nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒12‒01
nineteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Social Capital, Innovation and Growth: Evidence from Europe By Akcomak, Semih; ter Weel, Bas
  2. Social norms and household time allocation By Fernandez, Cristina; Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena
  3. Inequality and Trust in Sweden: Some Inequalities are More Harmful than Others By Jordahl, Henrik; Gustavsson, Magnus
  4. Social Networks and Employment - An Experimental Analysis By Siegfried Berninghaus; Sven Fischer; Werner Güth
  5. Family, obligations, and migration: the role of kinship in Cameroon By Annett Fleischer
  6. Helping the meaner, hurting the nicer: The contribution versus distribution game By Staffiero, Gianandrea
  8. Corporate Social Responsability and Profit Moximizing Behaviour By BECCHETTI LEONARDO; GIALLONARDO LUISA; TESSITORE MARIA ELISABETTA
  9. The Economics of the “Trust Game Corporation" By BECCHETTI LEONARDO; PACE NOEMI
  10. Corporate social responsibility and profit maximising behaviour under consumer tastes uncertainty By BECCHETTI LEONARDO; GIALLONARDO LUISA; TESSITORE MARIA ELISABETTA
  11. Taxation and The Crowding-Out Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility By Jérôme Ballet; Damien Bazin; Abraham Lioui; David Touahri
  12. Does technology affect network structure? - A quantitative analysis of collaborative research projects in two specific EU programmes By Roediger-Schluga, Thomas;
  13. Networks, Information and Prevention of Indiosyncratic Risks in Mexican Banks 1945-1980 By Gustavo A. Del Ángel Mobarak
  14. Can the Theory of Motivation Explain Migration Decisions? By Natálie Reichlová
  15. How Does Opportunistic Behavior Influence Firm Size? By Christian Cordes; Peter J. Richerson; Richard McElreath; Pontus Strimling
  16. Religion, capital social et réduction de la pauvreté au Cameroun: Le cas de la ville de Yaoundé By Yves Odia Ndongo; Alice Ebéné; Joanna Tegnerowicz
  17. The Coevolution of Economic and Political Development By Fali Huang
  18. How to manage people who think. A structural approach. By Beckerman, Carina
  19. Competition Fosters Trust By Steffen Huck; Gabriele K. Ruchala; Jean-Robert Tyran

  1. By: Akcomak, Semih (UNU-MERIT); ter Weel, Bas (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the interplay between social capital, innovation and economic growth in the European Union. We identify innovation as an important mechanism that transforms social capital into economic growth. In an empirical investigation of 102 European regions in the period 1990-2002, we show that higher innovation performance is conducive to economic growth and that social capital affects growth indirectly by fostering innovation. Our estimates suggest that there is only a limited role for a direct effect of social capital on economic growth.
    Keywords: Social capital, Innovation, Economic growth, European Union
    JEL: O1 O3 O52 Z13
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Fernandez, Cristina (IESE Business School); Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena (University of Essex)
    Abstract: Economic theories of the household predict that increases in female relative human capital lead to decreases in female housework time. However, longitudinal and cross-sectional evidence seems to contradict this implication. Women's share of home time fails to decrease despite increases in women's relative earnings. The literature has proposed social norms on the household division of labor as an alternative explanation. We use the 2002-2003 Spanish Time Use Survey (STUS) to explore the presence of social norms associated with the household division of housework and childcare. First, we observe that wives who earn more than their husbands still do more than 50% of the housework and childcare. Second, we find that a woman's relative share of housework decreases as her relative earnings increase, but only up to the point where she earns the same as her husband. Finally, independently of the definition of childcare, the relative time devoted to childcare does not vary with spouses' relative earnings. All these findings suggest that social norms may be an important factor in the division of household time.
    Keywords: Household production; intrahousehold allocation; time allocation; social norms;
    JEL: D13 Z13
    Date: 2006–09–11
  3. By: Jordahl, Henrik (Research Institute of Industrial Economics); Gustavsson, Magnus (Uppsala University)
    Abstract: We present new evidence on the influence of income inequality on generalized trust. Using individual panel data from Swedish counties together with an instrumental variable strategy, we find that differences in disposable income, and especially differences among people in the bottom half of the income distribution, are associated with lower trust. The relationship between income inequality and trust is particularly strong for people with a strong aversion against income differentials. We also find that the proportion of people born in a foreign country is negatively associated with trust.
    Keywords: Trust; Social capital; Inequality
    JEL: C23 D31 Z13
    Date: 2006–11–14
  4. By: Siegfried Berninghaus; Sven Fischer; Werner Güth
    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 explore this experimentally. Participants first play a simple public good game with two interaction partners ("friends"), and share whatever they earn this way with two different sharing partners ("cousins") who in turn have different friends. Thus a participant'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 others be recommend for the additional job in spite of this competition, will "friends" or "cousins" be preferred and how does this depend on contributions (of "friends") or shared profits (with "cousins")? Our findings are partly puzzling. Most participants, for instance, recommend quite actively but compete very fiercely for the bonus.
