nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2007‒10‒06
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Inequality and Trust By Jordahl, Henrik
  2. Bonding Social Capital and Corruption: A Cross-National Empirical Analysis By Donna Harris
  3. Social Networks and Access to Health Care Among Mexican-Americans By Carole Roan Gresenz; Jeannette Rogowski; José J. Escarce
  4. New Housing Supply and the Dilution of Social Capital By Hilber, Christian A. L.
  5. Total Work, Gender and Social Norms By Michael Burda; Daniel S. Hamermesh; Philippe Weil
  6. Financial Integration within EU Countries: The Role of Institutions, Confidence and Trust By Mehmet Fatih Ekinci; Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan; Bent Sorensen
  7. Games of Social Influence By Andrea Galeotti; Sanjeev Goyal
  8. Children, Kitchen, Church: Does Ethnicity Matter? By Zaiceva, Anzelika; Zimmermann, Klaus F
  9. Leaning an University Department: a life experiment By Carvalho, Pedro G.; Miragaia, Dina
  10. Institutions and Entrepreneurship Development in Russia: A Comparative Perspective By Saul Estrin; Ruta Aidis; Tomasz Mickiewicz
  11. Economic-Social Interaction in China By Lindbeck, Assar
  12. World on Fire? Democracy, Globalization and Ethnic Violence By Bezemer, Dirk; Jong-A-Pin, Richard
  13. Who Gives for Overseas Development? By John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf
  14. Reciprocity in young children By Dahlman, Sandra; Ljungqvist, Pontus; Johannesson, Magnus
  15. Decoding the Code of Civil Procedure: Do Judiciaries Matter for Growth? By Matthieu Chemin
  16. Family Structure and the Treatment of Childhood Asthma By Alex Y. Chen, MD, MSHS; José Escarce, MD, PhD
  17. Is Well-Being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle? By David G. Blanchflower; Andrew J. Oswald

  1. By: Jordahl, Henrik (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on economic inequality and trust. Cross-country studies, within-country studies, and experiments all suggest that economic inequality exerts a negative influence on trust. Four mechanisms are proposed to explain the negative relationship: social ties (or networks), inference on social relationships (to see inequality as a signal of untrustworthy behavior), conflicts over resources, and opportunity cost of time. Social ties receive the strongest empirical support, but there is also some evidence in favor of inference on social relationships. Conflicts over resources and opportunity cost of time are contradicted by important pieces of evidence.
    Keywords: Trust; Inequality; Social Capital; Social Ties; Networks
    JEL: C23 D31 Z13
    Date: 2007–08–21
  2. By: Donna Harris (Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, UK)
    Abstract: This paper considers the relationship between corruption and bonding social capital, which is characterised by high level of particularised trust and reciprocity amongst families and close friends. The main conjecture is that bonding social capital is likely to increase corruption and that it affects corruption not only directly, but also indirectly through other factors. Empirical results from the third wave of the World Value Survey confirm that bonding social capital leads to higher level of perceived corruption, particularly public and political corruption, when it discourages trust and cooperation towards outsiders. Bonding social capital also increases corruption indirectly by reducing opportunistic behaviour and imposing peer pressure on the ingroup members to reciprocate in a corrupt exchange i.e. to ‘return the favour’. This mechanism makes a corrupt transaction more predictable, i.e. increasing the confidence that the ‘goods’ will be delivered as promised and thus, leads to high level of corruption.
    Keywords: Corruption, Social Capital, Social Norms, Social Networks
    JEL: Q2 Q4 R4
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Carole Roan Gresenz; Jeannette Rogowski; José J. Escarce
    Abstract: This research explores social networks and their relationship to access to health care among adult Mexican-Americans. We use data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) linked to data from the 2000 U.S. Census and other data sources. We analyze multiple measures of access to health care. Measures of social networks are constructed at the ZCTA level and include percent of the population that is Hispanic, percent of the population that speaks Spanish, and percent of the population that is foreign-born and Spanish-speaking. Regressions are stratified by insurance status and social network measures are interacted with individual-level measures of acculturation. For insured Mexican-American immigrants, living in an area populated by relatively more Hispanics, more immigrants, or more Spanish-speakers increases access to care. The social network effects are generally stronger for more recent immigrants compared to those who are better established. We find no effects of these characteristics of the local population on access to care for U.S. born Mexican-Americans, suggesting that similarities in race and language may contribute more to the formation of social ties among individuals who are less acculturated to the U.S. Among the uninsured, we find evidence suggesting that social networks defined by ethnicity improve access to care among recent immigrants. A finding particular to the uninsured is the negative influence of percent of the population that is Hispanic and the percent that is Spanish-speaking on access to care among U.S. born Mexican-Americans. The results provide evidence that social networks play an important role in access to health care among Mexican-Americans. The results also suggest the need for further study using additional measures of social networks, analyzing other racial and ethnic groups, and exploring social networks defined by characteristics other than race, language and ethnicity.
