nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒09‒24
twenty papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Why Volunteer? Evidence on the Role of Altruism, Reputation, and Incentives By Jeffrey Carpenter; Caitlin Knowles Myers
  2. Cultural Assimilation, Cultural Diffusion and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations By Ashraf, Quamrul; Galor, Oded
  3. The glue of the economic system: the effect of relational goods on trust and trustworthiness By BECCHETTI LEONARDO; DEGLI ANTONI GIACOMO; FAILLO MARCO; MITTONE LUIGI
  4. Sociability, relational goods and happiness By BECCHETTI LEONARDO; PELLONI ALESSANDRA; ROSSETTI FIAMMETTA
  5. Labor Supply with Social Interactions: Econometric Estimates and Their Tax Policy Implications By Andrew Grodner; Thomas J. Kniesner
  6. Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behavior By Amelie Constant; Klaus F. Zimmermann
  7. Are cooperators effciency- or fair-minded? Evidence from a public goods experiment By M. Vittoria Levati; Matteo Ploner; Stefan Traub
  8. Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle By Alison L. Booth; Jan C. van Ours
  9. Impact of Initial-Trust Image on Shopper Trust and Patronage Intentions By Kaul Subhashini; Sahay Arvind; Koshy Abraham
  10. DOES MICROFINANCE EMPOWER WOMEN? Evidence from Self Help Groups in India By Bali Swain, Ranjula; Wallentin, Fan Yang
  11. Trust and Reciprocity: Implications of Game Triads and Social Contexts By James C. Cox
  12. Trust in cooperation or ability? An experimental study on gender differences By Christiane Schwieren; Matthias Sutter
  13. Lavish Returns on Cheap Talk: Non-binding Communication in a Trust Experiment By Avner Ben-Ner; Louis Putterman; Ting Ren
  14. Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy By Pedro Dal Bo; Andrew Foster; Louis Putterman
  15. Intergenerational Mobility of Migrants : Is There a Gender Gap? By Chen, Natalie; Conconi, Paola; Perroni, Carlo
  16. Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field By Stefano DellaVigna
  17. Differentiated Networks: Equilibrium and Efficiency By Rossella Argenziano
  18. Ethnicity and obesity: evidence of implicit work performance stereotypes in Sweden By Jens, Agerström; Carlsson, Rickard; Rooth, Dan-Olof
  19. Cross-Nativity Marriages, Gender, and Human Capital Levels of Children By Delia Furtado
  20. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the happiest of them all? By Benno Torgler; Nemanja Antica; Uwe Dulleck

  1. By: Jeffrey Carpenter (Middlebury College and IZA); Caitlin Knowles Myers (Middlebury College and IZA)
    Abstract: Volunteering plays a prominent role in the charitable provision of goods and services, yet we know relatively little about why people engage in such prosocial acts. The list of possible motivations is long, but recent research has focused on altruism, reputational concerns, and material incentives. We present an analysis of a unique data set that combines an experimental measure of altruism, surveyed measures of other factors including reputational concerns, and call records from volunteer firefighters that provide an objective measure of the hours volunteered. Controlling for a variety of other explanations, we find that altruism and reputational concerns are positively associated with the decision to volunteer. Moreover, by utilizing variation in the presence and level of small stipends paid to the firefighters, we find that the positive effect of monetary incentives declines with reputational concerns, supporting a prediction that extrinsic incentives can crowd out prosocial behavior.
    Keywords: volunteer, altruism, reputation, firefighter
    JEL: C93 D12 J22 D64 D82
    Date: 2007–08
  2. By: Ashraf, Quamrul; Galor, Oded
    Abstract: This research argues that variations in the interplay between cultural assimilation and cultural diffusion have played a significant role in giving rise to differential patterns of economic development across the globe. Societies that were geographically less vulnerable to cultural diffusion, benefited from enhanced assimilation, lower cultural diversity and, thus, more intense accumulation of society-specific human capital, enabling them to flourish in the technological paradigm that characterized the agricultural stage of development. The lack of cultural diffusion and its manifestation in cultural rigidity, however, diminished the ability of these societies to adapt to a new technological paradigm, which delayed their industrialization and, thereby, their take-off to a state of sustained economic growth. The theory contributes to the understanding of the advent of divergence and overtaking in the process of long-run development, attributing the dominance of some societies within a given technological regime to a superior operation of cultural assimilation, while the success of others in the switch between technological regimes to a higher frequency of cultural diffusion and the beneficial effect of diversity on the adaptability of society to a changing technological environment. Thus, in contrast to the cultural and institutional hypotheses, which posit a hierarchy of cultural and institutional attributes in terms of their conduciveness to innovation and their ability in fostering industrialization, the proposed theory suggests that the desirable degree of the relative prevalence of cultural assimilation versus cultural diffusion varies according to the stage of development. Enhanced cultural assimilation is optimal within a given stage of development, but is detrimental for the transition between technological regimes. Therefore, while cultural traits themselves do not necessarily have a differential effect on the process of development, it is the variation in the relative strengths of the forces of cultural assimilation and cultural diffusion, which together determine the heterogeneity of these traits, that is instrumental for comparative economic development.
