nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒03‒03
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Social Network Capital, Economic Mobility and Poverty Traps By Chantarat, Sommarat; Barrett, Christopher B.
  2. Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections By Patrick Bayer; Randi Hjalmarsson; David Pozen
  3. Why and How Identity Should Influence Utility By Philipp C. Wichardt
  4. Women, Work and Culture By Fernández, Raquel
  5. Political Institutions and Economic Growth By Marsiliani, Laura; Renström, Thomas I
  6. Participatory approach to comunity health:Sustainable strategy from India By Venu Menon, Sudha
  7. Enforcing cooperation among medieval merchants: The Maghribi traders revisited By Harbord, David
  8. Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces By Stevenson, Betsey; Wolfers, Justin
  9. Providing Public Goods Without Strong Sanctioning Institutions By Anke Gerber; Philipp C. Wichardt
  10. Values, vision, proposals and networks: using ideas in leadership for human development: the approach of Mahbub ul Haq By Des Gasper
  11. "Organisational learning and the organisational link : The problem of conflict, political equilibrium and truce" By Pierre-André Mangolte
  12. Gestión Educativa: Dimensión Institucional, Municipal y Participación Social By Osvaldo Nina
  14. Social Interaction and Effort in a Success-at-Work Augmented Utility Model By George J. Bratsiotis; Baochun Peng
  15. Social Learning of Efficiency Enhancing Trade With(out) Market Entry Costs - An experimental study By Nadine Chlaß; Werner Güth; Christoph Vanberg
  16. Has there been any Social Mobility for Non-Whites in Brazil? By Rafael Guerreiro Osorio
  17. Age, Human Capital and the Geography of Innovation By Katharina Frosch; Thusnelda Tivig

  1. By: Chantarat, Sommarat; Barrett, Christopher B.
    Abstract: The paper explores the role social network capital might play in facilitating poor agents’ escape from poverty traps. We model endogenous network formation among households heterogeneously endowed with both traditional and social network capital who make investment and technology choices over time in the absence of financial markets and faced with multiple production technologies featuring different fixed costs and returns. We show that social network capital can serve as either a complement to or a substitute for productive assets in facilitating some poor households’ escape from poverty. However, the voluntary nature of costly social network formation also creates both involuntary and voluntary exclusionary mechanisms that impede some poor households’ efforts to exit poverty. The ameliorative potential of social networks therefore depends fundamentally on the underlying wealth distribution in the economy. In some settings, targeted public transfers to the poor can crowd-in private resources by inducing new social links that the poor can exploit to escape from poverty.
    Keywords: social network capital; endogenous network formation; poverty traps; multiple equilibria; social isolation; social exclusion; crowding-in transfer
    JEL: I32 Z13 O12 D85
    Date: 2007–02–14
  2. By: Patrick Bayer; Randi Hjalmarsson; David Pozen
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the influence that juvenile offenders serving time in the same correctional facility have on each other's subsequent criminal behavior. The analysis is based on data on over 8,000 individuals serving time in 169 juvenile correctional facilities during a two-year period in Florida. These data provide a complete record of past crimes, facility assignments, and arrests and adjudications in the year following release for each individual. To control for the non-random assignment to facilities, we include facility and facility-by-prior offense fixed effects, thereby estimating peer effects using only within-facility variation over time. We find strong evidence of peer effects for burglary, petty larceny, felony and misdemeanor drug offenses, aggravated assault, and felony sex offenses; the influence of peers primarily affects individuals who already have some experience in a particular crime category. We also find evidence that peer effects are stronger in smaller facilities and that the predominant types of peer effects differ in residential versus non-residential facilities; effects in the latter are consistent with network formation among youth serving time close to home.
    JEL: H0 H23 J0 J24 K0
    Date: 2007–02
  3. By: Philipp C. Wichardt (Economic Theory 3, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24-26, D-53113 Bonn, Germany.
    Abstract: This paper provides an argument for the advantage of a preference for identity-consistent behaviour from an evolutionary point of view. Within a stylised model of social interaction, we show that the development of cooperative social norms is greatly facilitated if the agents of the society possess a preference for identity consistent behaviour. As cooperative norms have a positive impact on aggregate outcomes, we conclude that such preferences are evolutionarily advantageous. Furthermore, we discuss how such a preference can be integrated in the modelling of utility in order to account for the distinctive cooperative trait in human behaviour and show how this squares with the evidence.
