nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒03‒17
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Social Capital vs Institutions in the Growth Process By Ahlerup, Pelle; Olsson, Ola; Yanagizawa, David
  2. The Scope of Cooperation: Norms and Incentives By Guido Tabellini
  3. Horizontal Interaction on Local Councils' Expenditures. Evidence from Italy By Barbara ERMINI; Raffaella SANTOLINI
  4. Social Interaction and Intergenerational Skill Transfer By Sarah Brown; Karl Taylor
  5. Cooperating if one?s Goals are Collective-Based: Social Identification Effects in Social Dilemmas as a Function of Goal-Transformation By Cremer, D. de; Knippenberg, D.L. van; Dijk, E. van; Leeuwen, E. van
  6. On the information value of (un)embedded network ties By Hagedoorn John; Letterie Wilko; Palm Franz
  7. L'esperienza delle Unioni di Comuni in Italia e nelle Marche. Focus sulla gestione associata di funzioni e servizi By Barbara ERMINI; Samuele SALVUCCI
  8. Intangible assets as a conceptual problem and the fiction of fair value (in Spanish) By GALINDO LUCAS, ALFONSO
  9. Microfinance in LDCs: multipurpose NGOs linkage models By Chiara SANSEVERINO

  1. By: Ahlerup, Pelle (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Olsson, Ola (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Yanagizawa, David (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Is social capital always important for economic growth? A number of recent micro studies suggest that interpersonal trust and social capital will have its greatest impact on economic performance when court institutions are relatively weak. The conventional wisdom from macro studies, however, is that social capital is unconditionally good for growth. On the basis of the micro evidence, we outline an investment game between a producer and a lender in an incomplete-contracts setting. A key insight is that social capital will have the greatest e¤ect on the total surplus from the game at lower levels of institutional strength and that the effect of social capital vanishes when institutions are very strong. When we bring this prediction to an empirical cross-country growth regression, it is shown that the marginal effect of social capital (in the form of inter- personal trust) decreases with institutional strength. Our results imply that a one standard deviation rise in social capital in weakly institutionalized Nigeria should increase economic growth by 1.8 percentage points, whereas the same increase in social capital only increases growth by 0.3 percentage points in strongly institutionalized Canada. <p>
    Keywords: social capital; institutions; growth; investment
    JEL: O11
    Date: 2007–03–09
  2. By: Guido Tabellini
    Date: 2007–03–14
  3. By: Barbara ERMINI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia); Raffaella SANTOLINI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)
    Abstract: This paper seeks for public spending interdependence among jurisdictions within some Italian local councils. We find significant positive interaction among spending of neighboring local councils both at the level of total expenditure and also for different subcategories. However, this result applies only when spatial dependence is analyzed among geographically contiguous jurisdictions different criteria of proximity do not give rise to any substantial form of interaction among local governments. Attempts to identifying the source of this interaction seem to refuse yardstick competition hypothesis. Fiscal spill-overs among jurisdictions appear as a more plausible explanation; we also find evidence that local councils partnerships fail to effectively internalize these spill-overs. Finally, commuting affects spatial interdependence among jurisdictions.
    Keywords: local councils partnerships, local public expenditures, spatial econometrics, spill-overs, strategic interaction, yardistick competition
    JEL: C31 D71 D72 H72 H73
    Date: 2007–02
  4. By: Sarah Brown; Karl Taylor (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: We explore the relationship between educational attainment and social interaction using individual level data from the British National Child Development Study. To be specific, we analyze whether an intergenerational aspect to this relationship exists by examining the relationship between the educational attainment of children and the degree of formal social activity undertaken by their parents. In accordance with the existing literature, our results support a positive association between education and social interaction. Furthermore, our results suggest that children´s scores in reading, mathematics and vocabulary tests are positively associated with the extent of their parents´ formal social interaction. This relationship is robust to controlling for the degree of intra-family based social interaction and the social activities of the child.
    Keywords: Education, Human Capital, Social Capital, Social Interaction.
    JEL: J24 Z12
    Date: 2006–10
  5. By: Cremer, D. de; Knippenberg, D.L. van; Dijk, E. van; Leeuwen, E. van (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: Prior studies of the effect of group identification on cooperation in social dilemmas have advanced two competing accounts of this effect, the goal-transformation hypothesis, which holds that identification implies a sense of collective self, which makes personal and collective goals interchangeable, and the goal-amplification hypothesis, which states that identification induces positive expectations about others? cooperative behavior. These prior studies have, however, neglected to assess the process measures necessary to pit the one account against the other. Following prior research, the present study showed that the effect of identification was moderated by participants? social value orientation (i.e., individual differences in evaluating the importance of outcomes for self and other) in such a way that identification influenced proselfs? cooperation more than prosocials? cooperation. This suggests that the consequence of group identification is that collective goals become personal goals. Extending earlier recent research, mediational analyses showed that the effect of our identification manipulation was mediated by participants? sense of collective self and not by their expectations. Taken together, these results provide strong support in favor of the goal-transformation hypothesis.
