socio-economic variables are also considered. All in all we find that parental religious inputs significantly affect individuals' religiosity BUT the route of intergenerational transmission is from mother to daughter and from father to son. Women are not affected by paternal religiosity and men are unaffected by maternal religiosity. Current religiosity is also affected by own exposure to mass services during childhood - own experience has a more pronounced effect on the private/intimate activity of prayer than on the social/public activity of church attendance. Current mass participation is more affected by parental than by own mass attendance during childhood.
    Keywords: religious capital, Catholic, church attendance, prayer, intergenerational transmission, production, Spain
    JEL: Z12 J12 J13 D13
    Date: 2006–06
  9. By: Stéphane Mechoulan
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of no-fault divorce laws on marriage and divorce in the United States. I propose a theory that captures the key stylized facts of the rising then declining divorce rates and the apparent convergence of divorce rates across the different divorce regimes. The empirical results suggest that a shift from fault to no-fault divorce increased the odds of divorcing for those couples who married before the shift. The analysis further suggests that those couples who marry after the shift to a no-fault regime, in turn, sort themselves better upon marriage, which offsets the direct effect of the law on divorce rates. Consistent with that selectivity argument, after a switch to a no-fault divorce regime, women get married later in life. These results hold for the law that governs property division and spousal support. The law that governs divorce grounds does not seem to matter significantly.
    Keywords: divorce, marriage, law, no-fault, fault, property, grounds, surprise
    Date: 2006–07–10
  10. By: Khemani, Stuti; Glennerster, Rachel; Duflo, Esther; Banerji, Rukmini; Banerjee, Abhijit
    Abstract: There is a growing belief in development policy circles that participation by local communities in basic service delivery can promote development outcomes. A central plank of public policy for improving primary education services in India is the participation of village education committees (VECs), consisting of village government leaders, parents, and teachers. The authors report findings from a survey in the state of Uttar Pradesh, of public schools, households, and VEC members, on the status of education services and the extent of community participation in the public delivery of education services. They find that parents do not know that a VEC exists, sometimes even when they are supposed to be members of it; VEC members are unaware of even key roles they are empowered to play in education services; and public participation in improving education is negligible, and correspondingly, people ' s ranking of education on a list of village priorities is low. Large numbers of children in the villages have not acquired basi c competency in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Yet parents, teachers, and VEC members seem not to be fully aware of the scale of the problem, and seem not to have given much thought to the role of public agencies in improving outcomes. Learning failures coexist with public apathy to improving it through public action. Can local participation be sparked through grassroots campaigns that inform communities about the VEC and its role in local service delivery? Can such local participation actually affect learning outcomes, and can any impact be sustained? The authors describe information and advocacy campaigns that have been experimentally implemented to address some of the problems with local participation, and future research plans to evaluate their impact.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Tertiary Education,Access & Equity in Basic Education
    Date: 2006–07–01
  11. By: Gerald Mc Dermott; ;
    Abstract: Through a comparative, longitudinal analysis of the wine industry in two Argentine provinces, this article examines how different political approaches to reform shape the ability of societies to build new institutions for economic upgrading. The article finds that inherited structural factors per se can not easily explain the different solutions to this challenge. A better explanation focuses on how governments confront the dual challenge of redefining the boundary between the public and private domains and of recombining the socio-economic ties among relevant firms and their respective business associations. A “depoliticization” approach emphasizes the imposition of arm’s-length incentives by a powerful, insulated government, but appears to contribute little to institutional change and upgrading. A “participatory restructuring” approach promotes the creation of public-private institutions via adherence to two key principles: a) inclusion of a wide variety of relevant stakeholder groups and b) rules of deliberative governance that promote collective problem-solving. This latter approach appears to have the advantage of facilitating collaboration and knowledge creation among previously antagonistic groups, including government.
    Keywords: institutions, networks, upgrading, Latin America, industrial policy
    JEL: M13 F23 H4 L1 L5 O1 P16 D8
    Date: 2005–12–01
  12. By: Kira Boerner (Department of Economics, University of Munich, Gebelestr. 13, 81679 Munich, Tel: +49 89 980970, Fax: +49 89 2180 2767,; Christa Hainz (Department of Economics, University of Munich, Akademiestr. 1/III, 80799 Munich, Tel.: +49 89 2180 3232, Fax.: +49 89 2180 2767,
    Abstract: In many developing countries, we observe rather high levels of corruption. This is surprising from a political economy perspective, as the majority of people generally suffers from high corruption levels. We explain why citizens do not exert enough political pressure to reduce corruption if financial institutions are missing. Our model is based on the fact that corrupt officials have to pay entry fees to get lucrative positions. The mode of financing this entry fee determines the distribution of the rents from corruption. In a probabilistic voting model, we show that a lack of financial institutions can lead to more corruption as more voters are part of the corrupt system. Thus, the economic system has an effect on political outcomes. Well-functioning financial institutions, in turn, can increase the political support for anti-corruption measures.
