nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒12‒04
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. The social norm of leaving the toilet seat down: A game theoretic analysis By Siddiqi, Hammad
  2. Mixing Family Business with Politics in Thailand By Masami Imai
  3. What Citizens Know Depends on How You Ask Them: Political Knowledge and Political Learning Skills By Lupia, Arthur; Prior, Markus
  4. Parental impact on attitude formation: A siblings study on worries about immigration By Brenner, Jan
  5. Cluster dynamics and innovation in SMEs: the role of culture By Callegati Enrico; Grandi Silvia
  6. Innovation creation and diffusion in a social network: an agent based approach By Lamieri, Marco; Ietri, Daniele
  7. Entrepreneurship and market order: Some historical evidence By Bitros, George; Minoglou, Ioanna
  8. The Economics of Rhetoric: On Metaphors as Institutions By Lanteri, Alessandro; Yalcintas, Altug
  9. Between Social Order and Disorder: The Destructive Mode of Coordination By Vahabi, Mehrdad
  10. Collective property rights for glass manufacturing in Murano: Where culture makes or breaks local economic development By Segre Giovanna; Russo Antonio Paolo
  11. Cultural districst and the role of intellectual property (disctintive signs) By Rojal Florence
  12. The redistributive role of non-profit organizations By Cerulli, Giovanni
  13. When Can Politicians Scare Citizens Into Supporting Bad Policies? A Theory of Incentives with Fear-Based Content By Lupia, Arthur; Menning, Jesse
  14. Ottimizzazione versus Razionalità Procedurale: un'analisi del dibattito sulla natura della scelta razionale in economia By Cerulli Giovanni

  1. By: Siddiqi, Hammad
    Abstract: We model the toilet seat problem as a 2 player non-cooperative game. We find that the social norm of leaving the toilet seat down is inefficient. However, to the dismay of “mankind”, we also find that the social norm of leaving the seat down after use is a trembling-hand perfect equilibrium. Hence, sadly, this norm is not likely to go away.
    Keywords: Trembling-hand perfection; social norm
    JEL: C7
    Date: 2006–11–16
  2. By: Masami Imai (Economics and East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University)
    Abstract: This paper uses newly compiled data on Thai family businesses and their direct participation in politics to examine whether the political participation of family business yields private economic payoff. The paper finds that the political participation of family members is positively associated with the profitability of family businesses. Furthermore, this “political benefit” is found to be particularly large when firms are connected to the cabinet members. These results support the crony capitalism view that powerful business groups in Thailand have an incentive to directly hold influential public offices in order to influence the economic policy in their favor.
    Keywords: Cronyism, Political Connection, Family Business, Thailand
    JEL: G38 O53 P16
    Date: 2006–05
  3. By: Lupia, Arthur; Prior, Markus
    Abstract: Surveys provide widely-cited measures of political knowledge. Do unusual aspects of survey interviews reduce their relevance? To address this question, we embedded a set of experiments in a representative survey of over 1200 Americans. A control group answered political knowledge questions in a typical survey context. Respondents in treatment groups received the same questions in different contexts. One group received a monetary incentive for answering questions correctly. Others were given more time to answer the questions. The treatments increase the number of correct answers by 11-24 percent. Our findings imply that conventional knowledge measures confound respondents’ recall of political information and their motivation to engage the survey question. The measures also provide unreliable assessments of respondents’ abilities to access information that they have stored in places other than their immediately available memories. As a result, existing knowledge measures likely underestimate peoples’ capacities for informed decision making.
    Keywords: political knowledge; economic knowledge; experimental economics; incentives; survey
    JEL: H30 H31 C90
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Brenner, Jan
    Abstract: Abstract. A persistent challenge of analyzing subjective survey data is the presence of unobservable factors. The received literature on attitudes towards immigration, which continues to gain growing interest in economic research, so far has not taken account of the potential effect of unobservable home education on attitude formation. Home education hereby shall refer to factors such as parents’ knowledge, their morals, and their weltanschauung transmitted onto the next generation. Utilizing siblings data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) we analyze the determinants of worries about immigration controlling for unobserved family specific effects. Our results suggest that benchmark models used in the literature yield inconsistent estimates of the main determinants of attitudes towards immigration.
