nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒10‒14
twenty papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages By Benjamin A. Olken
  2. Does Ethnic Capital Matter? Identifying the Role of Ethnic Peer Effects in the Intergenerational Transmission of Ethnic Differentials By Alexis Leon
  3. Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction By John Duffy; Jack Ochs
  4. Trust and Cross-Cultural Dissimilarities in Corporate Environment By Rajagopal
  5. Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model By John Duffy; Margit Tavits
  6. Does Competition Affect Giving? By John Duffy; Tatiana Kornienko
  7. Religion, Capital social et réduction de la pauvreté au Cameroun: Le cas de la ville de Yaoundé By Odia Ndongo, Yves Francis; Ebene, Alice Justine; Tegnerowicz, Joanna
  8. Responsabilité Sociale de l’Entreprise et pratiques de gestion des Ressources Humaines;Corporate Social Responsibility And Human Resource Management Practices By Robert Coulon
  9. Social Comparisons and Social Order: issues relating to a possible re-study of W. G. Runciman's "Relative Deprivation and Social Justice" By David Rose
  10. Within and Between Group Variation of Individual Strategies in Common Pool Resources: Evidence from Field Experiments By Maria Alejandra Velez; James J. Murphy; John K. Stranlund
  11. The Effect of Spillovers on the Provision of Local Public Goods By Bloch, Francis; Zenginobuz, Unal
  12. Self-Organized Criticality in a Dynamic Game By John Duffy; Andreas Blume; Ted Temzelides
  13. Pourquoi évaluer son partenaire lors d’une transaction à la eBay ? une approche expérimentale By David Masclet (CREM - CNRS); Thierry Pénard (CREM – CNRS)
  14. Clash of Cultures : Muslims and Christians in the Ethnosizing Process By Amelie Constant; Liliya Gataullina; Klaus F. Zimmermann; Laura Zimmermann
  15. Evolutionary Economics and Psychology By Ulrich Witt
  16. Human Capital and Political Business Cycles By Akhmed Akhmedov
  17. Social Safety Nets and Structural Adjustment By OECD
  18. Private Provision of Public Goods and Local Interaction By Luca Corazzini, Ugo Gianazza
  19. The Effects of Status on Voluntary Contribution By Lise Vesterlund; Cagri Kumru
  20. Migration and union dissolution in a changing socio-economic context: the case of Russia By Magdalena Muszynska; Hill Kulu

  1. By: Benjamin A. Olken
    Abstract: In "Bowling Alone," Putnam (1995) famously argued that the rise of television may be responsible for social capital's decline. I investigate this hypothesis in the context of Indonesian villages. To identify the impact of exposure to television (and radio), I exploit plausibly exogenous differences in over-the-air signal strength associated with the topography of East and Central Java. Using this approach, I find that better signal reception, which is associated with more time spent watching television and listening to radio, is associated with substantially lower levels of participation in social activities and with lower self-reported measures of trust. I find particularly strong effects on participation in local government activities, as well as on participation in informal savings groups. However, despite the impact on social capital, improved reception does not appear to affect village governance, at least as measured by discussions in village-level meetings and by corruption in a village-level road project.
    JEL: Z13
    Date: 2006–10
  2. By: Alexis Leon
    Date: 2006–01
  3. By: John Duffy; Jack Ochs
    Abstract: We report results from an experiment that examines play in an indefinitely repeated, 2-player Prisoner’s Dilemma game. Each experimental session involves N subjects and a sequence of indefinitely repeated games. The main treatment consists of whether agents are matched in fixed pairings or matched randomly in each indefinitely repeated game. Within the random matching treatment, we vary the information that players have about their opponents. Contrary to a theoretical possibility suggested by Kandori (1992), a cooperative norm does not emerge in the treatments where players are matched randomly. On the other hand, in the fixed pairings treatment, the evidence suggests that a cooperative norm does emerge as players gain more experience.
