nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2006‒12‒09
nineteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Trust and Trustworthiness in an Economy with Heterogeneous Individuals By Peter Katuscak; Joel Slemrod
  2. Reciprocity and Payment Schemes: When Equality Is Unfair By Abeler, Johannes; Altmann, Steffen; Kube, Sebastian; Wibral, Matthias
  3. The social multiplier and labour market participation of mothers By Eric Maurin; Julie Moschion
  4. The Social Costs of Unemployment: Accounting for Unemployment Duration By Carsten Ochsen; Heinz Welsch
  5. Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes By Lex Borghans; Bas ter Weel; Bruce A. Weinberg
  6. How Responsive are Charitable Donors to Requests to Give? By Bariş K. Yörük
  7. The Social Assimilation of Immigrants By Domenico de Palo; Riccardo Faini; Alessandra Venturini
  8. Can Anyone be 'The One'? Evidence on Mate Selection from Speed Dating By Belot, Michèle; Francesconi, Marco
  9. Relative Rewards within Team-Based Compensation By Bernd Irlenbusch; Gabriele K. Ruchala
  10. Democracy and Foreign Education By Spilimbergo, Antonio
  11. Intermarriage, Language, and Economic Assimilation Process: A Case Study of France By Xin Meng; Dominique Meurs
  12. Privatization and Changes in Corruption Patterns: The Roots of Public Discontent By David Martimort; Stephane Straub
  13. Between-Group Transfers and Poverty-Reducing Tax Reforms By Paul Makdissi; Stéphane Mussard
  14. Examining the Determinants of Agency Work: Do Family Friendly Practices Play a Role? By John S. Heywood; W. Stanley Siebert; Xiangdong Wei
  15. A Note on Unhappiness and Unemployment Duration By Andrew E. Clark
  16. L'esperienza di decentramento istituzionale in Italia e lo sviluppo locale By D. Adorni; S. Magagnoli
  17. The Determinants of Motherhood and Work Status: A Survey By Daniela Del Boca; Marilena Locatelli
  18. Agglomeration economies and growth-The case of Italian local labour systems, 1991-2001 By Raffaele Paci; Stefano Usai
  19. « Individualisme et philosophie politique de Karl Polanyi » By André Tiran

  1. By: Peter Katuscak; Joel Slemrod
    Abstract: We analyze the determinants of trust and trustworthiness in a matching equilibrium when agents have heterogeneous predispositions towards trusting and trustworthy behavior, there is transmission of information via both individual and collective reputations, and successful matches may persist. In new matches, more social trustworthiness breeds more individual trust. However, whether more social trust breeds more or less individual trustworthiness depends on the observability of individual histories of play. If it is low, more trust generally breeds less trustworthiness, while if it is high, more trust breeds more trustworthiness. We combine the links between social trust and trustworthiness to construct a general trust/trustworthiness equilibrium and discuss its properties.
    Keywords: Trust, trustworthiness, reputation.
    JEL: C7
    Date: 2006–09
  2. By: Abeler, Johannes (IZA Bonn and University of Bonn); Altmann, Steffen (IZA Bonn and University of Bonn); Kube, Sebastian (University of Karlsruhe); Wibral, Matthias (IZA Bonn and University of Bonn)
    Abstract: A growing literature stresses the importance of reciprocity, especially for employment relations. In this paper, we study the interaction of different payment modes with reciprocity. In particular,we analyze how equal wages affect performance and effciency in an environment characterized by contractual incompleteness. In our experiment, one principal is matched with two agents. The principal pays equal wages in one treatment and can set individual wages in the other. We find that the use of equal wages elicits substantially lower efforts and effciency. This is not caused by monetary incentives per se since under both wage schemes it is profit-maximizing for agents to exert high efforts. The treatment difference is rather driven by the fact that reciprocity is violated far more frequently in the equal wage treatment. Agents suffering from a violation of reciprocity subsequently withdraw effort. Our results suggest that individual reward and punishment opportunities are crucial for making reciprocity a powerful contract enforcement device.