    Keywords: cultural assimilation; cultural diffusion; cultural diversity; geography
    JEL: O11 O13 O14 O31 O33 O41 O43
    Date: 2007–08
    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 do not reject the hypothesis 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.
    Date: 2007–09
    Abstract: The role of sociability and relational goods has been generally neglected in the formulation of standard textbook economic preferences. Our level and first difference panel estimates show that relational goods have significant and positive effects on self declared life satisfaction, net of the impact of standard controls. The estimation of a panel GMM VAR system shows that such effects remain significant when the inverse causality nexus is taken into account.
    Date: 2007–09
  5. By: Andrew Grodner (East Carolina University); Thomas J. Kniesner (Syracuse University and IZA)
    Abstract: Our econometric research allows for a possible response of a person's hours worked to hours typically worked by members of a multidimensional labor market reference group that considers demographics and geographic location. Instrumental variables estimates of the canonical labor supply model expanded to permit social interactions pass a battery of specification checks and indicate positive and economically important spillovers for adult men. Ignoring or incorrectly considering social interactions in male labor supply can misestimate the response to tax reform by as much as 60 percent.
    Keywords: labor supply, social interactions, reference group, instrumental variables, social multiplier, PSID
    JEL: J22 Z13
    Date: 2007–08
  6. By: Amelie Constant; Klaus F. Zimmermann
    Abstract: The paper advocates for a new measure of the ethnic identity of migrants, models its determinants and explores its explanatory power for various types of their economic performance. The ethnosizer, a measure of the intensity of a person's ethnic identity, is constructed from information on the following elements: language, culture, societal interaction, history of migration, and ethnic self-identification. A two-dimensional concept of the ethnosizer classifies migrants into four states: integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization. The ethnosizer largely depends on pre-migration characteristics. Empirical evidence studying economic behavior like work participation, earnings and housing decisions demonstrates the significant relevance of ethnic identity for economic outcomes.
    Keywords: Ethnicity, ethnic identity, acculturation, migrant assimilation, migrant integration, work, cultural economics
    JEL: F22 J15 J16 Z10
    Date: 2007
  7. By: M. Vittoria Levati (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, Germany); Matteo Ploner (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, Germany, and University of Trento, Italy); Stefan Traub (Department of Business and Economics, University of Bremen, Germany)
    Abstract: We use a two-person public goods experiment to distinguish between efficiency and fairness as possible motivations for cooperative behavior. Asymmetric marginal per capita returns allow only the high-productivity player to increase group payoffs when contributing positive amounts. Asymmetric contributions, however, yield unequal individual payoffs. To assess a priori cooperative preferences, we measure individual 'value-orientations' by means of the decomposed game technique. Overall, our results indicate that fairness (or inequality aversion) is more influential than efficiency in driving behavior.
    Keywords: Public goods experiments, Conditional cooperation, Fairness, Efficiency, Value orientations
    JEL: A13 C92 D63 H41
    Date: 2007–09–20
  8. By: Alison L. Booth (RSSS, Australian National University, University of Essex, CEPR and IZA); Jan C. van Ours (Tilburg University, CentER, University of Melbourne, CEPR and IZA)
    Abstract: Using fixed effects ordered logit estimation, we investigate the relationship between part-time work and working hours satisfaction; job satisfaction; and life satisfaction. We account for interdependence within the family using data on partnered men and women from the British Household Panel Survey. We find that men have the highest hours-of-work satisfaction if they work full-time without overtime hours but neither their job satisfaction nor their life satisfaction are affected by how many hours they work. Life satisfaction is influenced only by whether or not they have a job. For women we are confronted with a puzzle. Hours satisfaction and job satisfaction indicate that women prefer part-time jobs irrespective of whether these are small or large. In contrast, female life satisfaction is virtually unaffected by hours of work. Women without children do not care about their hours of work at all, while women with children are significantly happier if they have a job regardless of how many hours it entails.
