nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒08‒14
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Social interaction effects in an inter-generational model of informal care giving By Lisa Callegaro; Giacomo Pasini
  2. Social Identity and Preferences By Daniel J. Benjamin; James J. Choi; A. Joshua Strickland
  3. Complexity and innovation: social interactions and firm level total factor productivity By Antonelli Cristiano; Scellato Giuseppe
  4. Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School By Victor Lavy; Analía Schlosser
  5. Tipping as a strategic investment in service quality: An optimal-control analysis of repeated interactions in the service industry By Azar, Ofer H.; Tobol, Yossi
  6. Addiction, Social Interactions and Gender Differences in Cigarette Consumption By David Aristei; Luca Pieroni
  7. Migration, effort, and voter sentiment towards temporary migration By Alessandra Venturini; Gil S. Epstein
  8. Integration of migrants in Italy: A simple general and objective measure By Di Bartolomeo, Anna; Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni
  9. Estimating the Impact of Gubernatorial Partisanship on Policy Settings and Economic Outcomes: A Regression Discontinuity Approach By Andrew Leigh
  10. The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India By Robert Jensen; Emily Oster
  11. As bad as it gets: well being deprivation of sexually exploited trafficked women By Maria Laura Di Tommaso; I. Shima; S. Strøm; F. Bettio
  12. Inequality and Envy By Frank A Cowell; Udo Ebert
  13. Fair Trade By Martin Richardson; Frank Staehler

  1. By: Lisa Callegaro (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Giacomo Pasini (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari; Economics and Organization, School for Advanced Studies in Venice)
    Abstract: We study jointly the health perception of the elderly and the care giving decision of their adult children. Social interactions play a crucial role: elder parents' health perception depends on relations with household members. On the other hand adult children make their care giving decisions strategically, meaning that each of them considers his siblings' decision. We find empirical evidence which support this claim using the 2004 wave of the SHARE survey. We estimate social interaction effects by means of methods taken from the spatial econometric literature. Health perception relation with care giving depends on the determinants of adult children's decision to care: Parents' health may be modelled as a common good for parents and children; the latter's decision may be driven by bequest motives or by pure altruism and/or cultural values. We test implications of the model thanks to the unique features of the SHARE dataset: it is trans--national, allowing to control for cultural and institutional differences, it contains information on health status of over-50 Europeans and details on their social and intergenerational relations.
    Keywords: Insurance, Social SHARE, care giving, social interactions, health, aging
    JEL: L26
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; James J. Choi; A. Joshua Strickland
    Abstract: In two laboratory experiments, we examine whether norms associated with one's social identity affect time and risk preferences. When we make ethnic identity salient to Asian-American subjects, they make more patient choices. When we make race salient to black subjects, non-immigrant blacks (but not immigrant blacks) make more risk-averse choices. Making gender identity salient causes choices to conform to gender norms the subject believes are relatively more common. Our results provide evidence that identity effects play a role in shaping U.S. demographic patterns in economic behaviors and outcomes.
    JEL: C91 Z10
    Date: 2007–08
  3. By: Antonelli Cristiano (University of Turin); Scellato Giuseppe
    Abstract: The analysis of social interactions as drivers of economic dynamics represents a growing field of the economics of complexity. Social interactions are a specific form of interdependence whereby the changes in the behavior of other agents affect the structure of the utility functions for households and of the production functions for producers. In this paper, we apply the general concept of social interactions to the area of the economics of innovation and technological change. In particular, we discuss how both the knowledge spillovers literature and the Schumpeterian notion of creative reaction can be reconciled within a general framework building on the concept of social interactions within complex dynamics. The paper presents an empirical analysis of firm level total factor productivity (TFP) for a sample of 7020 Italian manufacturing companies observed during years 1996-2005. We show that changes in firm level TFP are significantly affected by localised social interactions. Such evidence is robust to the introduction of appropriate regional and sectoral controls, as well as to econometric specifications accounting for potential endogeneity problems. Moreover, we find evidence suggesting that changes in competitive pressure, namely the creative reaction channel, significantly affect firm level TFP with and additive effect with respect to localised social interactions deriving from knowledge spillovers.
