nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒09‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. The Wage Effects of Social Norms: Evidence of Deviations from Peers’ Body-Mass in Europe By René Fahr
  2. Lobbying, Corruption and Political Influence By Nauro F. Campos; Francesco Giovannoni
  3. Identification of Peer Effects Using Group Size Variation By Laurent Davezies; Xavier d’Haultfoeuille; Denis Fougère
  4. Altruism and Climate By Weibull, Jörgen; Alger, Ingela
  5. Corruption Across Countries and Regions: Some Consequences of Local Osmosis By Raaj Sah
  6. The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments By Matteo Cervellati; Joan Esteban; Laurence Kranich
  7. Fairness and Direct Democracy: Theory and Evidence By Sanjit Dhami; Ali al-Nowaihi
  8. The Regional Dimension of Knowledge Transfers - A Behavioral Approach By Tom Brökel; Martin Binder
  9. Poverty Is No Crime: Measuring Poverty in Russian Regions By Irina Denisova; Marina Kartseva
  10. Self-Employment and The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital By Nathalie Colombier; David Masclet
  11. Aid and Growth Accelerations: An Alternative Approach to Assess the Effectiveness of Aid By Jonas Dovern; Peter Nunnenkamp

  1. By: René Fahr (University of Cologne and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We investigate wage effects of deviations from peer group body mass index (BMI) to evaluate the influence of social norms on wages. Our approach allows for disentangling the influence of the social norm from any (anticipated) productivity effects associated with deviations from a clinically recommended BMI. Estimates of between effects models for 9 European countries for the years 1998-2001 suggest that the influence of the social norm varies considerably between countries and wage penalties are rather found for upward deviations from the norm and for men.
    Keywords: social norms, discrimination, body-mass-index, cross-country evidence, wage effects
    JEL: I10 J30 J70 M51
    Date: 2006–09
  2. By: Nauro F. Campos (Brunel University, CEPR and IZA Bonn); Francesco Giovannoni (CMPO, University of Bristol)
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that lobbying is the preferred mean for exerting political influence in rich countries and corruption the preferred one in poor countries. Analyses of their joint effects are understandably rare. This paper provides a theoretical framework that focus on the relationship between lobbying and corruption (that is, it investigates under what conditions they are complements or substitutes). The paper also offers novel econometric evidence on lobbying, corruption and influence using data for about 4000 firms in 25 transition countries. Our results show that (a) lobbying and corruption are substitutes, if anything; (b) firm size, age, ownership, per capita GDP and political stability are important determinants of lobby membership; and (c) lobbying seems to be a much more effective instrument for political influence than corruption, even in poorer, less developed countries.
    Keywords: lobbying, corruption, transition, institutions
    JEL: E23 D72 H26 O17 P16
    Date: 2006–09
  3. By: Laurent Davezies (DEPP and CREST-INSEE); Xavier d’Haultfoeuille (ENSAE, CREST-INSEE and Université Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne); Denis Fougère (CNRS, CREST-INSEE, CEPR and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper considers the semiparametric identification of endogenous and exogenous peer effects based on group size variation. We show that Lee (2006)’s linear-in-means model is generically identified, even when all members of the group are not observed. While unnecessary in general, homoskedasticity may be required in special cases to recover all parameters. Extensions to asymmetric responses to peers and binary outcomes are also considered. Once more, most parameters are semiparametrically identified under weak conditions. However, recovering all of them requires more stringent assumptions. Eventually, we bring theoretical evidence that the model is more adapted to small groups.
    Keywords: social interactions, linear-in-means model, semiparametric identification
    JEL: C14 C21 C25
    Date: 2006–09
  4. By: Weibull, Jörgen (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); Alger, Ingela (Boston College)
    Abstract: Recognizing that individualism, or weak family ties, may be favorable to economic development, we ask how family ties interact with climate to determine individual behavior and whether there is reason to believe that the strength of family ties evolves differently in different climates. For this purpose, we develop a simple model of the interaction between two individuals who are more or less altruistic towards each other. Each individual exerts effort to produce a consumption good under uncertainty. Outputs are observed and each individual chooses how much, if any, of his or her output to share with the other. We analyze how the equilibrium outcome depends on altruism and climate for ex ante identical individuals. We also consider (a) "coerced altruism," that is, situations where a social norm dictates how output be shared, (b) the effects of insurance markets, and (c) the role of institutional quality. The evolutionary robustness of altruism is analyzed and we study how this depends on climate.