    Keywords: laboratory experiment; wage setting; wage equality; gift exchange; reciprocity; social norms; incomplete contracts; multiple agents
    JEL: C92 J33 J41 M12 M52
    Date: 2006–12–04
  3. By: Eric Maurin (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - [CNRS : UMR8545] - [Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales][Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées][Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris]); Julie Moschion (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I])
    Abstract: In France as in the US, the participation of a mother in the labour market is influenced by the sex of her oldest siblings. Same-sex mothers tend to have more children and to work significantly less than the other mothers. In contast, the sex of the oldest siblings does not have any perceptible influence on neighbourhood choices. There is no correlation between the sex of the siblings of a mother and the sex of the siblings of the other mothers living in the same close neighbourhood. Given these facts, the distribution of the sex of the siblings of the other mothers provides us with a plausible instrumental variable to identify the influence of other mothers' participation on a mother's participation in the labour market. Reduced-form analysis reveals that a mother's participation in the labour market is significantly affected by the sex of the oldest siblings of the other mothers living in the same neighbourhood. IV estimates suggest a strong impact of close neighbours' participation in the labour market on individual participation. We compare this result to estimates produced using the distribution of children's quarters of birth to generate instruments. Mothers whose children were born at the end of the year cannot send their children to pre-elementary school as early as the other mothers and participate less in the labour market. Interestingly enough, estimates using the distribution of quarters of birth in the neighbourhood as instruments are as strong as estimates using the sex-mix instruments.
    Keywords: Female participation in the labour market, neighbourhood effects, social multiplier.
    Date: 2006–11–29
  4. By: Carsten Ochsen (University of Rostock); Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg)
    Abstract: The social costs of unemployment, in terms of unemployment’s impact on European citizens’ life satisfaction, relate strongly to unemployment duration. At any level of general joblessness, reducing long-term unemployment is more important than reducing the number of people unemployed at any point in time.
    Keywords: unemployment; unemployment duration; life satisfaction; happiness; social costs
    JEL: J64 I31
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Lex Borghans (ROA, Maastricht University and IZA Bonn); Bas ter Weel (MERIT, Maastricht University and IZA Bonn); Bruce A. Weinberg (Ohio State University, NBER and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper develops a framework to understand the role of interpersonal interactions in the labor market including task assignment and wages. Effective interpersonal interactions involve caring, to establish cooperation, and at the same time directness, to communicate in an unambiguous way. The ability to perform these tasks varies with personality and the importance of these tasks varies across jobs. An assignment model shows that people are most productive in jobs that match their style and earn less when they have to shift to other jobs. An oversupply of one attribute relative to the other reduces wages for people who are better with the attribute in greater supply. We present evidence that youth sociability affects job assignment in adulthood. The returns to interpersonal interactions are consistent with the assignment model.
    Keywords: interpersonal interactions, wage level and structure, assignment
    JEL: J21 J24 J31
    Date: 2006–11
  6. By: Bariş K. Yörük (Boston College)
    Abstract: People tend to contribute to a charity only when they are asked to. Although this so-called 'power of asking' is a well-known technique among fundraisers, the existing literature does not pay much attention to the role of donation requests in charitable giving. We estimate the causal effects of charitable solicitations on both the propensity to give and the amount of charitable contributions using a unique data set, which was designed to measure the giving behavior in the United States. In order to address the endogeneity of the donation requests due to non-random solicitation of charitable donors, we link this data set to IRS data on charitable organizations and the 2000 Census and propose identifying instruments. After controlling for the endogeneity, we find that people are both more likely to contribute to a charity and also donate more when they are asked to. This effect is robust under different specifications and with different sets of instruments and is much larger compared with the estimates of univariate models. Furthermore, we argue that some identifiable characteristics of individuals are associated with the higher probability of being solicited. In particular, we find some evidence that income, age, education, and race play significant roles in explaining the selection of potential charitable donors.
