nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒09‒09
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Strategic Interaction in the Sex Market By Morrow, John; Sivan, Yoav
  2. The Role of Religious and Social Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged Youth By Rajeev Dehejia; Thomas DeLeire; Erzo F.P. Luttmer; Joshua Mitchell
  3. The "Muslim Factor" and the Future of "Integration Policy" in Europe. By Tausch, Arno; Bischof, Christian; Mueller, Karl
  4. Fiscal Discipline as a Social Norm: The European Stability Pact By Jean-Paul Fitoussi; Francesco Saraceno
  5. Explaining Gift Behavior: Altruism or Social Norms? Theory and Evidence from Romania By Mitrut, Andreea; Nordblom, Katarina
  6. What Norms Trigger Punishment By Jeffrey Carpenter; Peter Hans Matthews
  7. Action, Function, & Structure; Interpreting Network Effects on Behavior in Rural Malawi By Guy Stecklov; Alejandro Alexander Weinreb
  8. Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: A Theoretical Perspective By Thomas P. Lyon; John W. Maxwell
  9. Migrant Entrepreneurship In A Diverse Europe: In Search Of Sustainable Development By Baycan-Levent, Tuzin; Nijkamp, Peter
  10. Incentives, Solidarity, and the Division of Labor By Michael T. Rauh
  11. Can Sustainable Consumption Be Learned? By G. Buenstorf; C. Cordes
  12. Culture as Learning: The Evolution of Female Labor Force Participation over a Century By Raquel Fernandez

  1. By: Morrow, John; Sivan, Yoav
    Abstract: There have been few attempts to empirically explain the pursuit of short term relationships and sex in a formal context. Previous work has lamented the paucity of empirical studies which utilize incentive driven behavior to draw conclusions and recommend policy. We develop a model of social network formation through sexual matching, provide an empirical approach derived from the model and apply it to a population of high interest. Specifically, we apply the approach to a population of sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM) in a large metropolitan area and derive qualitative conclusions regarding how individuals behave in the marketplace for sex.
    Keywords: sex; matching; dating; mating; social networks; network formation
    JEL: D02 C78
    Date: 2006–01–31
  2. By: Rajeev Dehejia; Thomas DeLeire; Erzo F.P. Luttmer; Joshua Mitchell
    Abstract: This paper examines whether participation in religious or other social organizations can help offset the negative effects of growing up in a disadvantaged environment. Using the National Survey of Families and Households, we collect measures of disadvantage as well as parental involvement with religious and other social organizations when the youth were ages 3 to 19 and we observe their outcomes 13 to 15 years later. We consider a range of definitions of disadvantage in childhood (family income and poverty measures, family characteristics including parental education, and child characteristics including parental assessments of the child) and a range of outcome measures in adulthood (including education, income, and measures of health and psychological wellbeing). Overall, we find strong evidence that youth with religiously active parents are less affected later in life by childhood disadvantage than youth whose parents did not frequently attend religious services. These buffering effects of religious organizations are most pronounced when outcomes are measured by high school graduation or non-smoking and when disadvantage is measured by family resources or maternal education, but we also find buffering effects for a number of other outcome-disadvantage pairs. We generally find much weaker buffering effects for other social organizations.
    JEL: D10 I30 J62 Z12
    Date: 2007–09
  3. By: Tausch, Arno; Bischof, Christian; Mueller, Karl
    Abstract: This paper systematically evaluates the freely available data, contained in the European Social Survey and other international, open sources, on the problems of internal security and social policy in Europe for the Muslim and the non-Muslim populations in Europe. It is the attempt to try to present an interpretation pattern for the complex reality of poverty; social exclusion, religious and societal values, and day to day contact of different population groups in Europe with the law. A variety of results and methods are presented – aggregations of survey results at the national level, cross-national comparisons of these survey results with cross-national political science data; factor analyses of the opinion and civic culture structure of the totality of Muslims and non-Muslims in all of Europe, multiple regressions of the determinants of their trust in the police, in democracy, and in personal happiness, and a re-linking of the “Muslim Calvinist” results with new global level data about migration, Islam, and national well-being. At the end of this exercise of quantitative political science, Tausch and associates arrive at the conclusion that Islamophobia is baseless, and that European Muslims; above all, deserve economic freedom, markets and respect.
