nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒04‒21
twenty papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. A Social Network Analysis of Occupational Segregation By Buhai, Sebastian; van der Leij, Marco
  2. The Hedonistic Paradox: Is Homo Economicus Happier? By Konow, James; Earley, Joseph
  3. Institutions, Networks and Entrepreneurship Development in Russia: An Exploration By Ruta Aidis; Saul Estrin
  4. Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets By BENABOU, Roland; TIROLE, Jean
  5. Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group By TIROLE, Jean
  6. Mixed Feelings: Theories and Evidence of Warm Glow and Altruism By Konow, James
  7. Social Interactions with Endogenous Associations By Bruce A. Weinberg
  8. Performance Pay, Group Selection and Group Performance By Manfred Königstein; Gabriele K. Ruchala
  10. The reafirmación of the contributions of (property of) the associates of the cooperative societies. Offer of regulation of the societies of limited cooperative responsibility By García-Gutiérrez Fernández, Carlos
  11. Double Standards: Social Preferences and Moral Biases By Croson, Rachel; Konow, James
  12. Endogenous Leadership: Selection and Influence By Emrah Arbak; Marie-Claire Villeval
  13. Total Work, Gender and Social Norms By Michael Burda; Daniel S. Hamermesh; Philippe Weil
  14. Social Value Orientation as a Moral Intuition: Decision-Making in the Dictator Game By Gert Cornelissen; Siegfried Dewitte; Luk Warlop
  15. On Gender Inequality and Life Satisfaction: Does Discrimination Matter? By Bjørnskov, Christian; Dreher, Axel; Fischer, Justina AV
  16. The Evolution of Roommate Networks: A Comment on Jackson and Watts JET (2002) By Bettina Klaus; Flip Klijn; Markus Walzl
  17. Family, Partnerships, and Network: Reflections on the Strategies of the Salvadori Firm of Trento (17th-18th Centuries) By Cinzia Lorandini
  18. Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China By John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
  19. Norm compliance: the contribution of behavioral economics models By Marco Faillo; Lorenzo Sacconi
  20. The American Family and Family Economics By Shelly Lundberg; Robert A. Pollak

  1. By: Buhai, Sebastian (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business); van der Leij, Marco (Tinbergen Institute and Erasmus University)
    Abstract: We develop a social network model of occupational segregation between <p> different social groups, generated by the existence of positive inbreeding <p> bias among individuals from the same group. If network referrals <p> are important in getting a job, then expected inbreeding bias in the <p> contact network structure induces different career choices for individuals <p> from different social groups. This further translates into stable occupational <p> segregation equilibria in the labour market. We derive the conditions <p> for persistent wage and unemployment inequality in the segregation <p> equilibria. Our framework is proposed as complementary to existing theories <p> used to explain labour market inequalities between groups divided <p> by race, ethnicity or gender
    Keywords: Social Networks; Inbreeding Bias; Occupational Segregation; Labour Market Inequality
    JEL: A14 J31 Z13
    Date: 2006–11–07
  2. By: Konow, James; Earley, Joseph
    Abstract: The “Hedonistic Paradox” states that homo economicus, or someone who seeks happiness for him- or herself, will not find it, but the person who helps others will. This study examines two questions in connection with happiness and generosity. First, do more generous people, as identified in dictator experiments, report on average greater happiness, or subjective well-being (SWB), as measured by responses to various questionnaires? Second, if the answer is affirmative, what is the causal relationship between generosity and happiness? We find a favorable correlation between generosity and happiness (i.e., SWB is directly related to several measures of happiness and inversely related to unhappiness) and examine various possible explanations, including that material well-being causes both happiness and generosity. The evidence from this experiment, however, indicates that a tertiary personality variable, sometimes called psychological well-being, is the primary cause of both happiness and greater generosity. In contrast to field studies, the experimental method of this inquiry permits anonymity measures designed to minimize subject misrepresentation of intrinsic generosity (e.g., due to social approval motives) and of actual happiness (e.g., because of social desirability biases) and produces a rich data set with multiple measures of subjective, psychological and material well-being. The results of this and other studies raise the question of whether greater attention should be paid to the potential benefits (beyond solely the material ones) of policies that promote charitable donations, volunteerism, service education, and, more generally, community involvement, political action, and social institutions that foster psychological well-being.
