nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒08‒08
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Social Attitudes and Economic Development: An Epidemiological Approach By Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc
  2. Trust and Growth By Oguzhan Dincer; Eric Uslaner
  3. Minorities, Social Capital and Voting By Pieter Bevelander; Ravi Pendakur
  4. Public Goods Provision and Sanctioning in Privileged Groups By Ernesto Reuben; Arno Riedl
  5. Testing Theories of Reciprocity: Do Motivations Matter? By Luca Stanca; Luigino Bruni; Luca Corazzini
  6. The glue of the economic system: the effect of relational goods on trust and trustworthiness. By Leonardo Becchetti; Giacomo Degli Antoni; Marco Faillo; Luigi Mittone
  7. The Stability of Exchange Networks By Gönül Dogan; M.A.L.M. van Assen; Arnout van de Rijt; Vincent Buskens
  8. Happily Ever After? Religion, Marital Status, Gender, and Relationship Quality in Urban Families By Nicholas H. Wolfinger; W. Bradford Wilcox
  9. Volunteer Work, Informal Help, and Care among the 50+ in Europe: Further Evidence for ‘Linked’ Productive Activities at Older Ages By Karsten Hank; Stephanie Stuck
  10. Parenting Practices of Resident Fathers: The Role of Marital and Biological Ties By Lawrence M. Berger; Marcia J. Carlson; Sharon H. Bzostek; Cynthia Osborne
  11. Has there been any Social Mobility for Non-Whites in Brazil? By Rafael Guerreiro Osório
  12. Neighborhood Socioeconomic Disadvantage, Residential Stability, and Perceptions of Social Support among New Mothers By Kristin Turney; Kristen Harknett
  13. Competition, Cooperation, and Corporate Culture By Michael Kosfeld; Ferdinand von Siemens
  14. Bendito Amor: Religion and Relationships among Married and Unmarried Latinos in Urban America By W. Bradford Wilcox; Edwin I. Hernández
  15. Human Rights and Public Opinion: From Attitudes to Action By Shareen Hertel; Lyle Scruggs; C. Patrick Heidkamp
  16. The determinants of economic growth in emerging economies: a comparative analysis By Pasquale Tridico

  1. By: Yann Algan (Université Marne la Vallée, CEPREMAP and IZA); Pierre Cahuc (University Paris 1, CREST-INSEE, CEPR and IZA)
    Abstract: In this paper we develop a new empirical approach to uncovering the impact of social attitudes on economic development. We first show that trust of second-generation Americans is significantly influenced by the country of origin of their forebears. In the spirit of the epidemiology literature, we interpret this phenomenon as the consequence of inherited social attitudes. We show that trust inherited by second-generation Americans from their country of origins has changed over time. This result allows us to use the inherited trust of secondgeneration Americans as a time-varying instrument to track back the evolution of trust in the home country of their parents. This strategy enables us to identify the specific impact of inherited trust on economic development relative to other traditional candidates, such as institutions and geography, by controlling for country fixed effects. We find that inherited trust has explained a substantial share of economic development on a sample of 30 countries during the post-war period, by improving total factor productivity and the accumulation of human and physical capital.
    Keywords: social capital, trust, economic development, growth
    JEL: O10 F10 P10 N13
    Date: 2007–07
  2. By: Oguzhan Dincer (Illinois State University); Eric Uslaner (University of Maryland-College Park)
    Abstract: Using data from US states, we find a positive relationship between trust and growth. According to our results, a 10 percentage point increase in trust increases the growth rate of per capita income by 0.5 percentage point, growth rate of housing prices by 1.25 percentage points, and the growth rate of employment by 2.5 percentage points over a decade.
    Keywords: Trust, Economic Growth
    JEL: Z13 R11
    Date: 2007–07
  3. By: Pieter Bevelander (IMER, Malmö University and IZA); Ravi Pendakur (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: It is widely held that voter turnout among immigrants and ethnic minorities is lower than among the native born. The goal of our paper is to explore the determinants of voting, comparing immigrant, minority and majority citizens in Canada. We use the 2002 wave of the Equality Security Community Survey to explore the relationship between personal characteristics (age, sex, education, and household type) work characteristics, social capital attributes (trust in government, belonging, civic awareness and interaction with others) and ethnic characteristics (ethnic origin, place of birth and religion) and voting. We find that the combination of socio-demographic and social capital attributes largely overrides the impact of immigration and ethnicity. This suggests that it is not the minority attribute that impacts voting. Rather it is age, level of schooling and level of civic engagement which effects voting, both federal and provincial.