    Keywords: Corruption, Financial Markets, Institutions, Development, Voting
    JEL: D73 D72 O17
    Date: 2006
  13. By: Scott Gehlbach; Konstantin Sonin
    Abstract: We initiate examination of the political boundaries of the firm by exploring the phenomenon of “businessman candidates”: business owners and managers who bypass conventional means of political influence to run for public office themselves. We argue that in-house production of political influence will be more likely in institutional environments where candidates find it difficult to make binding campaign promises. When campaign promises are binding, then a businessman may always pay a professional politician to run on the platform that political competition would otherwise compel the businessman to adopt. In contrast, when commitment to a campaign platform is impossible, then candidate identity matters for the policies that will be adopted ex post, implying that a businessman may choose to run for office if the stakes are sufficiently large. We illustrate our arguments through discussion of gubernatorial elections in postcommunist Russia, where businessmen frequently run for public office, institutions to encourage elected officials to keep their campaign promises are weak, and competition for rents is intense.
    Keywords: Businessman candidates, elections, citizen candidates, institutions, political economy
    JEL: D72 P16 P26 N40
    Date: 2004–12–01
  14. By: Panayiotis C. Andreou (University of Cyprus)
    Keywords: Option pricing, implied volatilities, implied parameters, artificial neural networks, optimization
    JEL: G13 G14
    Date: 2006–07–04
  15. By: Maria Jaschok (QEH)
    Abstract: The article, based on reflections from on-going ethnographic research in central China's Muslim and Catholic female communities, links indigenous notions of 'modernity' with religious identity and changing gender politics. Maria Jaschok argues that a growing de-centralization of the Chinese state apparatus and the concomitant emergence of civil space, however tentative or circumscribed, contribute to a society in which sources and processes of 'liberation', of the nation and of its women, are no longer axiomatic. Moreover, political tensions may bring in their wake volatility and uncertainty but, so Jaschok maintains, these also engender opportunities for aspirations, motivations, practises, and social engagement which are religiously infused! A modern, progressive, believing Chinese female citizen, assertive of her identity - it appears this may no longer be quite the oxymoron it once was when Maoist developmentalist prescriptions monopolised China's political culture.
  16. By: Pablo Brañas-Garza (Universidad de Granada); Shoshana Neuman (Bar-Ilan University, CEPR and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: The paper explores the relationship between religiosity and fertility among Catholics in Spain, thereby answering the question whether the two parallel trends of dramatic drops in fertility and in religiosity are inter-related. It looks at current religiosity as well as exposure to religiosity during childhood. A unique, rich, data set is employed. It includes various dimensions of religiosity: respondent’s religious affiliation; if he is Catholic- his current mass attendance (six levels) and his current prayer habits (eleven levels); spouse’s religious affiliation; parental (maternal and paternal) and respondent's mass attendance when the respondent was a child (nine levels); Catholic education during childhood (yes/no). The multifacet data on religiosity (rather than a single dichotomous variable) facilitates a sophisticated analysis with rigorous conclusions. The sample is restricted to married Catholic (female and male) respondents who were raised by Catholic parents, and are married to a Catholic spouse, in order to have a homogenous sample and to focus on the effect of the level (intensity) of religiosity (rather than religious affiliation) on fertility. Fertility is related to the various dimensions of religiosity- first using cross-tabulation and then using OLS regression. We find that fertility is not related to current intensity of religiosity. Exposure to religious activities during childhood has a significant effect on fertility of women (but not men): interestingly a father who was actively attending mass services has a positive effect on his daughter’s future fertility (increasing the number of kids by about 0.8) while the mother’s active mass participation has a reverse negative effect (leading to a decrease of one kid). Own participation in mass services during childhood has a positive effect on fertility- leading to an increase of 0.6 kids if the girl attended mass services intensively This study indicates the significance of childhood experience in shaping the 'taste for children'. It also suggests that there is no direct link between the fast secularization in Spain and the decline in birth rates.
    Keywords: fertility, religion, Catholic, church attendance, prayer, parental religiosity, taste for children, Spain
    JEL: Z12 J12 J13 D13
    Date: 2006–07

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