    Keywords: Subjective Data; Siblings Data; Unobserved Effects; Minorities
    JEL: F22 J15
    Date: 2006–09
  5. By: Callegati Enrico; Grandi Silvia
    Abstract: The territorial agglomeration of interdependent enterprises has a positive influence on the competitiveness, the performance and the development of national economies. This is a widely accepted intuition in economie theory, and it dates back to the works of Alfred Marshall. In particular, these phenomena have been depicted through the theoretical framework of the "IndustriaI Districts". Another signifieant impulse to the debate was provided by the GREMI (Groupe de Recherche Européen sur les Milieux Innovateurs), through the concepì of milieu innovateur. Later, Michael Porter's studies and dissemination works granted great visibility to the dynamics of agglomeration of industries, which since then afe better known among policy makers as "clusters". At any rate, the importance of the cultural element in the concepts of "cluster", milieu, and "district" is undeniable. This is evident also when observing the phenomenon from a historieal perspective. Evidence shows that the strength of a loeal economie system, and its eapacity to grow and 10 innovate, afe closely related 10 the pattern of knowledge (thus cultural) stratifieation, to the territory itself and to learning eapacity. Moreover, one can observe that cultural socio­economie elements afe embedded in technology, thus they play a key role when considering the dynamics of innovation process and growth opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). With this respect, the paper wìll present some relevant case studies of technical assistance earried out by in the field of industriai cooperation with several non-ED Mediterranean countries. In particular, the paper will present those case studies where initiatives were sei up with a view 10 encourage cluster dynamics in regions (i.e. Aleppo, Syria or Yazd, Iran), where the main sector of activity (textile and clothing industry) is his1orically and culturally based. In particular, several factors were involved, such as the cohesion of stakeholders for the creation of innovation, the development of new products, and the competìtive advantages for the loeal productìve system. The project approach and its conclusions confirm the fundamental role of culture and culture-based activities in the process of economie development, especially when considering SMEs, where culture represents both an embedded strategie foundatìon for the creation of cluster dynamics, and a signifieant potential for their future development affecting innovation trajectories.
    Date: 2005–03
  6. By: Lamieri, Marco; Ietri, Daniele
    Abstract: Market is not only the result of the behaviour of agents, as we can find other forms of contact and communication. Many of them are determined by proximity conditions in some kind of space: in this paper we pay a particular attention to relational space, that is the space determined by the relationships between individuals. The paper starts from a brief account on theoretical and empirical literature on social networks. Social networks represent people and their relationships as networks, in which individuals are nodes and the relationships between them are ties. In particular, graph theory is used in literature in order to demonstrate some properties of social networks summarised in the concept of Small Worlds. The concept may be used to explain how some phenomena involving relations among agents have effects on multiple different geographical scales, involving both the local and the global scale. The empirical section of the paper is introduced by a brief summary of simulation techniques in social science and economics as a way to investigate complexity. The model investigates the dynamics of a population of firms (potential innovators) and consumers interacting in a space defined as a social network. Consumers are represented in the model in order to create a competitive environment pushing enterprises into innovative process (we refer to Schumpeter’s definition): from interaction between consumers and firms innovation emerges as a relational good.
    Keywords: Innovation; small world; computational economics; network; complexity
    JEL: L20 L10 C63 O33 D24
    Date: 2004–04–27
  7. By: Bitros, George; Minoglou, Ioanna
    Abstract: Our objective here is to establish the proposition that creative entrepreneurship gives rise to a market order which is optimally adjusted to facilitate the introduction and the diffusion of innovations, particularly those that take the form of new markets, new organizational schemes, new management devices and new methods and means of doing business. To substantiate this claim we extract from the existing historical literature and employ the ideal type entrepreneurial method of the Greek diaspora network. The interpretation we offer is that this method showed a high degree of operational flexibility and institutional adaptability and that it is these two proper-ties that explain its marked tenacity over time. The key ingredient for its success is traced to the self-regulatory robustness of the network, which was secured by the commitment of its partners to a moral order based on the triptych of ‘trust, reliability and reciprocity’ as well as to their ac-ceptance in advance of the sanctions in case of transgressions. Moreover, the embeddedness of the branches of the network in the Greek communities abroad, called Paroikies, where the Greek Orthodox Church provided moral leadership and maintained the community ties, reinforced the adherence of network partners to the rules of ethical business conduct. But in our view the domi-nant force in the design of the core mechanism that made the Greek diaspora network such a suc-cess was entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Institutions; Networks; International Business Organizations
    JEL: N84 L22 N83 L14
    Date: 2006–10–24
  8. By: Lanteri, Alessandro; Yalcintas, Altug
    Abstract: The professional life of economists takes place within the boundaries of the institution of academic economics. Belonging to the institution enable economists in many ways. It provides a context wherein their contribution is meaningful. But it constrains, too, what economists are allowed to do or say. Thus, institutions both enable and constrain individual action. Metaphors do the same and are therefore, in this respect, institutions. They are place-holders to communicate our beliefs, feelings, and thoughts. So far, there is nothing wrong. This may become a problem, however, as Richard Rorty has once said, when the “happenstance of our cultural development [is] that we got stuck so long with place-holders.” In the essay we focus on the enabling and disabling roles of metaphors as institutions in the rhetoric of economics. We argue, from the perspective of economics of rhetoric, that some of the metaphors can lead us to path dependent circumstances where the performance of the metaphors is not as desirable as it was when the metaphors were first introduced. Sometimes certain metaphors undergo exaptation, and are employed with new functions. Altogether, we believe, the tools of institutional economics can be fruitfully employed to study metaphors.