    JEL: I11
    Date: 2007–10
  4. By: Hilber, Christian A. L.
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of local housing market conditions for social capital accumulation and neighborhood club good provision. A model of individual investment decisions predicts that in a setting with high property transaction costs (i) homeowners are more likely to invest in social capital than renters and (ii) the positive link between homeownership and social capital is stronger in more built-up neighborhoods with inelastic supply of new housing. In these neighborhoods homeowners are largely protected from inflows of newcomers that would dilute the net benefit from social capital in the longer run. Empirical evidence from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey confirms the model predictions. Instrumental variable estimates suggest that the effects are causal.
    Keywords: House price capitalization; social capital; homeownership; land and housing supply; neighborhood club goods.
    JEL: R21 R31 D71
    Date: 2007–08–02
  5. By: Michael Burda; Daniel S. Hamermesh; Philippe Weil
    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 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 withineducation 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: 2007–09
  6. By: Mehmet Fatih Ekinci; Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan; Bent Sorensen
    Abstract: We investigate the degree of financial integration within and between European countries. We construct two measures of de-facto integration across European regions to capture "diversification" and "development" finance in the language of Obstfeld and Taylor (2004). We find evidence that capital market integration within the EU is less than what is implied by theoretical benchmarks and also less than what is found for U.S. states. We ask - why is this the case? Using country-level data for economic institutions, we find that these are not able to explain differences between countries. Using regional data from the World Values Surveys, we investigate the effect of "social capital" on financial integration among European regions. We find regions, where the level of confidence and trust is high, are more financially integrated with each other.
    JEL: F21 F41
    Date: 2007–09
  7. By: Andrea Galeotti; Sanjeev Goyal
    Abstract: This paper considers a game played among players who seek to extract payoffs from a group of individuals subject to local interaction effects. We are interested in the relation between the network of social interaction and equilibrium actions and payoffs. We start with an analysis of two economic examples – strategic advertising in the presence of word of mouth advertising and social non-competitive marketing – to bring out the simple point that changing network connections can increase as well as decrease equilibrium actions and payoffs. This leads to an investigation of general conditions on payoffs under which equilibrium actions and payoffs increase/decrease with an increase in density of connections. We also develop conditions under which a greater dispersion in network connections leads unambiguously to positive and negative effects on actions as well as payoffs.
    Date: 2007–09–25
  8. By: Zaiceva, Anzelika; Zimmermann, Klaus F
    Abstract: Gender role attitudes are well-known determinants of female labour supply. This paper examines the strength of those attitudes using time diaries on childcare, food management and religious activities provided by the British Time Use Survey. Given the low labour force participation of females from ethnic minorities, the role of ethnicity in forming those attitudes and influencing time spent for "traditional" female activities is of particular interest. The paper finds that white females in the UK have a higher probability to participate in the labour force than non-white females. Non-white females spend more time for religious activities and, to some extent, for food management than white females, while there are no ethnic differences for time spent on childcare. The ethnicity effect is also heterogenous across different socio-economic groups. Hence, cultural differences across ethnicities are significant, and do affect work behaviour.