    Keywords: political participation, immigrants, ethnic minorities, voting behaviour, social capital
    JEL: D72 J15 J61
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Ernesto Reuben (Northwestern University); Arno Riedl (Maastricht University, CESifo and IZA)
    Abstract: In public good provision, privileged groups enjoy the advantage that some of its members find it optimal to supply a positive amount of the public good. However, their inherent asymmetric nature may make the enforcement of cooperative behavior through informal sanctioning harder to accomplish. In this paper we experimentally investigate public good provision in normal and privileged groups with and without decentralized punishment. We find that compared to normal groups, privileged groups are relatively ineffective in using costly sanctions to increase everyone's contributions. Punishment is less targeted towards strong free-riders and they exhibit a weaker increase in contributions after being punished. Thus, we show that privileged groups are not as privileged as they initially seem.
    Keywords: privileged groups, public goods, punishment, cooperation, collective action
    JEL: H41 D01 C92 Z13
    Date: 2007–07
  5. By: Luca Stanca (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca); Luigino Bruni (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca); Luca Corazzini (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)
    Abstract: One of the key issues for understanding reciprocity is how people evaluate the kindness of an action. In this paper we argue that the motivation driving an action plays an important role for the reciprocating response to that action. We test experimentally the hypothesis that reciprocal behavior is stronger in response to actions driven by intrinsic motivation, as opposed to extrinsic motivation. Our results indicate that reciprocity is significantly stronger when extrinsic motivation can be ruled out, both at the aggregate and the individual level. These findings suggest that models of reciprocal behavior should take into account not only outcomes but also intentions and, in particular, motivations: the type of motivation of an action matters for its perceived kindness and, as a consequence, for reciprocity.
    Keywords: Reciprocity, Intrinsic Motivation, Laboratory Experiments
    JEL: D63 C78 C91
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Leonardo Becchetti; Giacomo Degli Antoni; Marco Faillo; Luigi Mittone
    Abstract: The role of “relational goods” is almost unexplored in the literature, yet our experimental results document that, even in their weakest form (opportunity of meeting an unknown player at the end of an experimental game), they significantly affect important “lubricants” of economic activity such as trust and trustworthiness and generate significant departures from the standard Nash equilibrium outcome in trust (investment) games. Our findings suggest that relational goods are an important “source of energy” in economic interactions and that the study of this “neglected particle” of socioeconomic life may produce significant advancements on both positive and normative economics.
    Keywords: relational goods, trust, experimental games
    JEL: C72 C91 A13
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Gönül Dogan (Tilburg University); M.A.L.M. van Assen (Tilburg University); Arnout van de Rijt (Cornell University); Vincent Buskens (Utrecht University)
    Abstract: This paper develops a formal model of exchange network stability that combines expected value theory (Friedkin 1995) with the economic literature on network dynamics. We identify stable networks up to size 8 for varying costs and investigate whether they are Pareto efficient and egalitarian. Only a very small number of networks are stable. Odd cycles and networks consisting of dyads and at most one isolate are the only egalitarian, efficient, and stable networks for a large cost range. We show that some of these results are generalizable to networks of any size and are independent of using expected value theory.
    Keywords: Exchange Networks, Stability, Efficiency, Equity, Social Dilemma
    JEL: D85
    Date: 2007–06
  8. By: Nicholas H. Wolfinger (University of Utah); W. Bradford Wilcox (University of Virginia)
    Abstract: Research indicates that religious participation is correlated with marital satisfaction. Less is known about whether religion also benefits participants in nonmarital, intimate relationships, or whether religious effects on relationships vary by gender. Using data from the first three waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that religious participation by fathers, irrespective of marital status, is consistently associated with high quality relationships among new parents in urban America; however, maternal attendance is not associated with better relationship quality. Our results suggest that religious effects on relationships vary more by gender than they do by marital status. We conclude that men’s investments in relationships depend more on the institutional contexts of those relationships, such as participation in formal religion, than do women’s investments.
    Date: 2007–03
  9. By: Karsten Hank; Stephanie Stuck (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA))
    Abstract: Taking a cross-national perspective, we investigate linkages between volunteer work, informal help, and care among Europeans aged 50 or older. Based on 27,305 personal interviews from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we estimate univariate and multivariate probit models, which allow us to analyze the interrelationship between different productive activities. There is substantial variation in the participation in volunteering, helping, and caring between countries and regions. Independent of the general level of activity in a country, we find evidence for a complementary and interdependent relationship between all three activities. Our findings not only suggest an important role of societal opportunity structures in elders‟ productive engagement, but also support notions of the existence of a general motivation for engagement in productive activities.
    Date: 2007–07–17
  10. By: Lawrence M. Berger (University of Wisconsin, Madison); Marcia J. Carlson (Columbia University); Sharon H. Bzostek (Princeton University); Cynthia Osborne (University of Texas, Austin)
    Abstract: This paper uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine differences in the parenting behaviors of resident biological and social fathers on measures of engagement, shared responsibility, and cooperation in parenting. Regression, difference-in-difference, and decomposition techniques are used. Results suggest that biological and social fathers differ significantly on most parenting measures (and in some unexpected ways), but that a considerable portion of these differences can be explained by differences in the background characteristics of the individuals and families in each group. Additionally, the analyses reveal a stronger link between marriage and higher-quality parenting behaviors for social-father families than for biological-father families.