    Date: 2006–06
  4. By: Rajagopal (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México)
    Abstract: Latin American corporate executives are faced with a serious problem the low trust and peer confidence. The factors of criticism at workplace, increased corporate controls, and growing expectations for improved performance and accountability have accompanied this decline in trust. Traditional approaches to corporate governance epitomized by organizational behavior theories have focused on short-term profits and organizational systems which fail to achieve desired results. This paper presents the analysis of behavioral dimensions of cross-cultural team performance in corporate environment in Mexico.This study is based on literature review of previous research contributions focused on the managers of multinational companies operating in Latin American countries in a cross-cultural environment. The success of the corporate ventures in Mexico has been evaluated from the perspectives of economic and relational attributes. The discussion in the study revealed that the degree of fit between a corporate parent and venture affects the success of the venture.
    Keywords: Low trust, culture and personality traits, team working, gender sensitivity, venture management
    JEL: M12 M51
    Date: 2006–08
  5. By: John Duffy; Margit Tavits
    Abstract: We report results from a laboratory experiment that provides the first direct test of the pivotal voter model. This model predicts that voters will rationally choose to vote only if their expected benefit from voting outweighs the cost. The expected benefit calculation involves the use of the voter’s subjective probability that s/he will be pivotal to the election outcome; this probability is typically unobservable. In one of our experimental treatments we elicit these subjective probabilities using a proper scoring rule that induces truthful revelation of beliefs. The cost of voting and the payoff to the election winner are known constants, so the subjective probabilities allow us to directly test the pivotal voter model. We find some support for the model: While a higher subjective probability of being pivotal does increase the likelihood that an individual chooses to vote, the decisiveness probability thresholds used by subjects are not as crisp as the theory would predict. We find some evidence that individuals learn over time to adjust their probabilities of being pivotal so that they are more consistent with the historical frequency of decisiveness, although such learning appears slow; many subjects\' assessments of their pivotalness remain substantially higher than is warranted by the electoral history.
    Date: 2006–09
  6. By: John Duffy; Tatiana Kornienko
    Abstract: We explore whether natural human competitiveness can be exploited to stimulate charitable giving in a controlled laboratory experiment involving three different treatments of a sequential \"dictator game\". Without disclosing the actual amounts given and kept, in each period players are publicly ranked -- by the amount they give away, by the amount they keep for themselves, or spuriously. Our results are generally supportive of the hypothesis that competitive urges can encourage or frustrate charitable behavior, depending on the competitive frame. We find some support for an alternative hypothesis that relative concerns are due to information-gathering rather than competition.
    Date: 2006–07
  7. By: Odia Ndongo, Yves Francis; Ebene, Alice Justine; Tegnerowicz, Joanna
    Abstract: This paper inscribes itself in the logic of debates on the policies of poverty reduction which have been taking place for a decade now. The author evaluates the influence of social religious capital on the poverty of households in Cameroon and particularly in Yaounde. First he identifies the determinants of religious social capital on the basis of a composite indicator, obtained by taking into account the percentage of heads of families who respond affirmatively to the question: "Can you count on the financial support of your religious community, that is of its leaders or other members, in the form of a loan and/or a gift, in the case of illness, of the death of a family member, of a job loss or when you experience short-term financial difficulties ?" The performed estimations allow us to reach the conclusion that the answer to this question depends on the head of family's level of education, on the frequency of his/her perusal of the sacred book (the Bible or the Koran), on the frequency of his/her participation in meetings of his/her religious community and on the existence or the non-existence of a formal and/or informal system of support on which the head of family can count in unexpected situations. Afterwards the author makes use of three different models to estimate three indicators - of monetary poverty, of poverty of living conditions and of poverty of potentialities - on the basis of socioeconomic determinants and of religious variables which allow one to explain the level of resources of the religious social capital. The obtained results prove that these religious variables influence the poverty of households in Yaounde.