    Keywords: cognitive dissonance, fairness, identity, reciprocity, social Norms, social preferences, utility
    JEL: A13 C70 C90 D01 Z13
    Date: 2007–01
  4. By: Fernández, Raquel
    Abstract: This paper discusses some recent advances in the area of culture and economics and examines the effect of culture on a key economic outcome: female labour supply. To separate the effect of market variables and institutions from culture, I use an epidemiological approach, studying second-generation American women. I use both female LFP and attitudes in the women's country of ancestry as cultural proxies and show that both cultural proxies have quantitatively significant effects on women's work outcomes. The paper concludes with some suggestions for future empirical and theoretical research topics in this area.
    Keywords: attitudes; cultural transmission; endogenous preferences; female labour force participation; immigrants; World Value Survey
    JEL: J13 J21 Z10
    Date: 2007–02
  5. By: Marsiliani, Laura; Renström, Thomas I
    Abstract: We analyze the impact of micro-founded political institutions on economic growth in an overlapping-generations economy, where individuals differ in preferences over a public good (as well as in age). Labour and capital taxes finance the public good and a public input. The benchmark institution is a parliament, where all decisions are taken. Party entry, parliamentary composition, coalition formation, and bargaining are endogenous. We compare this constitution to delegation of decision-making, where a spending minister (elected in parliament or appointed by the largest party). Delegation of decision-making tends to yield lower growth, mainly due to the occurrence of production inefficiency.
    Keywords: bargaining; endogenous growth; overlapping generations; taxation; voting
    JEL: D72 D90 H20 H41 O41
    Date: 2007–02
  6. By: Venu Menon, Sudha
    Abstract: In social development and health sector, India’s performance is still lagging behind many Sub-Saharan African countries. There are also disparities between the urban and rural sectors and between privileged upper class and the socially disadvantaged groups. Widespread illiteracy, avoidable morbidity, premature mortality and deep-seated inequality of opportunity are still prevailing in India. India’s achievements in dealing with life expectancy, elementary education, nutritional well being, protection from illness, social security and consumption levels has been substantially and systematically out passed by many other developing countries. Compared to other countries, social sector expenditure is negligible in India, especially when compared it with UNDP recommended ratio. In the case of Indian state we can see that accelerated growth rate does not to have led to a corresponding change in living condition of rural poor. Here lies the importance of participatory mode of approach. The provision of social security cannot rely exclusively either on market forces or on the state initiative. There is an urgent need for participation in the distribution of social security measure. The move towards participatory growth calls for an integrated view of the process of economic expansion. The UN has defined community participation as ‘the creation of opportunity to enable all members of a community and the larger society to actively contribute to and influence the development process to share equitable the fruits of development’. This participatory mode of development views village community as the site for intervention. In this process it has to mediate through agencies working at that level. This is most commonly done through NGOs. In this broader context of Indian state’s commitment to liberalization, present paper attempts to study the participatory intervention of NGO in community health. For a detailed study, success story of AWARE - NGO working among the marginalized people in rural Andhra Pradesh is selected. The paper does not project NGO as viable alternative to fill the space vacated by state. But it only tries to establish that the objective of “Health for All” can be achieved only through community participation. The present paper is divided into 4 parts. The first part briefly outlines health sector performance and trends during the post reform era and its outcomes. The second part analyses the status of health sector in Andhra Pradesh, major indicators and initiatives. The third part in detail discusses the sustainable strategy of AWARE and its impact on health sector in rural Andhra. The final part contains major findings and concluding remarks.
    Keywords: India; Community health; participatory development; Andhra Pradesh.
    JEL: I18
    Date: 2007–02–27
  7. By: Harbord, David
    Abstract: We revisit Greif's (1993) analysis of trade between the 11th-century Maghribi traders and present two different models which bring into play, in an essential way, historical features of the Maghribi's organization which had no role in Greif's own analysis. Our reformulation of the Maghribi's "punishment strategies" incorporates principal components of their actual historical practice and explains why they may have been necessary to sustain cooperation, especially in the presence of uncertainty or imperfect information. We also model "formal friendships," or trade through bilateral and multilateral partnerships, and predict the Maghribi's practice of providing agency services without pecuniary compensation. We are thus able to provide a richer and more accurate picture of how that organization facilitated trade between widely-dispersed traders in the absence of a reliable legal system to enforce merchant contracts.