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Victor Lavy; Analía Schlosser
    Abstract: The consequences of gender social and learning interactions in the classroom are of interest to parents, policy makers, and researchers. However, little is known about gender peer effects in schools and their operational channels. In this paper, we estimate the effects of classroom gender composition on scholastic achievements of boys and girls in Israeli primary, middle, and high schools and identify the mechanisms through which these peer effects are enacted. In particular, we examine whether gender peer effects work through changes in classroom learning and social environment, teaching methods and pedagogy, and teacher burnout and work satisfaction. In assessing these mechanisms, we distinguish between the effects generated by changes in the classroom gender composition and those generated by changes in the behavior of students. To control for potentially confounding unobserved characteristics of schools and students that might be correlated with peer gender composition, we rely on idiosyncratic variations in gender composition across adjacent cohorts within the same schools. Our results suggest that an increase in the proportion of girls leads to a significant improvement in students' cognitive outcomes. The estimated effects are of similar magnitude for boys and girls. As important mechanisms, we find that a higher proportion of female peers lowers the level of classroom disruption and violence, improves inter-student and student-teacher relationships as well as students' overall satisfaction in school, and lessens teachers' fatigue. We find, however, no effect on individual behavior of boys or girls, which suggests that the positive peer effects of girls on classroom environment are due mostly to compositional change, namely due to having more girls in the classroom and not due to improved behavior of peers.
    JEL: I2 I21 J16
    Date: 2007–08
  5. By: Azar, Ofer H.; Tobol, Yossi
    Abstract: We present an optimal-control model where tipping behavior creates reputation that affects future service. Tipping and reputation can evolve in four path prototypes: converging to an interior equilibrium; converging to minimum tips and reputation; and two prototypes that start differently but end with tips and reputation increasing indefinitely. Analyzing the interior equilibrium suggests that when reputation erodes more quickly (capturing lower patronage frequency), equilibrium reputation is lower. Interestingly, however, tips may be higher. Increasing the minimal tip raises tips by the same increase, and does not change reputation. A more patient customer leaves higher tips and reaches a higher reputation.
    Keywords: Tipping; Service Industry; Behavioral Economics; Social Norms; Service Quality
    JEL: C61 Z13 D11 L83
    Date: 2006
  6. By: David Aristei (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Luca Pieroni (Department of Economics, Finance and Statistics (University of Perugia))
    Abstract: This paper addresses the impact of addiction and social interactions on cigarette demand, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors. A Box-Cox double-hurdle model for the simultaneous decisions of how much to smoke and whether to quit smoking is estimated on individual data from the 2000 Italian “Health Status and Use of Health Services” survey. The model incorporates the fixed costs of quitting and allows for the analysis of the effects of addiction and within-household interactions on smoking participation and cigarette consumption. Estimation results show that the duration of the smoking habit, used as measure of addiction, significantly increases the level of cigarette consumption and lowers the probability of quitting. Within-household social interactions affect individual’s attitude toward smoking. Participation decision is significantly influenced by the presence of other smokers and individual cigarette consumption increases as the consumption of the peer-group grows. Finally, gender differences are formally tested to verify whether male and female sub-samples can be pooled or should be separately analyzed. The hypothesis of equal consumption parameters is clearly rejected, suggesting the opportunity of distinguishing the consumption patterns of men and women.
    Keywords: cigarette consumption, social interactions, gender effects, double-hurdle models.
    JEL: C24 D12 J16
    Date: 2007–06
  7. By: Alessandra Venturini; Gil S. Epstein
    Abstract: The sentiments felt by capital owners and local workers and consumers towards migrants may improve when temporary migration policies are adopted. The observed level of exertion of effort by migrants, which decreases during their duration in the host country, positively affects production, real wages and capital owners' profits. We show that the acceptance of job offers by migrants results in the displacement in employment of national workers by immigrants, but it increases the exertion of effort by workers, reduces prices, and acts as a counterweight to anti-immigrant voter attitudes.
    Keywords: migration, effort, voter, migration
    JEL: J1 J10 R23
    Date: 2006–10
  8. By: Di Bartolomeo, Anna; Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni
    Abstract: Measuring migrants’ integration into host societies is a challenging task as, in general, measuring any social behavior and social phenomena. The task is affected by many specific problems related to the definition of the objective of study and the impact of subjective evaluations in the construction of an index. Our study aims to provide a measure of integration as much as possible general and objective. More in details, first, we consider some different general aspects of the integration problem related to migrants’ polarization, cultural diversification, social stability, integration in the labor market. Second, we aggregate them in a synthetic linear index, which is rather objective since the weights are computed by only considering the statistical properties of our dataset, i.e. choosing those weights that minimize the information loss in terms of data variances/co-variances.