    Keywords: altruism; family ties; individualism; moral hazard; evolution.
    JEL: D02 D13
    Date: 2006–07–10
  5. By: Raaj Sah (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: Large and persistent differences in corruption across comparable countries often are loosely attributed to unarticulated “cultural factors.” Such attributions may indicate a lack of firmer perspectives from social sciences. An even more challenging research issue is the presence of such differences across regions within the same country, because, in comparison to different countries, such regions generally share more socioeconomic and governance characteristics. A principal theme of this paper is that an individual’s perceptions of his or her environment are influenced by the realities that this individual and others have faced in the past, and that these perceptions affect current and future actions of individuals, which in turn exert influences on the current and future realities. A dynamic analysis of this theme yields a number of observations concerning individuals’ behavior and societal outcomes.
    Date: 2005–03
  6. By: Matteo Cervellati (University of Bologna, IAE Barcelona and IZA Bonn); Joan Esteban (IAE Barcelona); Laurence Kranich (University at Albany, SUNY)
    Abstract: In this paper we present a model of rational voting over redistribution where individual selfesteem and relative esteem for others are endogenously determined. Individuals differ in their productivities, and their behaviour and political views are influenced by moral standards concerning work. Agents determine what they take to be proper behaviour and they judge others, and themselves, accordingly, increasing their esteem (or self-esteem) for those who perform in excess of the standard and decreasing their esteem for those who work less. The desired extent of redistribution depends both on individual income and on individual attitudes toward others. The model has two types of equilibria. In a “cohesive” equilibrium, all individuals conform to the standard of proper behaviour, income inequality is low and social esteem is not biased toward any particular type. Under these conditions equilibrium redistribution increases in response to larger inequality. In a “clustered" equilibrium skilled workers work above the mean while unskilled workers work below. In such an equilibrium, income inequality is large and sentiments are biased in favor of the industrious. As inequality increases, this bias may eventually overtake the egoistic demand for greater taxation and equilibrium redistribution decreases. The type of equilibrium to emerge crucially depends on inequality. We contrast the predictions of the model with data on inequality, redistribution, work values and attitudes toward work and toward the poor for a set of OECD countries.
    Keywords: social contract, endogenous sentiments, voting over taxes, social norms, redistribution, inequality, politico-economic equilibrium
    JEL: D64 D72 Z13 H3 J2
    Date: 2006–09
  7. By: Sanjit Dhami; Ali al-Nowaihi
    Abstract: The median voter model (direct democracy) has wide applicability in economics. However, it is based on selfish voters i.e. voters who derive utility solely from 'own' payoff. We examine the implications of introducing fair voters who, in addition, also have a preference for fairness (or other regarding preferences) as in Fehr and Schmidt (1999). Within a simple general equilibrium model, we demonstrate the existence of a Condorcet winner for fair voters using the single crossing property of voters’ preferences. In a fair voter model, unlike a selfish voter model, poverty can lead to increased redistribution. Mean preserving spreads of income increase equilibrium redistribution. Greater fairness leads to greater redistribution. The introduction of selfish voters in an economy where the median voter is fair can have a large impact on the redistributive outcome. Empirical evidence based on OECD economies clearly brings out the high importance of fairness, relative to income inequality, in explaining redistribution. We also find support for American Exceptionalism.
    Keywords: Redistribution; other regarding preferences; single peaked preferences; single crossing property; income inequality; American Exceptionalism
    JEL: D64 D72 D78
    Date: 2006–09
  8. By: Tom Brökel; Martin Binder
    Abstract: Innovations are inherently connected to knowledge transfers. The need of face-to-face contacts to transfer tacit knowledge is commonly argued to cause a regional dimension of innovative activities. The paper presents an alternative explanation based on a model of boundedly rational actors who search for knowledge. It is shown that a regional dimension exists in these processes that results from a regional bias in an actor’s search activities. Social embeddedness, a shared regional identity and limited spatial mobility foster this bias. We argue that insights from research on these topics can help to define the geographic size of a region.