    Keywords: ethnic minorities; gender; time use; UK
    JEL: J15 J16 J22
    Date: 2007–09
  9. By: Carvalho, Pedro G.; Miragaia, Dina
    Abstract: The European Quality Assurance methodology is pushing hard Portuguese Universities so that they should improve their overall performance. Working at a Portuguese University more than a decade ago, one of the authors experienced several life cycles in different Departments and the experience acquired in foreign Universities (USA) teached him a couple of simple things in order to positively participate in this kind of processes. However, he found it quite difficult to apply his knowledge without other’s contribution, due to several endogenous and exogenous reasons, including age and generation viewpoints. Together with the second author we started to apply some theoretical new insights we were discussing together during her PhD research. The purpose of this paper is to describe the experiment we are in now, following a social network methodology used in my Economics PhD together with three theoretical influences we think are inter twinkled like the lean thinking, the value focus thinking and the complication in innovation diffusion processes. After a brief literature review we describe the basic pillars we used to achieve the main goal of improving performance in a young university department. Using some coaching and economic tools and knowledge, we were able to gather a group of different people – students, staff and teachers - deeply involved in our proposal methodology. Preliminary results are briefly identified, as much as further research challenges.
    Keywords: Lean thinking; quality improvement; social networks analysis; decision making; Portuguese Universities
    JEL: O22 H83 L23 H52
    Date: 2007–03–05
  10. By: Saul Estrin; Ruta Aidis; Tomasz Mickiewicz
    Abstract: In this paper we use a comparative perspective to explore the ways in which institutions and networks have influenced entrepreneurial development in Russia. We utilize Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data collected in 2001 and 2002 to investigate the effects of the weak institutional environment in Russia on entrepreneurship, comparing it first with all available GEM country samples and second, in more detail, with Brazil and Poland. Our results provide strong evidence that Russia’s institutional environment is important to explain its relatively low levels of entrepreneurship development, where the latter is measured in terms of both number of start-ups and of existing business owners. In addition, Russia’s business environment contributes to the relative advantage of entrepreneurial insiders (those already in business) to entrepreneurial outsiders (newcomers) in terms of new business startups.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Institutions, Networks, Russia, Poland, Brazil
    JEL: P36 O17 M13
    Date: 2007–02–01
  11. By: Lindbeck, Assar (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper analyzes economic-social interaction in China in connection with the country’s change of economic system. I define an economic system in terms of a multidimensional vector of broad institutional characteristics, and I emphasize that important features of the social development are closely related to specific changes in these various dimensions. I classify China’s options for future social improvements into three broad categories: policies that improve the stability and distribution of factor income; government-created wedges between factor income and disposable income; and improvements in the quantity, quality and distribution of human services, such as education and health care.
    Keywords: China; Economic transition; Typology of economic systems; Social reforms
    JEL: H00 I00 P20
    Date: 2007–09–28
  12. By: Bezemer, Dirk; Jong-A-Pin, Richard (Groningen University)
    Abstract: Recent studies suggest that democracy and globalization lead to ethnic hatred and violence in countries with a rich ethnic minority. We examine the thesis by Chua (2003) that democratization and globalization lead to ethnic violence in the presence of a market-dominant minority. We use different data sets to measure market dominant minorities and employ panel fixed effects regressions for a sample of 107 countries over the period 1984-2003. Our model contains two-way and three-way interactions to examine under which conditions democracy and globalization increase violence. We find no evidence for a worldwide Chua effect, but we do find support for Chua?s thesis for Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Date: 2007
  13. By: John Micklewright (S3RI, University of Southampton and IZA); Sylke V. Schnepf (S3RI, University of Southampton and IZA)
    Abstract: Individuals’ donations to overseas charities are an important source of funding for development assistance from rich industrialised countries. But little is known about the nature of these charitable donations. The literature on giving focuses on total donations to all causes and does not identify separately the pattern or the determinants of giving to any particular cause. We investigate giving to overseas causes using UK survey microdata that record individuals’ donations to different types of charity. We establish a picture of overseas giving, comparing this with giving to other causes. Socio-economic correlates of both types of giving are analysed, including gender, marital status, occupation, education and, especially, income. We also investigate the relationship between individuals' overseas giving and their attitudes towards poverty in developing countries.
    Keywords: charitable donations, overseas development, NGOs
    JEL: D12 D64 F35 L31
    Date: 2007–09
  14. By: Dahlman, Sandra (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); Ljungqvist, Pontus (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); Johannesson, Magnus (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: Reciprocal behavior, the rewarding of kind acts and the punishment of unkind acts, is relatively well established among adults. We test if reciprocal behavior exists already among children 3-8 years old. Three simple anonymous allocation games are conducted with 242 children. In a first stage, half of the children decide whether to give a bag of raisin to another anonymous child or not. The three games differ in terms of the cost of giving and the relative difference in payoffs. In a second stage the roles are reversed between the two children to test for reciprocal behavior. We find reciprocal behavior in all three games with highly significant effects for two of the three games. Furthermore, the degree of reciprocity tends to increase with age. The effect of reciprocity is not significant among 3-5 year old children, whereas the effect is highly significant in all three games for 6-8 year olds.