    Keywords: Economics of rhetoric; metaphors as Institutions; path Dependence; exaptation.
    JEL: B52 B25 B41
    Date: 2006–04
  9. By: Vahabi, Mehrdad
    Abstract: The concept of ‘mode of coordination’ captures the way economy is embedded in social relationships and influences the integration of society through an ‘instituted process.’ Three main typical or ideal modes of coordination have been identified in the literature, namely the market, the bureaucratic and the ethical (reciprocity) modes of coordination (Polanyi 1944, [1957] 1968, Lindblom 1977, and Kornai, 1984, 1992). Our purpose is to introduce another type of coordination that we name ‘destructive mode of coordination’. It is social organisation through the use of coercive means. This type of coordination has almost been entirely neglected in the literature, although it has existed since ancient times in different forms and varieties. A typical recent illustration is the social order under the Islamic Republic of Iran that will be the focus of the paper.
    Keywords: mode of coordination; destructive coordination; contradictory orders; parallel institutions; Islamic Republic of Iran
    JEL: O17
    Date: 2006–09–21
  10. By: Segre Giovanna; Russo Antonio Paolo
    Date: 2005–05
  11. By: Rojal Florence
    Date: 2005–02
  12. By: Cerulli, Giovanni
    Abstract: By starting from the consideration that non-profit organizations cover a significant re-distributive function beside that of governmental agencies, the paper questions why government prefers to finance via transfers private entities likewise lucrative and non-lucrative entities rather than produce these goods directly. By generalizing the Hansmann (1996) theory, we propose a “make or buy” approach in which the choice among three different ownership regimes (governmental, non-profit and for-profit) providing services in public benefit oriented sectors is affected not only by costs reduction (X-efficiency) but also by the level of transfers (degree of “redistribution”) decided at a political level.
    Keywords: non-profit organizations; redistribution; property rights
    JEL: L33
    Date: 2006–05–01
  13. By: Lupia, Arthur; Menning, Jesse
    Abstract: Analysts make competing claims about when and how politicians can use fear to gain support for suboptimal policies. Using a model, we clarify how common attributes of fear affect politicians’ abilities to achieve self-serving outcomes that are bad for voters. In it, a politician provides information about a threat. His statement need not be true. How citizens respond differs from most game-theoretic models – we proceed from more dynamic (and realistic) assumptions about how citizens think. Our conclusions counter popular claims about how easily politicians use fear to manipulate citizens, yield different policy advice than does recent scholarship on counterterrorism, and highlight issues (abstract, distant) and leaders (secretive) for which recent findings by political psychologists and public opinion scholars will – and will not – generalize.
    Keywords: emotions; behavioral economics; game theory; political science; incentives
    JEL: D83 H30 C72
    Date: 2005
  14. By: Cerulli Giovanni
    Abstract: In questo saggio viene dapprima affrontata l'evoluzione teorica e gli sforzi sperimentali che hanno portato all'affermazione della razionalità procedurale di Herbert A. Simon e dei comportamentisti. Successivamente viene ricostruito il dibattito tra sostenitori dell' approccio "ottimizzazione"e sostenitori dell' approccio "razionalità limitata/procedurale" . Ripercorrendo criticamente questo dibattito ci domandiamo: fino a che punto è possibile attribuire ad una delle due teorie una maggiore legittimazione a descrivere correttamente il comportamento degli agenti economici? Se sul piano analitico l'approccio "relativistico" di Boland e quello "riduzioni sta" di Becker e Stigler mostrano che una comparazione (seppur non priva di problemi) è possibile, su quello metodologico, è argomentato, la risposta rimane ambigua. E' allora necessario collocare metodologicamente i due approcci. A tal fine viene fatto osservare che mentre Simon e i comportamentisti giustificano e legittimano il principio di razionalità limitata/procedurale sulla base della sua "aderenza alla realtà" (accountability to reality o realisticness), Boland, Becker e Stigler difendono quello d'ottimizzazione sulla base della sua non-falsificabilità ex-post ovvero, in ultima analisi, delle sue "performance predittive" (accountability to data). Si suggerisce in tal senso che è nel conflitto tra strumentalismo e realismo che dovrebbe essere ricercata l'inconciliabilità dei due approcci e, di rimando, una solida difesa da ogni tentativo meramente "riduzionista" del contenuto innovativo della teoria simoniana.
    Date: 2005–03–15

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