    Keywords: social capital; poverty
    JEL: Z12 O12 D1 Z13
    Date: 2006–05–28
  8. By: Robert Coulon (Université de Bourgogne)
    Abstract: (VF)Dans quelle mesure les entreprises françaises déclinent-elles la notion de Responsabilité Sociale dans leurs pratiques de gestion des Ressources Humaines (GRH) ? Cherchent-elles à développer des pratiques RH qui dépassent l’application des règles de droit ? Pour répondre à ces questions, nous présentons les résultats d’une enquête auprès de 106 professionnels RH appartenant dans leur majorité à des entreprises industrielles de taille importante. Leurs témoignages, recueillis par questionnaires, portent sur un ensemble limité de pratiques RH socialement responsables.Selon nos résultats, les pratiques de GRH intègrent assez peu la notion de Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises (RSE) ; elles répondent essentiellement à des règles de droit.(VA) As far as human resource management practices (HRM) are concerned, how do French companies respond to corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Are they eager to develop practices beyond the existing legal rules? To answer these questions, we present the results of an inquiry involving 106 HR managers who mainly belong to large manufacturing companies. Their statements, collected by questionnaire, are focused on a few “responsible” HRM practices.According to our results, the HR management practices are still very slightly affected by CSR, they mainly respond to legal rules.
    Keywords: Responsabilité Sociales des Entreprises (RSE);Gestion des Ressources Humaines (GRH);Human Resource Management (HRM), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
    JEL: M12 M14 M51
    Date: 2006–09
  9. By: David Rose (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper reviews recent literature relating to relative deprivation, reference groups and social comparisons and discusses some ideas for qualitative research which might assist in determining how one might replicate Runciman’s Relative Deprivation and Social Justice (1966) in the early 21st century. What sorts of social comparisons do people now make and are their reference groups as restricted as they appeared to be forty years ago? Following a brief review of the theoretical background on the importance of social comparisons, some key issues relevant to a re-examination of reference groups and relative deprivation are examined. This is complemented by a brief review of recent literature. Finally, there is an outline of some qualitative research designed to sensitise us to the problems which might be involved in a re-study of Runciman’s seminal work and thus examines people’s ideas about social comparisons, reference groups and views on social inequalities.
    Date: 2006–09
  10. By: Maria Alejandra Velez (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst); James J. Murphy (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst); John K. Stranlund (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    Abstract: With data from framed common pool resource experiments conducted with artisanal fishing communities in Colombia, we estimate a hierarchical linear model to investigate within-group and between-group variation in individual harvest strategies across several institutions. Our results suggest that communication serves to effectively coordinate individual strategies within groups, but that these coordinated strategies vary considerably across groups. In contrast, weakly enforced regulatory restrictions on individual harvests (as well as unregulated open access) produce significant variation in the individual strategies within groups, but these strategies are roughly replicated across groups so that there is little between-group variation.
    Keywords: common pool resources, field experiments, communication, regulation, hierarchical linear models
    JEL: C93 H41 Q20 Q28
    Date: 2006–09
  11. By: Bloch, Francis; Zenginobuz, Unal
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the provision of local public goods with positive spillovers across jurisdictions. If spillovers are symmetric, the noncooperative game played by jurisdictions admits a unique equilibrium, and an increase in spillovers reduces the total provision of public goods. Smaller jurisdictions always reduce their contribution, but larger jurisdictions can increase their contribution. When spillovers are asymmetric, equilibrium is unique if spillovers are low, while multiple equilibria exist for high spillover values. In the case of two jurisdictions, an increase in the flow of spillovers to one jurisdiction benefits agents from that jurisdiction but harms agents in the other jurisdiction. Beyond the case of two jurisdictions, the effect of changes in spillovers cannot be signed. An increase in the spillovers flowing to a jurisdiction can actually result in an increase in the supply of public goods by that jurisdiction and harm agents residing in it, while benefiting agents in the other jurisdictions. The results of the paper reveal the complexity of interactions that will plague the design of institutions for multijurisdictional local public good economies with spillovers.