    Keywords: Reciprocity; prosociality; children; experiments
    JEL: C90 D64 J13
    Date: 2007–09–26
  15. By: Matthieu Chemin
    Abstract: This paper attempts to measure the causal impact of the speed of judiciaries on economic activity by using two novel instrumental variables measuring judicial procedural ambiguity and complexity. First, I find that temporally exogenous conflicting judicial decisions taken in India due to the Code of Civil Procedure's ambiguity lead to higher expected trial duration as judges are required to spend considerable time in choosing between several conflicting views. Second, I find that Inidan High Court amendments complicating procedures to treat a case are related to higher trial duration. By using spatial and temporal variations in the occurrence of conflicting decisions and enactment of amendments as instrumental variables, I am able to measure the impact of judicial speed on credit markets, agricultural development and manufacturing performance.
    Keywords: Law and economics, Institutions, Courts, Economic Growth, Industrial Performance
    JEL: K10 K12 K40 K42 O12 O17
    Date: 2007
  16. By: Alex Y. Chen, MD, MSHS; José Escarce, MD, PhD
    Abstract: Background: Family structure is known to influence children's behavioral, educational, and cognitive outcomes, and recent studies suggest that family structure affects children's access to health care as well. However, no study has addressed whether family structure is associated with the care children receive for particular conditions or with their physical health outcomes. Objective: To assess the effects of family structure on the treatment and outcomes of children with asthma. Methods: Our data sources were the 1996-2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). The study samples consisted of children 2-17 years of age with asthma who lived in single-mother or two-parent families. We assessed the effect of number of parents and number of other children in the household on office visits for asthma and use of asthma medications using negative binomial regression, and we assessed the effect of family structure on the severity of asthma symptoms using binary and ordinal logistic regression. Our regression models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, parental experience in child-rearing and in caring for an asthmatic child and, when appropriate, measures of children's health status. Results: Asthmatic children in single-mother families had fewer office visits for asthma and filled fewer prescriptions for controller medications than children with two parents. In addition, children living in families with three or more other children had fewer office visits and filled fewer prescriptions for reliever and controller medications than children living with no other children. Children from single-mother families had more health difficulties from asthma than children with two parents, and children living with two or more other children were more likely to have an asthma attack in the past 12 months than children living with no other children. Conclusions: For children with asthma, living with a single mother and the presence of additional children in the household are associated with less treatment for asthma and worse asthma outcomes.
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2007–10
  17. By: David G. Blanchflower (Dartmouth College and IZA); Andrew J. Oswald (University of Warwick and IZA)
    Abstract: We explore the idea that happiness and psychological well-being are U-shaped in age. The main difficulty with this argument is that there are likely to be omitted cohort effects (earlier generations may have been born in, say, particularly good or bad times). First, using data on 500,000 randomly sampled Americans and West Europeans, the paper designs a test that controls for cohort effects. A robust U-shape is found. Ceteris paribus, a typical individual’s well-being reaches its minimum - on both sides of the Atlantic and for both males and females - in middle age. We demonstrate this with a quadratic structure and non-parametric forms. Second, some evidence is presented for a U-shape in developing countries and the East European nations. Third, using measures that are closer to psychiatric scores, we document a comparable well-being curve across the life course in two other data sets: (i) in GHQ-N6 mental health levels for a sample of 16,000 Europeans, and (ii) in reported depression and anxiety among approximately 1 million U.K. citizens. Fourth, we document occasional apparent exceptions, particularly in developing nations, to the U-shape. Fifth, we note that American male birth cohorts seem to have become progressively less happy with their lives. Our paper’s results are based on regression equations in which other influences, such as demographic variables and income, are held constant.
    Keywords: happiness, aging, well-being, GHQ, cohorts
    JEL: D1 I3
    Date: 2007–09

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