    Keywords: charitable contributions, charitable solicitations, non-profit organizations
    JEL: H31 L30
    Date: 2006–10–26
  7. By: Domenico de Palo (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Riccardo Faini (University of Rome Tor Vergata, CEPR and IZA Bonn); Alessandra Venturini (University of Turin, CHILD, FIERI and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Policy makers in migrant-receiving countries must often strike a delicate balance between economic needs, that would dictate a substantial increase in the number of foreign workers, and political and electoral imperatives, that typically result in highly restrictive immigration policies. Promoting integration of migrants into the host country would go a long way in alleviating the trade off between economic and political considerations. While there is a large literature on the economic assimilation of immigrants, somewhat less attention has been devoted to other " and equally crucial " dimensions of migrants’ integration, namely the process of social assimilation. The aim of this paper is to take a close look at migrants’ social integration into the host country. We rely on the European Community Household panel (ECHP), which devotes a full module to the role and relevance of social relations for both migrants and natives. An innovative feature of this analysis is that it relies on migrants perceptions about their integration rather than " as is typically the case in most opinion surveys " on natives attitudes toward migrants. The main results of the paper can be summarized as follows. First, migrants " particularly from non EU origins - are at a disadvantage in the fields of social relations. Even after controlling for their individual characteristics, such as age, education, family size, and employment status, they tend to socialize less than natives. Second, migrants tend to converge, albeit quite slowly, to the standard of natives. This finding highlights the risks of short term migration, where migrants tend to be constantly marginalized. Third, education has a significant impact on the type of social activities that individuals undertake. More educated people tend to relate somewhat less with their close neighbourhood, but quite intensively with the broader community. The implication for policy makers concerned about the creation of ethnic enclaves is to promote education among immigrants’ community.
    Keywords: immigration, assimilation, social relationships
    JEL: F22 J15
    Date: 2006–11
  8. By: Belot, Michèle; Francesconi, Marco
    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.
    Keywords: assortative mating; marriage market; mate selection; randomized experiments; speed dating
    JEL: D1 J1
    Date: 2006–11
  9. By: Bernd Irlenbusch (London School of Economics and IZA Bonn); Gabriele K. Ruchala (University College London)
    Abstract: How to design compensation schemes to motivate team members appears to be one of the most challenging problems in the economic analysis of labour provision. We shed light on this issue by experimentally investigating team-based compensations with and without bonuses awarded to the highest contributors in teams. A purely team-based compensation scheme induces agents to voluntarily cooperate while introducing an additional relative reward increases effort and efficiency only when the bonus is substantial. In this case, however, the data suggests that tournament competition crowds out voluntary cooperation within a team.
    Keywords: teamwork, bonus pools, relative rewards, motivation crowding out, voluntary cooperation, personnel economics, experiments
    JEL: C72 C91 H41 J33 L23 M52
    Date: 2006–11
  10. By: Spilimbergo, Antonio
    Abstract: Do foreign educated individuals play a role in promoting democracy in their home country? Despite the large amount of private and public resources spent on foreign education, there is no systematic evidence that foreign educated individuals foster democracy in their home countries. Using a unique panel dataset on foreign students starting from 1950, I show that indeed foreign-educated individuals promote democracy in their home country, but only if the foreign education is acquired in democratic countries. The results are robust to reverse causality, country-specific omitted variables, and inclusion of a variety of control variables. The results are stronger for small countries.
    Keywords: democracy; development; education; institutions; international students
    JEL: D72 D74 H11
    Date: 2006–11
  11. By: Xin Meng (Australian National University and IZA Bonn); Dominique Meurs (ERMES, University of Paris II)
    Abstract: Lack of economic assimilation of immigrants often results in social and political unrest of a society. The increased desire to understand better the nature of the assimilation process of immigrants is due to increased immigration flows in many western countries. In this paper we try to study the role of intermarriage in the process of immigrant economic assimilation in France. We find that among all immigrants those who are intermarried earn around 17 per cent more than those who are endogamously married. Once taking into account individual characteristics and endogeneity of intermarriage, the premium is around 25 to 35 per cent. In addition, the intermarriage premium is substantially higher for individuals who have better grasp of French language before migration than for those whose language skill is poor. This result seems to suggest that, perhaps, immigrants who have a strong base in the native language can better reap the gain from intermarriage.