    Keywords: local public goods; positive spillovers; equilibrium
    JEL: H41 H77 H73
    Date: 2004–12–15
  12. By: John Duffy; Andreas Blume; Ted Temzelides
    Abstract: We investigate conditions under which self-organized criticality (SOC) arises in a version of a dynamic entry game. In the simplest version of the game, there is a single location - a pool - and one agent is exogenously dropped into the pool every period. Payoffs to entrants are positive as long as the number of agents in the pool is below a critical level. Exiting results in a permanent payoff of zero. Agents in the pool decide simultaneously each period whether to stay in or not. We characterize the symmetric mixed strategy equilibrium of the resulting dynamic game. We demonstrate that, under our payoff structure, SOC arises only in the presence of local interactions. Thus, we provide an explicit game-theoretic model of the mechanism through which SOC can arise in a social context with forward looking agents.
    Date: 2006–10
  13. By: David Masclet (CREM - CNRS); Thierry Pénard (CREM – CNRS)
    Abstract: Several online market sites, such as eBay, have implemented reputation management mechanisms in order to improve cooperation. In this article, we aim at investigating the emergence of trust and cooperation in presence of reputation mechanism. In a series of experiments based on the trust game introduced by Berg Dickhault and McCabe (1995) , we examine different reputation systems. Our experimental design, thus, involves several treatments depending on the reputation system involved: simultaneous evaluation, sequential evaluation, evaluation with endogeneous choice in the moment of the evaluation. Our results indicate that reputation systems increase both the level of trust and the level of cooperation. However, our study also shed light on the limits of such systems. Indeed, evaluation can be used in a strategic way or in reprisal to received evaluation, that may attenuate its efficiency.
    Keywords: Trust, Experimental Economics, Evaluation, Reciprocity, E-commerce
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2006
  14. By: Amelie Constant; Liliya Gataullina; Klaus F. Zimmermann; Laura Zimmermann
    Abstract: The paper explores the evolution of ethnic identities of two important and distinct immigrant religious groups. Using data from Germany, a large European country with many immigrants, we study the adaptation processes of Muslims and Christians. Individual data on language, culture, societal interactions, history of migration and ethnic self-identification are used to compose linear measures of the process of cultural adaptation. Two-dimensional variants measure integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization. Christians adapt more easily to the German society than Muslims. Immigrants with schooling in the home country and with older age at entry as well as female Muslims remain stronger attached to the country of origin. Female Muslims integrate and assimilate less and separate more than Muslim men, while there is no difference between male and female Christians. Christians who were young at entry are best integrated or assimilated, exhibiting lower separation and marginalization in the later years, while for Muslims a similar pattern is observed only for assimilation and separation. Christian immigrants with college or higher education in the home country integrate well, but Muslims do not. For both religious groups, school education in the home country leads to slower assimilation and causes more separation than no education at home. While school education has no impact on integration efforts for Muslim, it affects similar attempts of Christians negatively.
    Keywords: Ethnicity, ethnic identity, religion, migrant assimilation, migrant integration, ethnic exclusion
    JEL: F22 J15 J16 Z10 Z12
    Date: 2006
  15. By: Ulrich Witt
    Abstract: Evolutionary economics is a paradigm for explaining the transformation of the economy. To achieve its goal, it needs being founded on a proper theory of economic behavior. The paper discusses these foundations. It is argued that the historical malleability of economic behavior is based on the interactions between innate behavior dispositions and adaptation mechanisms on the one hand and the limited, and always selective, cognitive and observational learning that contributes to an ever more extended and differentiated action knowledge. The implications of this interpretation are outlined in an exemplary fashion for the case of the evolution and growth of consumption. Length 29 pages
    Date: 2006–10
  16. By: Akhmed Akhmedov (CEFIR)
    Abstract: Classical theory considers political business cycle as a result of either opportunistic behavior of government (opportunistic cycle) or aiming policy on certain constituency (partisan cycle). In this paper, we propose an alternative explanation of the phenomenon of political business cycle — experience of government. We propose an illustration that shows that elections infer cycles without any opportunism or ideology of incumbents. We also build a model with endogenous ego-rent. The model explains a channel to increase incentives, when none has commitment — governors need to develop skills to increase their value for public and increase probability to get re-elected. Using fiscal monthly data of Russian regions from 1996 to 2004, we got evidence both of positive effect of experience on performance and opportunistic component of the cycle. We also got evidence of diminishing return on experience.
    Keywords: Elections, opportunistic business cycle, experience, sunk cost, Russian regions.