    Keywords: C2 - Single Equation Models; Single Variables; C43 - Index Numbers and Aggregation; D31 - Personal Income; Wealth; and Their Distributions; F02 - International Economic Order; F15 - Economic Integration; F5 - International Relations and International Political Economy; H11 - Structure; Scope; and Performance of Government; H2 - Taxation; Subsidies; and Revenue; H26 - Tax Evasion; J70 - General - Labor Discrimination; O10 – General - Economic Development; O17 - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements; O57 - Comparative Studies of Countries; Z12 - Religion
    JEL: Z12
    Date: 2007
  4. By: Jean-Paul Fitoussi (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques); Francesco Saraceno (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the arguments for and against the ‘Stability and Growth Pact’ signed by the countries of the Euro area. We find the theoretical debate to be inconclusive, as both externality and credibility arguments can be used to yield opposite, and equally plausible conclusions. We also argue that evidence in favour of a Pact-like rule is scant. We therefore suggest the view that the Stability Pact is a public social norm, and that a country’s adherence to that norm is in fact a response to the need to preserve reputation among the other members of the European Union. Using this extreme but not implausible hypothesis, we build a simple model similar in spirit to Akerlof’s (1980) seminal paper on social norms, and we show that reputation issues may cause the emergence of a stable but inferior equilibrium. We further show that after the enlargement, with a number of countries anxious to prove their ‘soundness’ joining the club, the problems posed by the pact/social norm are likely to increase.
    Keywords: Stability Pact, Fiscal Rules, Fiscal Policy, Social Norms, Reputation, Enlargement
    JEL: D63 D71 E62 E63
    Date: 2007
  5. By: Mitrut, Andreea (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Nordblom, Katarina (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the motives behind inter-household gift transfers. A theoretical model is developed where, besides altruistic income redistribution, social norms (related to e.g. customs and traditions) motivate gift giving. We apply the model to Romania, a country where private gifts are very important, and find evidence for social norms being the main motive for gift giving. However, different norms determine gift transfers to poor and non-poor households. Moreover, we find no crowding-out effects from public pensions on private gifts.<p>
    Keywords: Transfers; altruism; reciprocity; Romania; social norms
    JEL: D10 H55 I30 J14 R20 Z13
    Date: 2007–09–04
  6. By: Jeffrey Carpenter; Peter Hans Matthews
    Abstract: Many experiments have demonstrated the power of norm enforcement-peer monitoring and punishment-to maintain, or even increase, contributions in social dilemma settings, but little is known about the underlying norms that monitors use to make punishment decisions. Using a large sample of experimental data, we empirically recover the set of norms used most often by monitors and show ?rst that the decision to punish should be modeled separately from the decision of how much to punish. Second, we show that absolute norms often ?t the data better than the group average norm often assumed in related work. Third, we ?nd that di?erent norms seem to in?uence the decisions about punishing violators inside and outside one’s own group.
    Keywords: public good, experiment, punishment, social norm, norm enforcement.
    JEL: C72 C92 H41
    Date: 2007–08
  7. By: Guy Stecklov (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization); Alejandro Alexander Weinreb (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)
    Abstract: A long series of ethnographic and sociological studies on kinship systems and information flows in developing societies has portrayed networks as varying structurally, serving multiple functions, and expressing themselves in different types of interaction. Little of this earlier work has informed empirical research in demography or development-related research. In stead, the latter operationalize social networks in relatively narrow ways, allowing for little overlap between multiple networks, and focusing on a subset of potential causal mechanisms. In an effort to pull the empirical literature closer to its qualitative forbearer, we use data from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideation Change Project to test how conversation networks and transfer networks overlap. We offer some predictions regarding how these overlapping networks might individually or jointly influence distinct outcome including ownership of livestock, planning innovative crops and HIV testing. Our sample of women from Malawi, interviewed in 3 rounds across a 6-year period, also enables us to question the inter-temporal stability of network effects. Our findings highlight: (a) how networks based on different actions appear nonetheless consistent with diverse behavioral outcomes; (b) how there is relatively little overlap between conversational and transfer networks; and (c) how there is considerable instability in temporal effects of conversational networks.