    Keywords: immigration, economic assimilation, intermarriage
    JEL: J61 J12
    Date: 2006–11
  12. By: David Martimort; Stephane Straub
    Abstract: This paper offers a theory of how the degree of corruption that prevails in a society responds to changes in the ownership structure of major public service providers. We show that there are cases in which privatization, even though it fosters investments in infrastructure, also opens the door to more corruption. The public dissatisfaction towards privatization is then crucially affected by the changes in the degree and pattern of corruption. Our model thus helps understand the seemingly paradoxical situation prevailing in Latin America, where most studies find that privatizations have been efficiency-enhancing and have fostered investments and, at the same time, popular dissatisfaction with the process is extremely high, especially among the middle class. We show that this line of explanation is supported by evidence from surveys in the region.
  13. By: Paul Makdissi; Stéphane Mussard
    Abstract: In this paper, we propose the conception of within-group CD-curve, to apprehend the impact of indirect tax reforms on truncated distributions of consumption expenditures. This confers decision makers the ability to perform within-group transfers as well as between-group transfers to reduce poverty in particular groups or to obtain an overall poverty alleviation. Between-group transfers are implemented in order to introduce a fairness element into the indirect tax framework, allowing to test for the robustness of reducing-tax reforms, for any order of stochastic dominance.
    Keywords: Between-group redistribution, CD-curves, Stochastic dominance of order s, Tax reforms
    JEL: D63 H20
    Date: 2006
  14. By: John S. Heywood (University of Wisconsin and University of Birmingham); W. Stanley Siebert (University of Birmingham and IZA Bonn); Xiangdong Wei (Lingnan University and University of Birmingham)
    Abstract: This paper uses establishment data to estimate the determinants of using agency workers. It contends that those employers with less ability to direct effort of core workers are more likely to use agency workers to meet uncertain labor demand. Family friendly practices are viewed as either increasing or decreasing such ability, depending upon their influence upon absence rates. The empirical results imply that special leave practices reduce firms’ ability to direct worker effort, thereby increasing the likelihood of using agency workers. On the other hand, practices linked with flexible working conditions (workplace nurseries, flexitime and job sharing) have the opposite effect. The findings thus distinguish between family friendly practices that make core workers better off without expanding contingent agency jobs, and those that do not.
    Keywords: agency work, family friendly work practices, maternity leave, workplace nurseries, flexitime
    JEL: J13 J81 M52
    Date: 2006–10
  15. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Although it is now widely-accepted that unemployment is associated with sharply lower levels of individual well-being, relatively little is known about how this effect depends on unemployment duration. Data from three large-scale European panels is used to shed light on this issue; these data allow us to distinguish habituation to unemployment from sample selection. The panel results show little evidence of habituation to unemployment in Europe in the 1990's.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, unemployment, unemployment duration, habituation
    JEL: C30 J28 J31
    Date: 2006–10
  16. By: D. Adorni; S. Magagnoli
    Abstract: Il paper rappresenta un primo passo verso una riflessione organica sul tema del decentramento istituzionale in relazione al problema dello sviluppo locale in un’ottica temporale di lungo periodo (partendo cioè dall’unificazione del Regno d’Italia) e intreccia tra loro più piani di analisi: dalle vicende che riguardano gli assetti istituzionali della nazione (sospesi costantemente all’interno del dibattito tra accentramento e decentramento) a quelle che riguardano invece la concreta attività degli enti politici periferici. L’analisi mostra come all’interno di un quadro istituzionale storicamente caratterizzato da un forte accentramento statale, emergano tuttavia i fili di una costante ricerca di protagonismo da parte delle istituzioni politiche locali, le quali, in modo particolare sebbene non esclusivo negli anni repubblicani, “forzano” i limiti normativi dei propri spazi di intervento, facendosi carico direttamente – seppure con intensità e modalità differenti nelle diverse aree territoriali del paese – dei problemi dello sviluppo economico locale.
    Date: 2005
  17. By: Daniela Del Boca (University of Turin, CHILD and IZA Bonn); Marilena Locatelli (University of Turin, CHILD)
    Abstract: In this paper we present important empirical evidence regarding recent trends in women’s participation and fertility in European countries, and provide several interpretations of the differences across countries. Several recent analyses have considered labour supply and fertility as a joint decision and have explicitly taken into account the endogeneity of fertility in labour market participation decisions of women. We survey microeconomic analyses that explore the impact of social policies on the joint decisions of labor market participation and fertility. The results of most analyses indicate that social policies, taking into account several variables (family background, the allocation of time within the household, religion and culture), have a very relevant role in explaining different degrees of incompatibility between employment and child rearing across different countries. The incompatibilities between motherhood and careers find reconciliation in policies that enhance employment flexibility and diminish the potential opportunity costs of children.