    JEL: D72 E32 H72 P16
    Date: 2006–10
  17. By: OECD
    Abstract: Social safety nets protect citizens against hardship. By offering compensation, social safety nets may help overcome the political resistance to trade liberalisation and structural reform, but they can also weaken the incentives to work and save. Depending on their design, safety nets may also ease or impair adjustment to changing economic circumstances. Against this backdrop, the paper looks at the impact of social safety nets on output and employment and on the ability of economies to absorb adverse shocks. Dependent on their design, the presence of extensive social safety nets is often associated with more limited labour resource use and lower per capita GDP levels, even though activation policy can provide offsets. Moreover, many of the characteristics of social safety nets that reduce output and employment levels heighten the persistence of slack in the wake of adverse shocks. By contrast, the impact of social safety nets on business investment and household saving, and by extension the current account balance, is not clear-cut. <P>Systèmes de protection sociale et ajustement structurel <BR>Les systèmes de protection sociale ont pour but de protéger la population contre certaines difficultés. En offrant une compensation, les systèmes de protection sociale peuvent contribuer à surmonter la résistance politique à la libéralisation des échanges et aux réformes structurelles, mais ils peuvent aussi affaiblir les incitations au travail et à l'épargne. Dans ce contexte, cet article examine l’impact des systèmes de protection sociale sur la production et sur l’emploi et également du point de vue de la capacité d’absorption de chocs négatifs par l’économie. La présence de larges systèmes de protection sociale, selon leur conception, se traduit souvent par une utilisation plus limitée des ressources en main d’oeuvre et par des niveaux plus faibles de PIB par habitant, même si les mesures d’activation peuvent avoir un effet compensateur. De surcroît, un grand nombre des caractéristiques des systèmes de protection sociale qui réduisent les niveaux de production et d’emploi accentuent la persistance d’une sous-utilisation des ressources à la suite d’un choc négatif. En revanche, l’impact des systèmes de protection sociale sur l’investissement des entreprises et l’épargne des ménages et, partant, sur le solde de balance courante, n’est pas bien défini.
    Keywords: structural policy, politique structurelle, economic convergence, convergence économique, social safety net, economic resilience, système de protection sociale, résilience économique
    JEL: E21 E24 E32 F42 H55 O47 O57
    Date: 2006–09–27
  18. By: Luca Corazzini, Ugo Gianazza (ISLA, Universita' Bocconi, Milano)
    Abstract: The main results of the traditional theory of private provision of public goods under the assumptions of identical individuals and normality of both public good and private consumption are: 1) there exists a unique Nash equilibrium pattern of contributions in which everybody contributes the same amount; 2) this pattern is stable. Under homothetic preferences, we show that these results generally no longer hold in the context of “locally enjoyed” public goods. In particular, there always exists a set of values for the parameter which describes preferences for the public good such that the symmetric Nash equilibrium is unstable and there exists at least one asymmetric Nash equilibrium which is locally stable.
    Keywords: Local Interaction, Public Goods, Nash Equilibria.
    JEL: C62 C72 H41
    Date: 2006–08
  19. By: Lise Vesterlund; Cagri Kumru
    Date: 2005–01
  20. By: Magdalena Muszynska (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Hill Kulu (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: A growing body of literature looks at the consequences of family migration from a gender perspective. The studies show that women’s economic well-being and employment suffer from family migration, which is usually stimulated by the career of the male earner in the family. This study extends current research on the subject by examining the effect of family migration on union dissolution. We use the event-history data of two retrospective surveys from Russia and apply hazard regression. The analysis shows that couples who move frequently over long distances have a significantly higher risk of union dissolution than couples who do not move or move only once. Our further analysis reveals that the risk of disruption for frequent movers is high when the migrant woman has a job. Frequent migrants had a high risk of union dissolution in the Soviet period but not so during the post-Soviet socio-economic transition. We argue that frequent moving increases union instability through a variety of mechanisms, the effect of which may vary across socio-economic contexts, however.
    Keywords: Russia, divorce, event history analysis, internal migration
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2006–09

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