    Keywords: cooperation; enforcement; trade; institutions
    JEL: J41 N75 C72 D23
    Date: 2006–11–08
  8. By: Stevenson, Betsey; Wolfers, Justin
    Abstract: We document key facts about marriage and divorce, comparing trends through the past 150 years and outcomes across demographic groups and countries. While divorce rates have risen over the past 150 years, they have been falling for the past quarter century. Marriage rates have also been falling, but more strikingly, the importance of marriage at different points in the life cycle has changed, reflecting rising age at first marriage, rising divorce followed by high remarriage rates, and a combination of increased longevity with a declining age gap between husbands and wives. Cohabitation has also become increasingly important, emerging as a widely used step on the path to marriage. Out-of-wedlock fertility has also risen, consistent with declining 'shotgun marriages'. Compared with other countries, marriage maintains a central role in American life. We present evidence on some of the driving forces causing these changes in the marriage market: the rise of the birth control pill and women’s control over their own fertility; sharp changes in wage structure, including a rise in inequality and partial closing of the gender wage gap; dramatic changes in home production technologies; and the emergence of the internet as a new matching technology. We note that recent changes in family forms demand a reassessment of theories of the family and argue that consumption complementarities may be an increasingly important component of marriage. Finally, we discuss how these facts should inform family policy debates.
    Keywords: cohabitation; demography; divorce; economics of the family; fertility; marriage; remarriage
    JEL: D1 H31 I3 J1
    Date: 2007–02
  9. By: Anke Gerber (; Philipp C. Wichardt (University of Bonn, Department of Economics, Econ. Theory III, Adenauerallee 24-42, 53113 Bonn, Germany.
    Abstract: This paper proposes a simple mechanism aimed to establish positive contributions to public goods in the absence of powerful institutions to sanction free-riders. The idea of the mechanism is to require players to commit to the public good by paying a deposit prior to the contribution stage. If all players commit in this way, those players who do not contribute their share to the public good forfeit their deposit. If there is no universal commitment, all deposits are refunded and the standard game is played. Given deposits are sufficiently high, prior commitment and full ex post contributions are part of a strict subgame perfect Nash equilibrium for the resulting game. As the mechanism obviates the need for any ex post prosecution of free-riders, it is particularly suited for situations where players do not submit to a common authority as in the case of international agreements.
    Keywords: public goods, cooperation, institutions, Climate-Change Treaties
    JEL: C72 D61
    Date: 2007–02
  10. By: Des Gasper
    Abstract: Leadership is a matter that social scientists often are ambivalent about, but is important in knife-edge’ situations and when people choose direction within wide-open possibilities. ‘Good leaders’ need contexts that stimulate and discipline them, good ‘followers’/ collaborators, and ability to use good luck. The paper explores the work of Mahbub ul Haq, in relation to some ideas about factors that affect initiatives for social justice through new ideas: (1) ideas about values can be amongst the key ideas; leaders may express and embody inspiring values; (2) ideas about values may have little impact if not embodied in practical frameworks, methodologies and proposals; (3) ideas have real impact when they give a way of seeing, a vision; (4) ideas do little good if not propagated in places and ways accessible to significant audiences. Haq’s methods as a leader for social justice included: a) lessons he learnt from the failure of his Basic Needs work at the World Bank (concerning lack of institutional protection; lack of a comprehensive vision; lack of a bridge to the mainstreams of economic policy and development policy); b) his operation as a wordsmith, providing appealing labels for big ideas, including an accessible value basis; c) his exemplification of two fundamental reorientations: ‘joined-up thinking’, analysis not restricted within the boxes of ‘national economies’; and ‘joined-up feeling’, global sympathy, concern and commitment; and d) a series of concrete, visionary proposals (like the Human Development indices, the 20/20 principle and the MDGs), which converted old talk about ‘progressive realization’ of economic and social rights into practical agendas and tools to try to keep leaders accountable.
    Keywords: leadership; social values; basic needs; human development; accountability
    Date: 2007
  11. By: Pierre-André Mangolte (CREI - Centre de Recherche en Economie Industrielle - [Université Paris-Nord - Paris XIII])
    Abstract: This article addresses the issue of organisational learning. The starting point for the analysis is the definition of organisational learning proposed by Levitt and March (1988) in terms of the transformation of an organisation's routines. This definition lead to a focus on the "organisational link" or the way in which individual routines and various learning processes are coordinated, thus assuring a degree of organisational coherence. In comparing the different organisational theories of Simon (1947), March and Simon (1958), Cyert and March (1963) and Nelson and Winter (1982), it is demonstrated that those authors that place primary emphasis on the organisation as an processor of information tend to downplay the importance of the social, relational and political dimensions of organisation behaviour. Recognition of the dual nature of the organisational link and of the importance of political determinants leads to the conclusion that individual processes of learning and inference should to be analytically distinguished from "learning" in the sense of a transformation in the organisation's routines.