    Date: 2007–01
  11. By: Rafael Guerreiro Osório (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: .
    Keywords: Poverty, Social Mobility, Non-Whites, Brazil
    Date: 2007–01
  12. By: Kristin Turney (University of Pennsylvania); Kristen Harknett (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Neighborhoods are important sites for the formation and development of social ties. In theory, living in a disadvantaged neighborhood may be associated with lacking social support. We investigate this hypothesis among mothers of young children using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study (N=4,211). We find that mothers in disadvantaged neighborhoods, compared with their counterparts in better neighborhoods, are less likely to have a safety net of friends or family to rely on for monetary or housing assistance. We also find that residential stability is associated with stronger personal safety nets. For mothers who move when their children are young, moving to a better neighborhood seems to have little effect on their perceived instrumental support, but moving to a more disadvantaged neighborhood is associated with a decline in instrumental support.
    Date: 2007–02
  13. By: Michael Kosfeld (University of Zurich and IZA); Ferdinand von Siemens (University of Munich)
    Abstract: Teamwork and cooperation between workers can be of substantial value to a firm, yet the level of worker cooperation often varies between individual firms. We show that these differences can be the result of labor market competition if workers have heterogeneous preferences and preferences are private information. In our model there are two types of workers: selfish workers who only respond to monetary incentives, and conditionally cooperative workers who might voluntarily provide team work if their co-workers do the same. We show that there is no pooling in equilibrium, and that workers self-select into firms that differ in their incentives as well as their resulting level of team work. Our model can explain why firms develop different corporate cultures in an ex-ante symmetric environment. Moreover, the results show that, contrary to first intuition, labor market competition does not destroy but may indeed foster within-firm cooperation.
    Keywords: competition, conditional cooperation, asymmetric information, self-selection, corporate culture
    JEL: D23 D82 L23 M54
    Date: 2007–07
  14. By: W. Bradford Wilcox (University of Virginia); Edwin I. Hernández (University of Notre Dame)
    Abstract: The family arrangements of Latinos in the U.S. are increasingly diverse, with growing numbers of Latino children living in households headed by married and unmarried parents. Latinos also tend to be more religious than the population at large. Yet no research has examined the associations between religion and relationship quality among married and unmarried Latinos. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, which focuses on new parents in urban America, we find that the religious attendance of Latino fathers promotes higher-quality relationships among both fathers and mothers; by contrast, the effect of maternal attendance on relationship quality is insignificant or negative.
    Date: 2007–01
  15. By: Shareen Hertel (University of Connecticut); Lyle Scruggs (University of Connecticut); C. Patrick Heidkamp (Southern Connecticut State University)
    Abstract: How does the American public understand basic human rights issues -- and what, if anything, are they willing to do to promote such rights? This article analyzes data from a 2006 national public opinion survey on human rights conducted by the authors. We explore how the American public understands three basic human rights that have not previously been included together in a single survey: the right not to be tortured, the right to freedom of thought and expression, and the right to a minimum guaranteed standard of living. We then assess respondents' willingness to promote, through their personal actions, the right to a guaranteed minimum standard of living -- specifically, by purchasing "sweat-free" and/or "fair trade" products. We find public acceptance of a broad range of rights as inviolable human rights, and a strong association between willingness to pay more for both types of ethical consumption.
    Keywords: : human rights, public opinion, sweatshops, fair trade
    Date: 2007–07
  16. By: Pasquale Tridico
    Abstract: Abstract. Over the past decade, most emerging and transition economies are experiencing fast growth, which is above the world average, and a consistent institutional change. The aim of this paper is twofold. First of all, a cross-country analysis of a group of emerging and transition economies in the period 1999-2005 will be carried out in order to understand what determines such growth among these countries. Secondly, a comparative analysis will be carried out. The countries will be classified according to their socio-economic models and institutional variables. Countries will be classified by taking their financial structures and ownership control over firms into consideration (Levine and Kunt, 1999; La Porta et. al., 1999), and we will investigate whether institutions and the type of socio-economic model may have an impact on growth. The central hypothesis of the paper is that explaining economic growth is a complex issue which needs positive interaction of several socio-economic and institutional factors. My analysis suggests that countries can grow with their own “style of capitalism” and economic model, and the determinants of economic growth seem to be the ability of each country to associate appropriate governance and institutions with education level, export activity and non-income dimensions of human development (life expectancy growth and infant mortality reduction). In fact, countries which experienced an increase in non-income dimensions of human development during 1970-2000,as a consequence of appropriate institutions, have sustained economic growth.
    Keywords: economic growth, institutions, human development
    JEL: F43 O43 G32 I31
    Date: 2007–06

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