    Keywords: labor market decisions, fertility, child care, family policies
    JEL: J2 C3 D1 H31
    Date: 2006–10
  18. By: Raffaele Paci; Stefano Usai
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to assess the role of a large set of factors which potentially relate agglomeration economies to local growth. Such a relationship is analysed thanks to an ample database on the case of Italy which refers to 784 Local Labour Systems and 34 sectors (21 manufacturing and 13 services) over the period 1991-2001. Econometric results show that local growth in Italy is characterized by significant differences across sectors. It is worth mentioning the positive influence of diversity externalities, human and social capital and the negative influence of specialisation externalities and competition. Spatial association is also detected.
    Keywords: Agglomeration externalities, Local growth, Spatial dependence, Italy.
    JEL: R11 R12 L60 O52
    Date: 2006
  19. By: André Tiran (Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - [CNRS : UMR5206][IEP LYON] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: LIBERTÉ, INDIVIDU ET SOCIÉTÉ DANS L'OEUVRE DE KARL POLANYI<br /><br /><br />L'objet de ce texte est de traiter la question des rapports entre individu, société et liberté dans l'oeuvre de Karl Polanyi. Il semble à première vue que le débat central tourne autour des tensions entre individu et institutions. Karl Polanyi a traité ces questions dans plusieurs textes . Il y a d'abord le dernier chapitre de la Grande Transformation . Le problème plus général que nous voulons poser est de savoir si Karl Polanyi n'a pas sous estimé l'importance de l'individu dans le problème de la liberté car, contrairement à ce qu'il croyait, la Grande transformation n' a pas eu lieu même si le marché autorégulateur , tel qu'il le décrit, a bel et bien disparu et si le libéralisme au sens où il le discute est mort. Ceux qui se présentent comme libéraux, même les plus extrêmes, ne nient plus qu'il y ait nécessité d'une intervention et d'une réglementation de l'État. <br />Dans ce sens nous vivons aujourd'hui dan un monde post libéral. Le libéralisme économique comme élément constitutif de nos valeurs fondamentales s'est confirmé et développé contrairement à ce que probablement Karl Polanyi pouvait penser. La question qui nous occupe est donc de savoir quelle validité il faut accorder aux idées développées par Karl Polanyi sur les questions de liberté et d'individu. Faut-il les considérer comme purement et simplement invalides et totalement marquées par un holisme insoutenable ou bien peut-on tenter une reconstruction de sa position ? <br />Cette tentative nous paraît justifiée par le fait que les dangers que dénonçait Karl Polanyi n'ont pas disparu. Toute la critique qu'il a développé contre la privatisation de la monnaie est aujourd'hui pleine d'actualité. Il n'est pas nécessaire de développer longuement pour constater que les marchés financiers, ou prévaut cette logique du marché autorégulateur, exercent leur dictature sur la plus grande partie des gouvernements, même si tous ne subissent pas cette dictature avec la même intensité. Dans tous les cas le problème de la limitation de la liberté de ces acteurs tend à devenir aujourd'hui une question de première importance dans les débats publics et dans la maîtrise du destin que les nations veulent conserver ou reconquérir. <br />Pour répondre à notre question il est nécessaire de reprendre les textes mêmes de Kart Polanyi : La grande transformation et les textes publiés par Alfredo Salsano dans " La libertà in una società complessa". Nous aborderons dans un premier temps la question de la liberté pour préciser comment Polanyi traite de ce problème à travers la question des institutions et des menaces qu'elles font peser sur elle. Ce n'est qu'ensuite que nous tenterons de définir ce que pourrait être la conception de l'individu et des rapports entre individu et liberté et entre liberté et démocratie dans la pensée polanyienne. Enfin nous évoquerons brièvement le programme de défense de la liberté que Polanyi énonce pour conclure sur quelques enseignements de son analyse.
    Keywords: Liberté, individu, société, institution, marché
    Date: 2006–12–03

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.