nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒01‒13
eight papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Food Safety and Social Capital: A Double Side Connection By Valeria Sodano
  2. Economic-Social Interaction during China’s Transition By Lindbeck, Assar
  3. Cooperation with Defection By Ennio Bilancini; Leonardo Boncinelli
  4. Religious Schools, Social Values and Economic Attitudes: Evidence from Bangladesh By Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University) and Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank)
  5. "Role of Inter-bank Networks in the Pre-war Japanese Financial System"(in Japanese) By Tetsuji Okazaki; Michiru Sawada
  6. "Democracy, Finance and Development " By Juan Pineiro Chousa; Haider A. Khan; Davit N. Melikyan; Artur Tamazian
  7. Why are Married Men Working So Much? By John Knowles
  8. Knowing what others Know: Coordination motives in information acquisition By Christian Hellwig; Laura Veldkamp

  1. By: Valeria Sodano
    Abstract: The globalisation of the agri-food system and the growing variety of food products and technologies have made it increasingly difficult for nation-states to regulate food safety and quality practices, giving rise to a shift from public to private governance, essentially in the form of private standards and TPC. The paper suggests that the current shift from public to private intervention calls for a different approach to the analysis of food safety policy, on both descriptive and normative ground. Two different concepts of social capital, one of trust and the other of power, are used in order to assess the welfare effects of the newest trends in food safety policy. Through the lens of social capital it is clear that private standards and TPC are not merely an impartial technical tool able to foster food markets efficiency and safety. Rather they are the means by which powerful actors in the chain discipline people and things in order to accomplish their own objectives
    JEL: L15 L66 K13
    Date: 2006–10
  2. By: Lindbeck, Assar (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: I discuss the nature of the economic reforms in China during the last quarter of a century in the context of a typology of economic systems, emphasizing the interaction between economic and social mechanisms. I also consider China’s options for further reforms. I focus on economic reforms that make the growth path less resource demanding and social reforms that enhance income security and improve education and health care for disadvantaged population groups.
    Keywords: China; Transition Economies; Social Insurance; Human Services
    JEL: I18 I19 I38 O53 P30
    Date: 2006–12–04
  3. By: Ennio Bilancini; Leonardo Boncinelli
    Abstract: The Prisoner Dilemma is a typical structure of interaction in human societies. In spite of a long tradition dealing with the matter from different perspectives, the emergence of cooperation or defection still remains a controversial argument from both empirical and theoretical point of views. In this paper an innovative model is presented and analyzed in the attempt to provide a reasonable framing of the issue. A population of boundedly rational agents repeatedly chooses to cooperate or defect. Each agent’s action affects only her interacting mates, according to a network of relationships which is endogenously modifiable since agents are given the possibility to substitute undesired mates with unknown ones. Full cooperation, full defection and coexistence of both cooperation and defection in homogeneous clusters are possible outcomes of the model. A computer program is developed with the purpose of understanding the impact of parameters values on the type of outcome. Numerous simulations are run and the resulting evidence is analyzed and interpreted
    Keywords: Prisoner Dilemma; cooperation; segregation; networks; simulation
    JEL: C63 C88 D85
    Date: 2006–06
  4. By: Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University) and Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper examines the social impact of a madrasa (Islamic religious school) reform program in Bangladesh. The key features of the reform are change of the curriculum and introduction of female teachers. We assess whether the reform is making any contribution in improving social cohesion in rural areas. We use new data on teachers and female graduates from rural Bangladesh and explore how attitudes toward desired fertility, working mothers, higher education for girls vis-à-vis boys, and various political regimes vary across secondary schools and modernised madrasas. We find some evidence of attitudinal gaps by school type. Modernised religious education is associated with attitudes that are conducive to democracy. On the other hand, when compared to their secular schooled peers, madrasa graduates have perverse attitude on matters such as working mothers, desired fertility and higher education for girls. We also find that young people's attitudes are interlinked with that of their teachers. Exposure to female and younger teachers leads to more favourable attitudes among graduates. These estimated effects are robust to conditioning on a rich set of individual, family and school traits. We conclude by discussing other social and economic implications of these findings.
  5. By: Tetsuji Okazaki (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo); Michiru Sawada (Faculty of Eoconomics, Nagoya-Gakuin University)
    Abstract: In this paper we identify networks among banks in pre-war Japan based on director interlocking data, and explore their implications. It was found that nearly 60% of banks had interlocking ties with at least one other bank. The large regional banks tended to have many interlocking ties. One of the effects of the inter-bank networks was reducing the probability of bank failure. This result is consistent with the descriptive evidences that banks supported a bank in the same network through supplying liquidity, in case it was faced with liquidity shortage. At the same time, a bank tended to choose a bank in the same network as a counterpart of consolidation, which suggests that inter-bank networks lowered the coordination cost of consolidation.
    Date: 2006–03
  6. By: Juan Pineiro Chousa (University of Santiago de Compostila); Haider A. Khan (Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver); Davit N. Melikyan (GSIS, University of Denver); Artur Tamazian (University of Santiago de Compostila)
    Abstract: The paper tests the hypothesis of a positive impact of democratization on growth and economic development in the sense of capabilities and improvements in well-being. We employ a probit model to estimate the probabilistic indicator for democracy for a large sample of countries. Panel regressions are applied to explain the impact on growth of political institutions (democracy), economic institutions and efficiency of financial management, along with more "traditional" factors. The empirical findings support the hypothesis of decisive role of democratic political and efficient economic institutions in stimulating economic growth. The main results also highlight the importance of effective allocation of financial resources. In addition to the growth regression results, it is argued, consistently with the capabilities approach to development by Sen, that many of the explanatory variables in the growth regression are positively related to development as capabilities enhancement. This is particularly true for democratic freedoms. Finally the problem of 'optimal' institutional development is discussed within the context of resource allocation, migration flows and political decisions.
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: John Knowles (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We document a negative trend in the leisure of men married to women aged 25-45, relative to that of their wives, and a positive trend in relative housework. We develop a simple bargaining model of marriage, divorce and allocations of leisure-time and housework. Calibration to US data shows the trend in the wage gender gap explains most of the trend in relative leisure, but has little effect on married women's labor supply, which appears to be due mainly to the trend in the price of home equipment.
    Keywords: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Economics of Gender; Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    JEL: E13 J12 J16
    Date: 2006–12–03
  8. By: Christian Hellwig (Department of Economics University of California Los Angeles); Laura Veldkamp
    Abstract: When a large number of agents play a game with strategic complementarity, information choices exhibit strategic complementarity as well: If an agent wants to do what others do, then they want to know what others know. Likewise, strategic substitutability in actions produces strategic substitutability in information acquisition. The uniqueness or multiplicity of coordination game equilibria depends on whether information choice is discrete or continuous and whether the information is public or private. We use these results to explore how optimal information choices change the dynamic predictions of well-known macroeconomic theories.
    Keywords: Costly Information Acquisition, strategic complements, multiple equilibria
    JEL: D83 C72 C73
    Date: 2006–12–03

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