nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒10‒21
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Do Social Networks Inspire Employment? - An Experimental Analysis - By Berninghaus, Siegfried K.; Fischer, Sven; Gueth, Werner
  2. Is God in the Details? A Reexamination of the Role of Religion in Economic Growth By Chih Ming Tan; Steven N. Durlauf; Andros Kourtellos
  3. Cultural Nationalism: The Last Resort of Scoundrels By Eric Jones
  4. Conscription and Crime By Galiani, Sebastian; Rossi, Martin; Schargrodsky, Ernesto
  5. The curved relationship between subjective well-being and age. By Andrew E. Clark; Andrew J. Oswald
  6. Wage Differentials, Fairness, and Social Comparison: An experimental study of the Co-Employment of Permanent and Temporary Agency Workers† By Dorothea Alewell; Andreas Nicklisch
  7. Noisy commitments: The impact of information accuracy on efficiency By Eyal Ert; Andreas Nicklisch
  8. Can Anyone be "The" One? Evidence on Mate Selection from Speed Dating By Michele Belot; Marco Francesconi
  9. Crime and violence in development : a literature review of Latin America and the Caribbean By Heinemann, Alessandra; Verner, Dorte

  1. By: Berninghaus, Siegfried K. (Universität Karlsruhe); Fischer, Sven (Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems. Strategic Interaction Group); Gueth, Werner (Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems, Strategic Interaction Group)
    Abstract: There is robust field data showing that a frequent and successful way of looking for a job is via the intermediation of friends and relatives. Here we want to test this experimentally. Participants first play a simple public goods game with two interaction partners ('friends'), and share whatever they earn this way with two different sharing partners ('cousins') who have different friends. Thus one's social network contains two 'friends' and two 'cousins'. In the second phase of the experiment participants learn about a job opportunity for themselves and one additional vacancy and decide whom of their network they want to recommend and, if so, in which order. In case of coemployment, both employees compete for a bonus. Will one recommend others for the additional job in spite of this competition, will one prefer 'friends' or 'cousins' and how does this depend on contributions (of 'friends') or shared profits (with 'cousins')? Our findings are partly quite puzzling. Most participants, for instance, recommend quite actively but compete very fiercely for the bonus.
    Date: 2006–10–02
  2. By: Chih Ming Tan; Steven N. Durlauf; Andros Kourtellos
    Abstract: Barro and McCleary (2003) is a key research contribution in the new literature exploring the macroeconomic effects of religious beliefs. This paper represents an effort to evaluate the strength of their claims. We evaluate their results in terms of replicability and robustness. While we find that their analysis meets the standard of statistical replicability, we do not find that the results are robust to changes in their baseline statistical specification. Taken together, we conclude that their analysis cannot be taken to provide useable evidence on how religion might affect aggregate outcomes.
    Keywords: Economic growth, Religion, Model Uncertainty
    JEL: C59 O40 Z12
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Eric Jones
    Abstract: This is the text of the Chancellor Dunning Trust Lecture as it was delivered on Oct. 4, 2006.
    Keywords: Culture, Nationalism, Protectionism, Collectivism
    JEL: A13 F10
    Date: 2006–10
  4. By: Galiani, Sebastian; Rossi, Martin; Schargrodsky, Ernesto
    Abstract: The initiation in criminal activities is, typically, a young phenomenon. The study of the determinants of entry into criminal activities should pay attention to major events affecting youth. In many countries, one of these important events is mandatory participation in military service. The objective of this study is to estimate the causal relationship between mandatory participation in military service and crime. The authors exploit the random assignment through a draft lottery of young men to conscription in Argentina to identify this causal effect. Their results suggest that participation in military service increased the likelihood of developing a criminal record in adulthood (in particular, for property and weapon-related crimes).