    Keywords: organisational learning; theory of organisation; routines; coordination
    Date: 2007–02–07
  12. By: Osvaldo Nina (Grupo Integral)
    Abstract: El Programa Reforma Educativa ha contribuido a que el Sistema Educativo Boliviano consiguiera pasar de la perspectiva de la administración a la de la gestión. Bajo esta nueva visión, la gestión educativa depende de los actores involucrados, como padres de familia, maestros, autoridades municipales, entre otros, que tienen la responsabilidad de conducir, planificar y ejecutar un plan educativo. En ese sentido, con la finalidad de contar con una evaluación parcial de impacto de esta nueva modalidad de administración, el objetivo del estudio es evaluar la gestión educativa y analizar sus impactos en dos resultados educativos: acceso a la educación pública primaria y factores asociados al rendimiento escolar.
    Keywords: Reforma educativa, Educación, Bolivia
    JEL: I21 I22
    Date: 2005–12
  13. By: Carlos Rodríguez-Sickert; Ricardo Andrés Guzmán; Juan Camilo Cárdenas
    Abstract: We model the dynamic effects of external enforcement on the exploitation of a common pool resource. Fitting our model to the results of experimental data we find that institutions influence social preferences. We solve two puzzles in the data: the increase and later erosion of cooperation when commoners vote against the imposition of a fine, and the high deterrence power of low fines. When fines are rejected, internalization of a social norm explains the increased cooperation; violations (accidental or not), coupled with reciprocal preferences, account for the erosion. Low fines stabilize cooperation by preventing a spiral of negative reciprocation.
    Date: 2006–07–05
  14. By: George J. Bratsiotis; Baochun Peng
    Abstract: This paper examines how success-at-work, interpreted by both subjective and relative criteria, can motivate individuals to enhance their effort and utility. We employ a general specification utility function and show that the final effect of technological growth on individuals’ effort and utility depends, respectively, on the assumptions we make about their nature with regard to their effort strategies (i.e. conformists, deviants or neutrals) and to their utility preferences (i.e. altruistic or envious). We show that these effects are determined largely by individuals’ personal success-consciousness at-work, as well as their competition strategies towards relative success and status.
    Date: 2006
  15. By: Nadine Chlaß; Werner Güth; Christoph Vanberg
    Abstract: We investigate experimentally whether entry costs have an impact on the evolution of cooperation in a social dilemma game. In particular, subjects repeatedly play the so-called takeover game with anonymous partners randomly drawn from a fixed population of participants. The game represents a social dilemma because selfishly rational players can fail to make efficient trades due to information asymmetries. In order to create a potential for social learning, we provide subjects with feedback about average results in the population. Our interest lies in observing the extent to which cooperative behaviors facilitating trade are adopted. Our main conjecture is that market entry costs inspire more trade. This is only partly confirmed by the data.
    Keywords: Cooperation, sunk costs, social learning, takeover game
    JEL: C78 C91 C92
    Date: 2007–01
  16. By: Rafael Guerreiro Osorio (International Poverty Centre)
    Keywords: Social Mobility, Race, Brazil, Poverty
    Date: 2007–01
  17. By: Katharina Frosch (Rostock Centre for the Study of Demographic Change, Germany); Thusnelda Tivig (University of Rostock and Rostock Centre for the Study of Demographic Change, Germany)
    Abstract: An aging labor force is often associated with a decreasing innovative performance on aggregate, firm or individual level. Using a regional knowledge production function to explain patenting activity in German districts, we propose to include the effect of age in a twofold specification: First, we account indirectly for age by including the aggregate, age-heterogeneous human capital available in each district and estimating its effect on patenting performance. Second, we assume that there is an age effect that is independent of human capital and therefore include the age structure of the districts' labor force directly, too. Possible explanations for an independent age-effect are age-dependent differences in the ability to exploit innovation-relevant human capital or age-specific motivation to lead creative ideas to successful inventions. Departing from these conceptualizations provided by economics and I-O psychology, we estimate a negative binomial regression model appropriate for count data. Results on German district level indicate that engineering knowledge in the younger as well as the prime age group significantly enhances patenting performance, whereas we do not find any efect for the age group 50+. However, for older ages, the stock of experience has a positive influence. On aggregate level, we find a positive independent age effect.
    Keywords: knowledge production function, regional innovation analysis, human capital, aging, demographic change, patents
    JEL: O31 J24
    Date: 2007

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