    Keywords: Happiness; Subjective well-being; Altruism; Generosity; Psychological well-being; Eudaimonia
    JEL: D64 C91
    Date: 2007–03
  3. By: Ruta Aidis; Saul Estrin
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the ways in which institutions and networks influence entrepreneurial development in Russia. By utilizing new Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data collected in 2001, we investigate the effects of the weak institutional environment in Russia in terms of three dimensions: on the rate of productive entrepreneurial activity measured in terms of start-ups and existing business owners; on the characteristics of business owners; and on business financing. In addition, the analysis explores the effectiveness of Russia’s informal networks for circumventing the weak institutional environment for business development. Our results indicate that Russia’s business owners share many of the same characteristics as business owners in advanced western countries, though education is not associated with entrepreneurial activity. However, the main differences are in the sources of financing and the fact that relatively few individuals engage in productive entrepreneurial activity. Our results support the notion of the limited effectiveness of Russia’s networks for supporting entrepreneurial activity in its weak institutional environment.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Institutions, Networks, Russia
    JEL: L14 M13 P36
    Date: 2006–06–01
  4. By: BENABOU, Roland; TIROLE, Jean
    JEL: D81 D91 Z13
    Date: 2006–12
  5. By: TIROLE, Jean
    Date: 2007–01
  6. By: Konow, James
    Abstract: This paper presents theoretical and empirical analyses of experiments that test competing theories of altruism, including pure altruism (a preference for the well-being of others), warm glow (a good feeling from giving) and impure altruism (a combination of pure altruism and warm glow). These theories produce different predictions regarding crowding out, i.e., the reduction in private donations due to public spending. Variations on dictator experiments involving both students and charities examine the incidence of crowding out and provide a new direct measure of the effect of giving on feelings. The results indicate that crowding out is incomplete, i.e., less than dollar for dollar. The evidence on warm glow suggests mixed feelings: giving may be associated with good or bad feelings, depending on the context. As a way to resolve apparent inconsistencies and reconcile the evidence on crowding out and feelings, this paper proposes a theory of conditional altruism, which extends previous models to incorporate social norms that arise in the workplace, marketplace and laboratory.
    Keywords: Altruism; Warm-Glow; Happiness; Efficiency; Fairness; Justice; Need
    JEL: D64 D63
    Date: 2006–09
  7. By: Bruce A. Weinberg
    Abstract: This paper develops a model of social interactions with endogenous association. People are assumed to invest in relationships to maximize their utility. Even in a linear-in-means model, when associations are endogenous, the effect of macro-group composition on behavior is non-linear and varies across individuals. We also show that larger groups facilitate sorting. Using data on associations among high school students, we provide a range of evidence consistent with our model. Individuals associate with people whose behaviors and characteristics are similar to their own. This tendency is stronger in large groups. We also show that behaviors vary within and between macro-groups in the way predicted by endogenous association.
    JEL: I21 I32 J15
    Date: 2007–04
  8. By: Manfred Königstein (University of Erfurt and IZA); Gabriele K. Ruchala (ELSE, University College London)
    Abstract: Within a laboratory experiment we investigate a principal-agent game in which agents may, first, self-select into a group task (GT) or an individual task (IT) and, second, choose work effort. In their choices of task and effort the agents have to consider pay contracts for both tasks as offered by the principal. The rational solution of the game implies that contract design may not induce agents to select GT and provide positive effort in GT. Furthermore it predicts equal behavior of agents with different productivities. In contrast, considerations of trust, reciprocity and cooperation - the social-emotional model of behavior - suggest that contract design can influence the agents’ willingness to join groups and provide effort. We analyze the data by applying a two-step regression model (multinomial logit and tobit) and find that counter to the rational solution, contract design does influence both, task selection and effort choice. The principal can increase participation in work groups and can positively influence group performance. Larger payment increases the share of socially motivated agents in work groups. The selection effect is larger than the motivation effect.
    Keywords: principal-agent, experiment, work group, selection, motivation
    JEL: M5 J3 C7 C9
    Date: 2007–03
  9. By: Friederike Mengel (Universidad de Alicante); Veronika Grimm (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate the effect of imperfect separation of groups on group selection and cooperation in a standard prisoner¿s dilemma environment. Subjects can repeatedly choose between two groups, where in one of them an institutionalized norm fosters cooperation. The degree of separation of the two groups is varied between treatments. We find that both, the share of participants that choose into the group where the norm is implemented and the share of participants that cooperate, rise monotonously with the degree of group separation. Furthermore with higher group separation significantly more subjects support the enforcement of the norm.
    Keywords: Experiments, Cooperation, Group Selection, Social Norms, Population Viscosity.