    Keywords: Peace & Peacekeeping,Children and Youth,Political Systems and Analysis,Politics and Government,Crime and Society
    Date: 2006–10–01
  5. By: Andrew E. Clark; Andrew J. Oswald
    Abstract: This article is concerned with a body of work on happiness and age represented by important papers such as Mroczek and Kolarz (1998) and Mroczek and Spiro (2005). Using a large British data set, the paper presents new longitudinal evidence. It also points out that, perhaps unknown to many psychologists, a parallel literature on this topic exists in economics journals. The paper shows that subjective well-being follows a U-shape through the life course. We argue that eventually the two literatures will have to be made consistent with one another, and suggest that, although it is not easy to live in both worlds, with their different styles and conventions, economists and psychologists still have much to learn from one another.
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Dorothea Alewell (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Chair for Business Administration, Human Resource Management and Organization); Andreas Nicklisch (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: Recent experimental literature in labor economics shows that fairness concerns make a substantial difference for working decisions. Our study systematically explores how the existence of multiple fairness foci influences wage setting and acceptance thresholds. Particularly, we focus on the effect of horizontal fairness concerns, i.e., the wage comparison among employees. For our experiment, we use an institutional design of wage negotiations among employers, employees and temporary agency workers. Working agencies hire these workers and rent them out to firms. Thereby, we create a heterogeneous background of the labour force. Although temporary agency workers do the same work, typically, they receive lower wages due to the intermediate agency. The results of our laboratory experiments indicate that the availability of information concerning co-employee’s wage offers strongly influences the wage set and participants’ acceptance of contracts. Whereas the relation of average wages is not influenced by the order of the decisions, the absolute level of wages is dependent on the decisions. We find that temporary agency workers who decide on a wage offer after permanent employees receive a premium in addition to their wages, while permanent employees take a cut in wages if they get their wage offer after temporary workers have decided on their offers. These results are more influenced by self-regarding social comparison preferences than by other-regarding horizontal fairness concerns.
    Keywords: Experimental economics, horizontal fairness norms, labour economics, social preferences, vertical fairness norms
    JEL: C92 J33 M12 M52
    Date: 2006–03
  7. By: Eyal Ert (Max Wertheimer Minerva Center for Cognitive Research, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel); Andreas Nicklisch (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: We report an experiment designed to test the influence of noisy commitments on efficiency in a simple bargaining game. We investigate two different levels of commitment reliability in a variant of the peasant-dictator game. Theoretical analysis suggests that the reliability of commitments in this game does not affect efficiency. We find that accurate commitments promote efficiency, as expected by game theory. However, noisy commitments are found to impair efficiency. We explain this effect by the differences between incentives off the equilibrium path under conditions of accurate commitments and noisy commitments. This difference changes the game structure and in the current game facilitates more random responses.
    Keywords: Commitments, efficiency, experimental economics, information, trust
    JEL: A12 D02 K00
    Date: 2006–02
  8. By: Michele Belot; Marco Francesconi
    Abstract: Marriage data show a strong degree of positive assortative mating along a variety of attributes. But since marriage is an equilibrium outcome, it is unclear whether positive sorting is the result of preferences rather than opportunities. We assess the relative importance of preferences and opportunities in dating behaviour, using unique data from a large commercial speed dating agency. While the speed dating design gives us a direct observation of individual preferences, the random allocation of participants across events generates an exogenous source of variation in opportunities and allows us to identify the role of opportunities separately from that of preferences. We find that both women and men equally value physical attributes, such as age and weight, and that there is positive sorting along age, height, and education. The role of individual preferences, however, is outplayed by that of opportunities. Along some attributes (such as occupation, height and smoking) opportunities explain almost all the estimated variation in demand. Along other attributes (such as age), the role of preferences is more substantial, but never dominant. Despite this, preferences have a part when we observe a match, i.e., when two individuals propose to one another.
    Date: 2006–10–13
  9. By: Heinemann, Alessandra; Verner, Dorte
    Abstract: The authors review the recent literature on crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean and present a broad overview of the main ideas and empirical findings. They provide estimates of the magnitude of the problem, trends, and the manifestations of crime and violence in Latin America. They also discuss the ways in which violence affects development, the root causes of violence, and the empirical evidence on the determinants of crime. The authors conclude by stressing that preventive measures and innovative social policies are efficient and underutilized strategies to address the problem and call for both more research and operational experimentation.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation,Adolescent Health,Youth and Governance,Children and Youth,Social Cohesion
    Date: 2006–10–01

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