    Keywords: Goal-transformation hypothesis;Goal-amplification hypothesis;
    Date: 2007–02–05
  6. By: Hagedoorn John; Letterie Wilko; Palm Franz (METEOR)
    Abstract: A firm sets up a network of information generating alliances to reduce technological uncertainty. This alliance group creates both advantages associated with similarity of existing partners and limitations due to restricted choice of new partners. Our model analyses the conditions (technological uncertainty, information overlap, alliance search costs, and the number of previous alliances) under which a firm opts for an embedded tie within an existing network or an unembedded tie with a new partner.
    Keywords: Strategy;
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Barbara ERMINI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia); Samuele SALVUCCI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)
    Abstract: [ENG];This paper examines the structural characteristics of Unione di Comuni, a kind of local councils partnership recently supported by Italian law, trying to assess which factors most influenced the choice of functions and services to being managed associatively. It also analyzes the impact of the Unione di Comuni on the management of functions and on the provision of services at the level of associated local councils. It emerges that Unione di Comuni is mainly assigned with functions and services in the realm of essential public and social policies that otherwise small municipalities would carry on with difficulties or at lesser quality. We observe that more often Unione di Comuni co-operates with local councils in serving these public functions but there are also several cases, especially when police function is concerned, where Unione di Comuni totally replaces local councils activity. When considering number and quality of delivered services, it emerges that Unione di Comuni almost always manages new services and/or improves the quality of existing ones. For these reasons, we rarely observe a reduction in the expenditures for local public functions.;;[ITA];Questo lavoro esamina le caratteristiche strutturali delle Unioni di Comuni in Italia e nelle Marche cercando di far emergere la presenza di fattori che possono aver influenzato la scelta di funzioni e servizi da gestire associativamente. Basandosi su indagini questionarie e su analisi di bilancio, si è tentato di valutare l’impatto delle Unioni di Comuni sui Comuni associati in relazione alle modalità di organizzazione delle risorse, sia umane che finanziarie, di gestione delle funzioni e di erogazione dei servizi. Emerge che alle Unioni di Comuni vengono delegate principalmente funzioni e servizi in materia di politiche pubbliche e sociali indispensabili che anche i Comuni più piccoli sono chiamati a garantire. Nell’ambito di queste deleghe l’Unione opera talvolta a complemento di quanto già erogato dai Comuni associati ed in altri casi sostituendosi a quest’ultimi nel ruolo di gestore/erogatore di servizi. Più frequentemente sia alla gestione associata si sostanzia nell’attivazione di nuovi servizi e nell’innalzamento della qualità della prestazione erogata o della funzione presidiata. Per questi motivi, difficilmente la cooperazione istituzionale comporta per i Comuni evidenti risparmi nella spesa per funzioni. Dal lato delle entrate, le Unioni si finanziano principalmente con i trasferimenti dei Comuni associati anche se una buona quota delle risorse finanziarie è frutto di contribuzione proveniente dai livelli di governo superiore.
    Keywords: associazionismo tra enti locali, servizi pubblici locali, spesa pubblica locale
    JEL: H70 H72 H77
    Date: 2006–12
    Abstract: In an institutional framework, intangible Asset Accountancy is a convenient thing for business, but it does not necessarily find a worth theoretical justification. Within perfect information and continuous activity assumptions, it remains demonstrated that the concept of intangible stands for a theoretical problem. In real life, where sometimes information does not exists at all, neither take place other theoretical assumptions, “reasonable value” assessment for those assets becomes an accountant fiction (and a fiscal one) . Another famous problem, that one of fixed capital, concurs with the theoretical idea of none of businesses being profitable.
    Keywords: Activos intangibles; valor razonable; empresa en funcionamiento; rentabilidad; problemas de información; mercado.
    JEL: M41 M19 B59 B41 D53 D01
    Date: 2007–02–12
  9. By: Chiara SANSEVERINO
    Abstract: The paper gives a theoretical framework of microfinance and it analyzes Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). Multipurpose NGOs in LDCs were the leading part in the so called ‘microfinance revolution’. Nevertheless a ri-definition of their role is needed, given some critical impacts of NGO programs in microfinance and given the rise of new and more specialized providers. The hypotesis is that the new role can be pursuit through the promotion of strategic partnerships in which the multipurpose NGO, as promoter, manage the component of non-financial services and other functions which differ from financial service delivering itself, such as groups capacity building and designing loan schemes guarantee. This kind of ‘linkage model’ can overwork NGO ability to stay at the grassroots and succeeds in both reducing asymmetric information phenomena and administrative costs for the Financial Institutions. By doing so it channels new clients’ demand to formal financial system supply. This intermediation action will be highlighted through the analysis of four interesting cases in very different LDCs: Zimbabwe, Bosnia, Bolivia and India. The paper aims at showing some experiences which can contribute to deepen knowledge and improve microfinance good practises among operators
    Keywords: MFIs, NGOs, financial markets, formal and informal sectors, international linkages to development
    JEL: G21 L31 N2 O17 O19
    Date: 2007–03

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