    JEL: L13 L23
    Date: 2007–04
  10. By: García-Gutiérrez Fernández, Carlos
    Abstract: The denominated International Norms (that are only European) of Accounting they have shown a latent problem that is not only terminological: they claim the resource consideration unaware of the heading that picks up the contributions of the partners of the cooperative societies, as it could not be otherwise when being companies in those that partner's condition is not acquired by the obligatory contribution (and, in its case, voluntary). The accounting seeks, among other things, to offer a faithful image of the patrimonial and economic-financial situation of the company. The principle of open door, settled down by the only worldwide organization! that what is a cooperative society, settles down it bears the refund of those contributions when the partner stops to be it; what configures to the inappropriately denominated social capital (it should be capital contributed by the partners) like a debt, not conventional, but debt. But the credit, the trust of the financial market, is based more on what you/they promise the managers that in a countable relationship of the passive one (and much less if it is deceiving). The things cannot be distorted to assist to the rights of those worthy of the society (that are sacred). These already know "with those who the rooms are played"; and, if they don't know it, it is their problem. It cannot load the inks on the current partners in favour of the futures, and even less in favour of the present managers. The cooperative society is an association of managers in democracy, each one of those which… he/she responds of its contribution, if the case arrives; but not before, "just in case". Because this is against the financial meaning, against the economical meaning and against the cooperative meaning.
    Keywords: The partners' financial contributions. Social capital. Net Accountant. Patrimony. Private property; Limitation of responsibility; Economic profitability and financial profitability.
    JEL: Z13 P13 P48
    Date: 2006
  11. By: Croson, Rachel; Konow, James
    Abstract: A consensus seems to be emerging in economics that at least three motives are at work in many strategic decisions: distributive preferences, reciprocal preferences and self-interest. An important obstacle to this research, however, has been moral biases, i.e., the distortions created by self-interest that can obscure social preferences. Among other things, this has led to disagreement about the relative importance of distributive preferences, reciprocal preferences, or both. This paper describes a simple experiment that decomposes behavior into these three forces and examines their interactions without the confounds that have compromised other designs. We compare the decisions of implicated “stakeholders” with those of impartial “spectators,” who have no stake. Several surprising and interesting results emerge. For example, stakeholders respond less forcefully to kindness and unkindness towards them than do spectators acting on their behalf. We also find an asymmetry in reciprocity: stakeholders punish but do not reward, whereas spectators both reward and punish. This result suggests that the lack of positive reciprocity found in other studies is not due to an asymmetry in underlying reciprocal preferences but rather to a moral bias by stakeholders in the application of that preference. More generally, we find that all three hypothesized motives have important and significant effects on final allocations.
    Keywords: Reciprocity; fairness; justice; moral bias
    JEL: D63 C91
    Date: 2007–03
  12. By: Emrah Arbak (CNRS-GATE, University of Lyon); Marie-Claire Villeval (CNRS-GATE, University of Lyon, and IZA)
    Abstract: In social dilemmas, leading a team by making heroic efforts may prove costly, especially if the followers are not adequately motivated to make similar sacrifices. Attempting to understand what motivates these seemingly selfless individuals to lead, we report the results of a two-stage public good experiment with endogenous timing. Even though it turns out to be costly on average, a large proportion of our subjects volunteer to lead. Our findings suggest that a fraction of these leaders are socially concerned, while others expect to distill some personal gain, possibly of non-pecuniary nature. The composition of the team also matters, as publicizing certain attributes of a subject’s teammates has an impact on her decision to lead. Lastly, though voluntary leaders improve efficiency in their team, they are not necessarily more influential than randomly imposed leaders.
    Keywords: leadership, endogenous selection, influence, voluntary contribution, experiment
    JEL: M54 J33 A13 C92 D63
    Date: 2007–04
  13. By: Michael Burda (Humboldt University of Berlin, CEPR and IZA); Daniel S. Hamermesh (University of Texas at Austin, NBER and IZA); Philippe Weil (Université Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES), Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, CEPR and NBER)
    Abstract: Using time-diary data from 25 countries, we demonstrate that there is a negative relationship between real GDP per capita and the female-male difference in total work time per day - the sum of work for pay and work at home. In rich northern countries on four continents, including the United States, there is no difference - men and women do the same amount of total work. This latter fact has been presented before by several sociologists for a few rich countries; but our survey results show that labor economists, macroeconomists, the general public and sociologists are unaware of it and instead believe that women perform more total work. The facts do not arise from gender differences in the price of time (as measured by market wages), as women’s total work is further below men’s where their relative wages are lower. Additional tests using U.S. and German data show that they do not arise from differences in marital bargaining, as gender equality is not associated with marital status; nor do they stem from family norms, since most of the variance in the gender total work difference is due to within-couple differences. We offer a theory of social norms to explain the facts. The social-norm explanation is better able to account for within-education group and within-region gender differences in total work being smaller than inter-group differences. It is consistent with evidence using the World Values Surveys that female total work is relatively greater than men’s where both men and women believe that scarce jobs should be offered to men first.