    Keywords: Unemployment, Social Networks, Job Search
    JEL: C91 J65
    Date: 2006–11
  5. By: Annett Fleischer (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to investigate the influence of family and kin networks on the individual decision to migrate. The study is based on qualitative ethnographic data collected during field research in Cameroon and shows the considerable impact of the extended family on the migrant’s decision to leave Cameroon for Germany. Migrants do not necessarily set out to pursue individual goals. They are often delegated to leave by authority figures in their extended family. The individual is part of an informal reciprocal system of exchange, which is based on trust, has social consequences, and includes duties and responsibilities for both sides.
    Keywords: Cameroon, Germany, decision making, kinship, migration, race relations, remittances
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2006–11
  6. By: Staffiero, Gianandrea (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: Wide experimental evidence shows that people do care about their opponents' payoff during social interaction. Our research aims to shed light on the relative importance of different motives in non-selfish choices highlighted in the recent literature. After a standard public-good game, one player is given the possibility to increase or decrease his opponent's payoff. While our baseline treatment replicates the tendency to hurt richer but lower-contributing players and help poorer but higher-contributing players, if we add exogenous assignments we find substantial willingness to hurt the rich, even if they have contributed more, and to help the poor, even if they have contributed less. These results show a greater focus on correcting inequality than on punishing or rewarding particular behavior. Moreover, we also find that subjects disregard efficiency, in terms of the overall "pie" to be shared. Overall, our data support inequality aversion as a more robust phenomenon than reciprocity and efficiency considerations.
    Keywords: Fairness; Cooperation; Inequality; Reciprocity;
    JEL: C91 D63 H41
    Date: 2006–09–24
    Abstract: Our empirical analysis on the determinants of happiness on more than 100,000 individuals from representative samples in 82 world countries supports the hypothesis that the time spent for relationships has a significant and positive impact on happiness. This basic nexus helps to understand new unexplored paths in the so called "happiness-income paradox". To illustrate them we show that income has two main effects on happiness. The first is a positive relative income effect which depends on individual's ranking within domestic income deciles. The second is determined by the relationship between income and relational goods. In principle, more productive individuals may substitute (if the income effect prevails over the substitution effect) working hours with the nonworking time made free for enjoying relationships, when they have strong preferences for the latter. The problem is that these individuals tend to have ties with their income class peers who share with them a high opportunity cost for the time spent for relationships. Hence, a coordination failure may reduce the joint investment in relational goods (local public goods which need to be co-produced in order to be enjoyed together) and, through this effect, individuals in the highest income deciles may end up with poorer relational goods. The impact of income on happiness through this channel is therefore expected to be negative. Keywords: happiness, relative income, relational goods, bivariate model, mixture model. JEL:D60, I31, 030
    Date: 2006–02
    Abstract: We examine the behavior of a profit maximizing monopolist in a horizontal differentiation model in which consumers differ in their degree of social responsibility (SR) and consumers SR is dynamically influenced by habit persistence. The model outlines parametric conditions under which (consumer driven) corporate social responsibility is an optimal choice compatible with profit maximizing behavior.
    Date: 2005–10
    Abstract: We conceive firm productive activity as being crucially determined by the performance of complex tasks which possess the characteristics of trust games. We show that in trust games with superadditivity the non cooperative solution yielding a suboptimal firm output is the Subgame Perfect Nash Equilibrium (SPNE) of the uniperiodal full information game when i) the trustor has superior stand alone contribution to output and ii) the superadditive component is inferior to the sum of trustee and trustor stand alone contributions to output. We show that, if relational preferences of the two players are sufficiently high, the result is reversed. We also document that the Folk Theorem applies to the infinitely repeated game, even in absence of relational preferences, but the enforceable cooperative equilibrium is not renegotiation proof. We finally show that the cooperative equilibrium is not attainable under single winner tournament schemes and that steeper pay for performance schemes may crowd out information sharing in presence of players preferences for relational goods. Our findings help to explain why firms are reluctant to use pay for performance and tournament incentive schemes and why they invest money to increase the quality of relational goods among employees.
    Date: 2006–05
    Abstract: We extend the traditional horizontal differentiation models to the analysis of firm location into the space of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in presence of consumers with heterogeneous tastes and willingness to pay for it. We find that nonzero corporate social responsibility, even when modelled as a pure cost, may be an optimal choice for profit maximising producers is conditional to CSR costs, consumers’ sensitiveness for CSR and uncertainty about consumer tastes.