    Keywords: Agricultural innovation, social networks, risk diversification, HIV testing.
    JEL: J1 O1 O3 D8 D85
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Thomas P. Lyon (Ross School of Business, University of Michigan); John W. Maxwell (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)
    Abstract: We survey the growing theoretical literature on the motives for and welfare effects of corporate greening. We show how both market and political forces are making environmental CSR profitable, and we also discuss morally-motivated or altruistic CSR. Welfare effects of CSR are subtle and situation-contingent, and there is no guarantee that CSR enhances social welfare. We identify numerous areas in which additional theoretical work is needed.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility, environment, self-regulation, preemption, private politics
    JEL: Q58 D51
    Date: 2007
  9. By: Baycan-Levent, Tuzin (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Nijkamp, Peter
    Abstract: This paper aims to emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship for the European innovation system and addresses in particular the opportunities offered by migrant (or ethnic) entrepreneurship. After a concise review of the European ‘entrepreneurial economy’, the economic significance of self-employment is highlighted. It is argued that migrant entrepreneurship offers many possibilities for coping with socio-cultural diversity and may contribute to a sustainable socio-economic development. Several data are presented to support these views, while the paper also offers promising policy guidelines.
    Date: 2007
  10. By: Michael T. Rauh (Department of Finance, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)
    Abstract: In this paper, we consider a version of the Holmstr¨om-Milgrom linear model with two tasks, production and administration, where performance is harder to measure in the latter. Both the principal and agent can devote effort to these tasks. We assume there are gains from specialization and that players have a preference for solidarity in work. As the gains from specialization increase, the principal eventually prefers to hire the agent solely for production purposes over autarky. As these gains increase still further, the principal increasingly specializes in administration and in the limit there is a complete division of labor. At the same time, the nature of the employment contract is transformed from one based on solidarity to one based on incentives. We therefore formalize aspects of the thought of Smith and Marx, who held that a division of labor leads to exchange and a deterioration in social relations.
    Keywords: alienation, cooperation, division of labor, incentives, Marxism, reciprocity, solidarity
    JEL: B12 B14 D86 L23 M52
    Date: 2007–08
  11. By: G. Buenstorf; C. Cordes
    Abstract: This paper shows how sustainable consumption patterns can spread within a population via processes of social learning even though a strong individual learning bias may favor environmentally harmful products. We present a model depicting how the biased transmission of different behaviors via individual and social learning influences agents’ consumption behavior. The underlying learning biases can be traced back to evolved cognitive dispositions. Challenging the vision of a permanent transition toward sustainability, we argue that “green†consumption patterns are not self-reinforcing and cannot be “locked in†permanently.
    Keywords: Length 28 pages
    Date: 2007–08
  12. By: Raquel Fernandez
    Abstract: Married women's labor force participation has increased dramatically over the last century. Why this has occurred has been the subject of much debate. This paper investigates the role of culture as learning in this change. To do so, it develops a dynamic model of culture in which individuals hold heterogeneous beliefs regarding the relative long-run payoffs for women who work in the market versus the home. These beliefs evolve rationally via an intergenerational learning process. Women are assumed to learn about the long-term payoffs of working by observing (noisy) private and public signals. They then make a work decision. This process generically generates an S-shaped figure for female labor force participation, which is what is found in the data. The S shape results from the dynamics of learning. I calibrate the model to several key statistics and show that it does a good job in replicating the quantitative evolution of female LFP in the US over the last 120 years. The model highlights a new dynamic role for changes in wages via their effect on intergenerational learning. The calibration shows that this role was quantitatively important in several decades.
    JEL: E2 J21 Z1
    Date: 2007–09

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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