    Keywords: time use, gender differences, household production, paid work
    JEL: J22 J16 D13
    Date: 2007–03
  14. By: Gert Cornelissen; Siegfried Dewitte; Luk Warlop
    Abstract: We studied the decision making process in the Dictator Game and showed that decisions are the result of a two-step process. In a first step, decision makers generate an automatic, intuitive proposal. Given sufficient motivation and cognitive resources, they adjust this in a second, more deliberated phase. In line with the social intuitionist model, we show that one’s Social Value Orientation determines intuitive choice tendencies in the first step, and that this effect is mediated by the dictator’s perceived interpersonal closeness with the receiver. Self-interested concerns subsequently lead to a reduction of donation size in step 2. Finally, we show that increasing interpersonal closeness can promote pro-social decision-making.
    Keywords: Dictator game; social dilemma; decision-making; two stage model; social value orientation, interpersonal closeness
    JEL: C91 D81
    Date: 2007–04
  15. By: Bjørnskov, Christian (Aarhus School of Business); Dreher, Axel (ETH Zurich, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, and CESifo); Fischer, Justina AV (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of gender discrimination on individual life satisfaction using a cross-section of 66 countries. We employ measures of discrimination of women in the economy, in politics, and in society more generally. According to our results, discrimination in politics is important to individual well-being. Overall, men and women are more satisfied with their lives when societies become more equal. Disaggregated analysis suggests that our results for men are driven by the effect of equality on men with middle and high incomes, and those on the political left. To the contrary, women are more satisfied with increasing equality independent of income and political ideology. Equality in economic and family matters does overall not affect life satisfaction. However, women are more satisfied with their lives when discriminatory practices have been less prevalent in the economy 20 years ago.
    Keywords: Gender gap; happiness; well-being; discrimination; life satisfaction
    JEL: I31 J16
    Date: 2007–04–08
  16. By: Bettina Klaus; Flip Klijn; Markus Walzl
    Abstract: We extend Jackson and Watts's (2002) result on the coincidence of S-stochastically stable and core stable networks from marriage problems to roommate problems. In particular, we show that the existence of a side-optimal core stable network, on which the proof of Jackson and Watts (2002) hinges, is not crucial for their result.
    Keywords: core, networks, roommate problems, stochastic stability
    JEL: C62 C78
    Date: 2007–04–13
  17. By: Cinzia Lorandini
    Abstract: This paper analyzes entrepreneurial behavior in the Ancient Regime and examines a particularly long-lived family business, the “Valentino e Isidoro Salvadori” firm, which operated in Trento for more than two centuries. The firm survived several generational transitions, it was engaged in many activities and partnerships, and it entered into an extensive network of Italian and Central-European operators. The Salvadori started as local shopkeepers and became merchant-entrepreneurs of international renown, involved at the same time in manufacturing, commercial, and financial activities, thus providing extensive material for a case study. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the strategies and the factors influencing the Salvadori’s entrepreneurial behavior in the seventeenth- and eighteenth centuries, taking into account the broader socio-economic, institutional, and cultural framework. After a long-period overview of the strategies adopted by the family, who started managing a diversified business and ended up specializing in the silk sector, a detailed analysis is devoted to the role of the family, the partnerships, and the network, paying particular attention to their impact on transaction costs, as well as on agency costs.
    Date: 2007
  18. By: John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
    Abstract: This paper may be the first to link the literatures on migration and on subjective well-being in developing countries. It poses the question: why do rural-urban migrant households settled in urban China have an average happiness score lower than that of rural households? Three basic hypotheses are examined: migrants had false expectations about their future urban conditions, or about their future urban aspirations, or about their future selves. Estimated happiness functions and decomposition analyses, based on a 2002 national household survey, indicate that certain features of migrant conditions make for unhappiness, and that their high aspirations in relation to achievement, influenced by reference groups, also make for unhappiness. It is difficult to form unbiased expectations about life in a new and different world.
    Keywords: Rural-urban migration, Subjective well-being, Happiness, Relative deprivation, Aspirations, China
    JEL: I32 O15
    Date: 2007
  19. By: Marco Faillo; Lorenzo Sacconi
    Date: 2007
  20. By: Shelly Lundberg (University of Washington, University of Bergen and IZA); Robert A. Pollak (Washington University in St. Louis, NBER, CESifo and IZA)
    Abstract: The twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Gary Becker’s path-breaking Treatise on the Family provides an occasion to reexamine both the American family and family economics. We begin by discussing how families have changed in recent decades: the separation of sex, marriage, and childbearing; fewer children and smaller households; converging work and education patterns for men and women; class divergence in partnering and parenting strategies; and the replacement of what had been family functions and home production by government programs and market transactions. After discussing recent work in family economics that attempts to explain these changes, we point out some challenging areas for further analysis, and highlight issues of commitment in two primary family relationships: those between men and women, and those between parents and children. We conclude by discussing the effectiveness of policies to target benefits to certain family members (e.g., children) or to promote marriage and fertility.
    Keywords: family, marriage, fertility
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2007–03

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