    Keywords: Migrations; migrants’ integration; regional index; principal component analysis.
    JEL: J15 R10 J10 J18
    Date: 2007–04
  9. By: Andrew Leigh
    Abstract: Using panel data from US states over the period 1941-2002, I measure the impact of gubernatorial partisanship on a wide range of different policy settings and economic outcomes. Across 32 measures, there are surprisingly few differences in policy settings, social outcomes and economic outcomes under Democrat and Republican Governors. In terms of policies, Democratic Governors tend to prefer slightly higher minimum wages. Under Republican Governors, incarceration rates are higher, while welfare caseloads are higher under Democratic Governors. In terms of social and economic outcomes, Democratic Governors tend to preside over higher median post-tax income, lower posttax inequality, and lower unemployment rates. However, for 26 of the 32 dependent variables, gubernatorial partisanship does not have a statistically significant impact on policy outcomes and social welfare. I find no evidence of gubernatorial partisan differences in tax rates, welfare generosity, the number of government employees or their salaries, state revenue, incarceration rates, execution rates, pre-tax incomes and inequality, crime rates, suicide rates, and test scores. These results are robust to the use of regression discontinuity estimation, to take account of the possibility of reverse causality. Overall, it seems that Governors behave in a fairly non-ideological manner.
    Keywords: median voter theorem, partisanship, state government, taxation, expenditure, welfare, crime, growth
    JEL: D72 D78 H71 H72 I38
    Date: 2007–06
  10. By: Robert Jensen; Emily Oster
    Abstract: Cable and satellite television have grown rapidly throughout the developing world. The availability of cable and satellite television exposes viewers to new information about the outside world, which may affect individual attitudes and behaviors. This paper explores the effect of the introduction of cable television on gender attitudes in rural India. Using a three-year individual-level panel dataset, we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with improvements in women's status. We find significant increases in reported autonomy, decreases in the reported acceptability of beating and decreases in reported son preference. We also find increases in female school enrollment and decreases in fertility (primarily via increased birth spacing). The effects are large, equivalent in some cases to about five years of education in the cross section, and move gender attitudes of individuals in rural areas much closer to those in urban areas. We argue that the results are not driven by pre-existing differential trends. These results have important policy implications, as India and other countries attempt to decrease bias against women.
    JEL: J13 J16 O12 O33
    Date: 2007–08
  11. By: Maria Laura Di Tommaso; I. Shima; S. Strøm; F. Bettio
    Abstract: The International Organization for Migration has collected data on trafficked individuals. The aim of this paper is to use the sub-sample of sexually exploited women in order to explore the relationship between their well being deprivation, their personal characteristics, and their working locations. We use the theoretical framework of the capability approach to conceptualize well being deprivation and we estimate a MIMIC (Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes) model. The utilized indicators measure abuse, freedom of movement, and access to medical care. This model also allows us to estimate the effects of some covariates on this measure of well being.
    Keywords: Structural equation models, well being, capability approach, trafficking, Eastern and Western European countries
    JEL: J16 C35 I32 O15
    Date: 2007–04
  12. By: Frank A Cowell; Udo Ebert
    Abstract: Using a simple axiomatic structure we characterise two classes ofinequality indices - absolute and relative - that take into account "envy"in the income distribution. The concept of envy incorporated hereconcerns the distance of each person's income from his or herimmediately richer neighbour. This is shown to be similar to justiceconcepts based on income relativities.
    Keywords: Inequality, envy, transfer principle.
    JEL: D63
    Date: 2006–12
  13. By: Martin Richardson; Frank Staehler
    Abstract: This paper deals with the behavior of fair trade organizations in an oligopolistic setting in which the vertically integrated fair trade firm produces a commodity which is a weak substitute for another commodity. Profit-maximizing oligopolists are vertically disintegrated and produce for both markets and the fair trade firm can charge a premium to consumers due to a "warm glow effect" that depends on the wage paid to fair trade producers. We show that trade integration will unambiguously increase the size of the fair trade firm. However, the relative size compared to oligopolists shrinks with integration. The effect of a change in substitutability between the two commodities on markets shares depends on the relative market potential. Furthermore, we show that the warm glow effect does not support an expansion of the volume of fair trade.
    JEL: F12
    Date: 2007–06

This nep-soc issue is ©2007 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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