    Date: 2006–06
  11. By: Jérôme Ballet (C3ED - Centre d'économie et d'éthique pour l'environnement et le développement - [IRD : UR063] - [Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin en Yvelines]); Damien Bazin (C3ED - Centre d'économie et d'éthique pour l'environnement et le développement - [IRD : UR063] - [Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin en Yvelines]); Abraham Lioui (Department of Economics - [Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.]); David Touahri (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - [CNRS : UMR6123] - [Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I][Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II])
    Abstract: We address in this paper the issue of the existence or not of a crowding-out effect of Corporate Social Responsability by government intervention through a lump sum tax. For this purpose, we build a model of impur altruism for firms. We show that in general it will happen to be that public policy crowds out corporate (private) contribution but the crowding-out will not be complete. Two interesting findings are that i) the intensity of the crowding-out depends upon the relative performance of the government in producing the public good and ii) that public policy has an impact on wages in the economy since it is the opportunity cost for firms that spend time on Corporate Social Responsibility.
    Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility; Crowding-out effect; Taxation
    Date: 2006–11–14
  12. By: Roediger-Schluga, Thomas (Department of Technology Policy, ARC systems research); (Department of Technology Policy, ARC systems research)
    Abstract: The promotion of collaborative R&D through Framework Programmes is a top priority of European RTD policy. However, despite the considerable sums involved, surprisingly little is known about the structure of the resulting research networks. Arguing that the underlying technological regime critically affects the structure of collaborative R&D, this article examines the structure and topology of collaborative research networks in the telecommunications and the agro-industrial industry in two specific programmes of the 4th EU Framework Programme. We find systematic differences which we attribute to differences in the underlying knowledge base, the research trajectories pursued in EU-funded R&D and the organisation of knowledge production in the two industries. As expected on the basis of prior research, we show that collaborative research projects involve a larger number of partners and require greater funding in the telecommunications industry, and that actors from science are positioned more prominently in the agro-industrial collaborative R&D network. Contrary to expectations, we find fewer and less intense interactions between science and industry in the agro-industrial industry. We provide a tentative explanation for this result and discuss policy implications.
    Keywords: framework programmes, research collaborations, technological regime, sectoral innovation system, social network analysis, science-industry interactions
    JEL: O33 O38 C69
    Date: 2006
  13. By: Gustavo A. Del Ángel Mobarak
    Abstract: Between 1945 and 1982 a network of interlocking directorates formed at the interior of the Mexican banking system. However, little work has been done to explore its implications. This paper proves that the network among bankers served to transfer information within the financial system and hence to reduce idiosyncratic risks. Using social network analysis with a database of the banks' boards, this paper presents computations of the centrality of the network. Degree and Eigenvalue centrality, used as measures for interconnection among banks, are then contrasted with indicators of financial performance for individual banks using a panel regression technique.
    Date: 2005–06
  14. By: Natálie Reichlová (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: According to Abraham Maslow's motivational theory, human action is motivated by five groups of human needs. The model introduced in this paper exploits Maslow's theory to explain migration flows between regions. In the model, movement from one place to another influences migrant's utility through three various ways. First, through change in wage caused by different wage levels in each location. Second, through changes in utility connected with individuals safety needs and finally, through disarrangement of individual's social networks. When safety and social needs are added to the model, equilibria arise in which wage differential between regions persists.
    Keywords: agent-based modeling; decision making; migration; motivation; networks
    JEL: J61 F22 I31 O15
    Date: 2005
  15. By: Christian Cordes; Peter J. Richerson; Richard McElreath; Pontus Strimling
    Abstract: This paper relates firm size and opportunism by showing that, given certain behavioral dispositions of humans, the size of a profit-maximizing firm can be determined by cognitive aspects underlying firm-internal cultural transmission processes. We argue that what firms do better than markets – besides economizing on transaction costs – is to establish a cooperative regime among its employees that keeps in check opportunism. A model depicts the outstanding role of the entrepreneur or business leader in firm-internal socialization processes and the evolution of corporate cultures. We show that high opportunism-related costs are a reason for keeping firms’ size small.