    Keywords: part-time work, happiness, satisfaction, working hours, gender
    JEL: J22 I31 J16
    Date: 2007–08
  9. By: Kaul Subhashini; Sahay Arvind; Koshy Abraham
    Abstract: The objective of this study is to examine the role of store image in influencing shopper trust and patronage intentions when 1) the store has never been visited and 2) the store has been visited. This study also identifies three stages through which ‘trust-image’ progresses and uses the first stage to construct and ‘initial-trust-image’ of the store. The experimental study findings provide empirical support that initial-trust-image of the store has significant impact on trust and patronage intentions for some shoppers. Retailers entering the Indian market are advised to be conscious of the symbolic cues that they embed in the store appearance, especially since the initial-trust-image needs to convey more than just competence and expertise. Significantly, the findings also indicate that asymmetric effects of trust operate at the stage of initial-trust – negative initial-image perception causes greater mistrust than positive initial-image causes trust.
    Date: 2007–09–06
  10. By: Bali Swain, Ranjula (Department of Economics); Wallentin, Fan Yang (Department of Information Science, Statistics)
    Abstract: Microfinance programs like the Self Help Bank Linkage Program in India have been increasingly promoted for their positive economic impact and the belief that they empower women. However, only a few studies rigorously examine the link between microfinance and women’s empowerment. This paper contributes by arguing that women empowerment takes place when women challenge the existing social norms and culture, to effectively improve their well being. It empirically validates this hypothesis by using quasi-experimental household sample data collected for five states in India for 2000 and 2003. A general structural model is estimated by employing appropriate techniques to treat the ordinal variables in order to estimate the impact of the Self Help Group (SHG) on women empowerment for 2000 and 2003. The results strongly demonstrate that on average, there is a significant increase in the women empowerment of the SHG members group. No such significant change is observed however, for the members of the control group. The elegance of the result lies in the fact that the group of SHG participants show clear evidence of a significant and higher empowerment, while allowing for the possibility that some members might have been more empowered than others.
    Keywords: Microfinance; Women empowerment; Ordinal variables; General structural model and Robust maximum likelihood estimation.
    JEL: C33 G21 J16
    Date: 2007–08–24
  11. By: James C. Cox
    Abstract: null
    Date: 2007–09
  12. By: Christiane Schwieren; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: We examine gender differences in trust in another party’s cooperation (CC) or its ability (AC). While men and women do not differ concerning trust in cooperation, gender has a strong influence when trust in another subject’s ability is required.
    Keywords: Trust, Gender, Experiment, Cooperation, Ability, Stereotypes
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2007–09
  13. By: Avner Ben-Ner; Louis Putterman; Ting Ren
    Date: 2007
  14. By: Pedro Dal Bo; Andrew Foster; Louis Putterman
    Date: 2007
  15. By: Chen, Natalie (University of Warwick, CEPR); Conconi, Paola (Universit´e Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR); Perroni, Carlo (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: We examine gender differences in intergenerational patterns of social mobility for second-generation migrants. Empirical studies of social mobility have found that women are generally more mobile than men. Matching theory suggests that this may be because the importance of market characteristics (financial wealth and earning power) relative to non-market characteristics in the marriage market is lesser for women than men, and market characteristics can be intergenerationally more persistent than non-market characteristics. According to this interpretation, the mobility gender gap should be wider for second-generation migrant households, where gender roles remain more pronounced than in the non-migrant population. We explore this conjecture using data from the US General Social Survey. Our results show that daughters of first-generation migrants are intergenerationally more mobile than migrant’s sons, and more so than it is the case for non-migrants’ children.