    Keywords: Regional Economics, Innovation, Knowledge Transfers, Tacit Knowledge, Bounded Rationality Length 31 pages
    JEL: B52 D83 O31 R12
    Date: 2006–09
  9. By: Irina Denisova (CEFIR/New Economic School); Marina Kartseva
    Abstract: Fighting poverty is on the top of Russia’s political agenda. The scope of poverty as well as the poverty profile is still an open question, however. The question is even more open with respect to the Russian regions. One could expect that being a heterogeneous country, Russia’s regional poverty profiles are also heterogeneous. We measure poverty in Russia’s regions using absolute poverty notion, official regional subsistence levels and consumption-based approach. We also draw regional poverty profiles by identifying the factors which influence poverty rates and poverty gaps. The exercise is based on NOBUS database – a nationally and regionally (for 46 regions) representative survey of 45000 households done in April-May 2003. We find that poverty rates vary significantly – up to threefold difference - across regions. The list of factors that influence poverty rate and poverty gap in regions are similar, with variation in relative weights of the factors. The former conforms with other studies on poverty in Russia that conclude that there are no major differences in determinants of transitory or persistent poverty. Some interesting insights in regional-specific patterns of poverty are found.
    Keywords: poverty, Russian regions, poverty rate, poverty profile, NOBUS
    Date: 2005–09
  10. By: Nathalie Colombier; David Masclet
    Abstract: We use the European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP) to investigate the determinants of self-employment. More precisely, we consider the influence of immediate social environments and social networks on the choice of self-employment. We conjecture that self-employment is correlated across generations because parents may transmit two classes of informal human capital to their offspring: (1) specific skills for a specific occupation and (2) general managerial skills such as the capacity to acquire autonomy, irrespective of the specific occupation. Our data allow us to dissociate those individuals who are first-generation self-employed from second-generation self-employed (i.e. those whose parents are self-employed), and, among second-generation self-employed, those individuals whose parents are in the same occupation as their offspring. Consistent with our assumptions, we show that having parents who are self-employed increases the probability of being self-employed, even when the individuals do not have the same occupation as their parents. We also observe strong differences between first and second generation self-employed workers. First-generation self-employed are generally younger and more educated than second generation self-employed. Finally our results indicate that first-generation self-employed report higher job satisfaction than second-generation self-employed. <P>Nous étudions dans cet article les déterminants du travail indépendant à partir de l'enquête européenne des ménages (ECHP). Plus particulièrement, nous étudions le rôle joué par l'environnement familial de l'individu. L'originalité de cette étude est de montrer que les parents ne se contentent généralement pas de transmettre à leurs enfants des compétences spécifiques à un métier donné mais également certaines aptitudes managériales non spécifiques à une profession particulière, facilitant ainsi l'accès au statut d'indépendant quel que soit le métier exercé. Nos résultats montrent sans ambiguïté qu'au-delà de la transmission d'un « savoir-faire » favorisant l’accès à un métier spécifique, dans un grand nombre de cas, les parents travailleurs indépendants facilitent également l'accès de leurs enfants au statut d'indépendant et cela bien souvent, quel que soit le métier envisagé. Un autre résultat intéressant de notre étude est qu'’l existe des différences importantes au sein des travailleurs indépendants selon qu’ils ont bénéficié ou non de transmissions intergénérationnelles de la part de parents travailleurs indépendants. On observe par exemple que le niveau d’éducation formelle est davantage discriminant pour les premières générations de travailleurs indépendants (ceux dont les parents ne sont pas travailleurs indépendants) que pour les secondes générations de travailleurs indépendants (ceux dont les parents sont travailleurs indépendants).
    Keywords: human capital, intergenerational links, self-employment, social capital , capital humain, capital social, liens intergénérationnels, travail indépendant
    JEL: J00 J21 C23
    Date: 2006–09–01
  11. By: Jonas Dovern; Peter Nunnenkamp
    Abstract: It continues to be heavily disputed whether foreign aid promotes economic growth in developing countries. In most cross-country regressions, aid is considered effective only if it shifts recipient countries to a significantly higher and sustainable growth path. We apply an alternative approach which is less demanding, based on the concept of temporary growth accelerations suggested by Hausmann, Pritchett and Rodrik. In assessing what can reasonably be expected from the donors’ modest aid efforts, we do not only employ aggregate aid data but we also differentiate between major aid categories, including grants, loans and so-called short-impact aid. It turns out that aid flows have a small but significantly positive effect on the conditional probability of growth accelerations. This result holds across different estimation methods. Short-impact aid is found to be more effective in this respect, while we reject the view that grants are superior to loans. To the contrary, we find a stronger effect of loans. Furthermore, aid has become more effective during the second half of our sample. Typically, however, the significance of results crucially depends on the criteria applied to identify growth accelerations.
    Keywords: Aid Effectiveness, Growth Accelerations, Grants versus Loans, Short-Impact Aid
    JEL: F35 O11
    Date: 2006–09

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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