    Keywords: Theory of the Firm, Transaction Cost Economics, Cultural Evolution, Opportunism, Cooperation Length 21 pages
    JEL: D21 D23 D01 M14 C61
    Date: 2006–11
  16. By: Yves Odia Ndongo (UY II - Université de Yaoundé II - [Université de Yaoundé II], IUED - Institut Universitaire d'Etudes du Développement - [Institut Universitaire d'Etudes du Développement], PEP - Politiques Economiques et Pauvreté - [Université Laval]); Alice Ebéné (IUED - Institut Universitaire d'Etudes du Développement - [Institut Universitaire d'Etudes du Développement]); Joanna Tegnerowicz (IS UWR - Institut de Sociologie, Université de Wroclaw - [Université de Wroclaw], CROP - Comparative Research Programme on Poverty - [Comparative Research Programme on Poverty])
    Abstract: Ce papier s'inscrit dans la logique des débats ayant cours depuis une dizaine d'années sur les<br />politiques de réduction de la pauvreté. Il évalue l'influence du capital social religieux sur la pauvreté<br />des ménages au Cameroun et particulièrement dans la ville de Yaoundé. Dans un premier temps, il<br />identifie les déterminants du capital social religieux à partir d'un indicateur composite obtenu par le<br />pourcentage de chefs de ménages répondant par l'affirmative à la question : « Pouvez-vous compter<br />sur un soutien financier (emprunt et/ou don) de la part de votre communauté (d'un membre ou des<br />responsables) en cas de maladie, de décès d'un membre de famille, de perte d'emploi ou de période<br />de soudure ? ». Les estimations ont permis d'arriver à la conclusion que la réponse positive à cette<br />question dépend du niveau d'éducation, de la fréquence de lecture du livre saint (Bible ou Coran), de<br />la régularité du chef de famille aux réunions dans sa communauté religieuse et de l'existence ou non,<br />au sein de sa communauté religieuse, d'un mode d'assistance formel et/ou informel sur lequel le chef<br />de ménage peut compter en cas d'imprévu. Ensuite, l'étude estime dans trois modèles différents, un<br />indicateur de pauvreté monétaire, de conditions de vie et un indicateur de pauvreté des potentialités à<br />partir des déterminants socioéconomiques et des variables religieuses permettant d'expliquer le<br />capital social religieux. Les résultats obtenus montrent que ces variables religieuses influencent la<br />pauvreté des ménages dans la ville de Yaoundé.
    Keywords: capital social; pauvreté
    Date: 2006–10–24
  17. By: Fali Huang
    Abstract: This paper establishes a simple model of long run economic and political development, which is driven by the inherent technical features of different factors in production, and political conflicts among factor owners on how to divide the outputs. The main capital form in economy evolves from land to physical capital and then to human capital, which enables the respective factor owners (landlords, capitalists, and workers) to gain political powers in the same sequence, shaping the political development path from monarchy to elite ruling and finally to full suffrage. When it is too costly for any group of factor owners to repress others, political compromise is reached and economic progress is not blocked; otherwise, the political conflicts may lead to economic stagnation.
    Keywords: Economic Development, Political Development, Class Structure, Land, Physical Capital, Human Capital, Monarchy, Suffrage Extension
    JEL: O10 O40 P16 N10
    Date: 2006–06
  18. By: Beckerman, Carina (Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: This is a paper about creativity, diversity and other often used buzzwords. It is also a paper about how to manage people who think. Today we live in a world in which computers and mobile phones have become the key artifacts. Nokia´s slogan ”connecting people” expresses in a brilliant way what it is all about. When we connect people information is transfered and new knowledge hopefully created. And innovations, ideas and individuals are central for everything that takes place. We are all supposed to be flexible, exercising our knowledge in a setting characterized by diversity. This setting is also characterized by paradoxes that I will write more about further down. But transformations such as the globalization and implementing of new information technology race crucial questions about how to deal with a changing economic landscape and new mindsets and changing attitudes. The pages that follow is based on extensive reading of the literature and participating in many conferences and work-shops. In addition to this I have interviewed managers and employees at Electrolux, Ericsson, TeliaSonera and The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. I have asked people in the above mentioned organizations how they react to concepts such as the knowledge society and the practice of managing knowledge, creativity, diversity and flexibility. This paper is written with a Scandinavian perspective. It is also written with a social constructionist perspective. The theoretical framework includes theories about knowledge management, structuration theory and cognitive theories. The findings are based on interpretative research and I have systematically reflected over the material I have collected. I direct myself towards people in business who think and worry about the future. The purpose is to inspire to further discussions about these very important matters.
    Keywords: Knowledge management; structuration theory; knowledge society; globalization; creativity; diversity; flexibility.
    Date: 2006–11–21
  19. By: Steffen Huck (Department of Economics, University College London); Gabriele K. Ruchala (Department of Economics, University of Erfurt); Jean-Robert Tyran (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We study the effects of reputation and competition in a stylized market for experience goods. If interaction is anonymous, such markets perform poorly: sellers are not trustworthy, and buyers do not trust sellers. If sellers are identifiable and can, hence, build a reputation, efficiency quadruples but is still at only a third of the first best. Adding more information by granting buyers access to all sellers’ complete history has, somewhat surprisingly, no effect. On the other hand, we find that competition, coupled with some minimal information, eliminates the trust problem almost completely.
    Keywords: experience goods; competition; reputation; trust; moral hazard; information conditions
    JEL: C72 C92 D40 L14
    Date: 2006–11

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