    Keywords: Marriage ; Migrants ; Social Mobility
    JEL: D1 J2 J3
    Date: 2007
  16. By: Stefano DellaVigna
    Abstract: The research in Psychology and Economics (a.k.a. Behavioral Economics) suggests that individuals deviate from the standard model in three respects: (i) non-standard preferences; (ii) non-standard beliefs; and (iii) non-standard decision-making. In this paper, I survey the empirical evidence from the field on these three classes of deviations. The evidence covers a number of applications, from consumption to finance, from crime to voting, from giving to labor supply. In the class of non-standard preferences, I discuss time preferences (self-control problems), risk preferences (reference dependence), and social preferences. On non-standard beliefs, I present evidence on overconfidence, on the law of small numbers, and on projection bias. Regarding non-standard decision-making, I cover limited attention, menu effects, persuasion and social pressure, and emotions. I also present evidence on how rational actors -- firms, employers, CEOs, investors, and politicians -- respond to the non-standard behavior described in the survey. I then summarize five common empirical methodologies used in Psychology and Economics. Finally, I briefly discuss under what conditions experience and market interactions limit the impact of the non-standard features.
    JEL: A1 C91 C93 D00 D64 D91 G1 M3
    Date: 2007–09
  17. By: Rossella Argenziano
    Abstract: We consider a model of price competition in a duopoly with product differentiation and network effects. The value of a good for a consumer is the sum of a common and an idiosyncratic component. The first captures the vertical dimension of quality, the second captures horizontal differentiation. Each consumer privately observes his own value for each good, but cannot separate the common and the idiosyncratic component. Therefore, he has incomplete information about the value of the goods for the other consumers. After firms announce prices, consumers choose simultaneously which network to join, facing a coordination problem. In the efficient allocation, both networks are active and the firm with the highest expected quality has the largest market share. To characterize the equilibrium allocation, we derive necessary and sufficient conditions for uniqueness of the equilibrium of the coordination game played by consumers for given prices. The equilibrium allocation differs from the efficient one for two reasons. First, the equilibrium allocation of consumers to the networks is too balanced, since consumers fail to internalize network externalities. Second, if access to the networks is priced by strategic firms, then the product with the highest expected quality is also the most expensive. This further reduces the asymmetry between market shares and therefore social welfare.
    Date: 2007–09–18
  18. By: Jens, Agerström (Department of psychology, Lund University); Carlsson, Rickard (Department of economics, Kalmar University); Rooth, Dan-Olof (Department of economics, Kalmar University)
    Abstract: Using the Implicit Association Test, we investigate whether employers and students possess implicit and explicit negative attitudes and implicit performance stereotypes toward Arab-Muslim men relative to native Swedish men. We also examine if employers and students have implicit and explicit performance stereotypes toward obese individuals relative to people of normal weight. The results demonstrate that employers and students both implicitly and explicitly associate Arab-Muslim men with less work performance. Also, they have more implicit negative attitudes toward this ethnic group. Obese individuals are both implicitly and explicitly associated with less work performance compared with normal-weight individuals.
    Keywords: Implicit; attitudes; stereotypes; discrimination; ethnicity; obesity
    JEL: J53 J64 J71
    Date: 2007–08–31
  19. By: Delia Furtado (University of Connecticut and IZA)
    Abstract: Because the demographic composition of todays immigrants to the US differs so much from those of natives, immigrants may be less likely to socially integrate into U.S. society, and specically less likely to marry natives. This paper explores the relationship between immigrants' marriage patterns and the academic outcomes of their children. Using 2000 Census data, it is found that while marital decisions of foreign born females do not affect their children's academic success, foreign born males that marry foreign born females are less likely to have children that are high school dropouts. These relationships remain after using various methods to control for the endogeneity of the intermarriage decision. Although we cannot disentangle whether the benefits of same-nativity marriages for foreign born males arise from a more efficient technology in human capital production within the household or from increased participation in ethnic networks, it does appear that immigrant males have better educated children when they marry immigrant females.
    Keywords: Cross-Nativity Marriage, Education, Ethnic Networks .%
    JEL: J12 J15 Z13
    Date: 2007–08
  20. By: Benno Torgler; Nemanja Antica; Uwe Dulleck
    Abstract: This paper turns Snow-White’s magic mirror onto recent economics Nobel Prize winners, top economists and happiness researchers, and through the eyes of the “man in the street” seeks to determine who the happiest academic is. The study not only provides a clear answer to this question but also unveils who is the ladies’ man and who is the sweetheart of the aged. It also explores the extent to which information matters and whether individuals’ self-reported happiness affects their perceptions about the happiness of these superstars in economics.
    Keywords: happiness; subjective well-being; perceptions; superstars; economists
    JEL: A11 D10 I31
    Date: 2007–09

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