nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒01‒12
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Does Social Capital Mitigate Precariousness? By Sabatini, Fabio
  2. Social Capital and the Labour Market By Sabatini, Fabio
  3. Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime? By Gordon Dahl; Stefano DellaVigna
  4. More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy By Lena Edlund; Hongbin Li; Junjian Yi; Junsen Zhang
  5. Social and Cultural Dimensions of Market Expansion By Evers, Hans-Dieter; Gerke, Solvay
  6. The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia By Simon Gaechter; Benedikt Herrmann
  7. Strategic Information Extraction Through Networks By Antonio Jimenez-Martinez
  8. Measuring Indirect Reciprocity: Whose Back Do We Scratch? By Fabrizio Casalin
  9. Revolution and Family in Rural China: Influence of Family Background on Current Family Wealth By Hiroshi Sato; Li Shi
  10. Immigrant Networks and Their Implications for Occupational Choice and Wages By Krishna Patel; Francis Vella
  11. Religion, Terrorism and Public Goods: Testing the Club Model By Eli Berman; David D. Laitin

  1. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: There is a surprising gap in the economic literature on social capital. First, we lack studies addressing the effects of social capital on those facets of development that can contribute in making growth more sustainable in the long run, like, for example, human development and social cohesion. Second, it is still unclear what type of networks may exert a positive effect on the different dimensions of development. In particular, the literature has not yet provided a rigorous assessment of the role of strong family ties, that are generally referred to as a form of bonding social capital causing backwardness. This paper carries out an empirical investigation into the relationship between the three types of social capital so far identified by the literature (i.e. bonding, bridging and linking), human development, and labour precariousness, in the belief that precariousness and uncertainty play a crucial role in determining the social cohesion and well-being that are necessary to make growth sustainable in the long run.
    Keywords: Social capital; Human development; Labour market; Precariousness; Italy
    JEL: O15 J24 Z13
    Date: 2008–01–08
  2. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: The main question of this paper is: what type of social capital is able to mitigate labour precariousness and to foster human development? This issue has been addressed through a review of the literature and an empirical investigation on the Italian regions. The analysis shows that only bonding social capital mitigates precariousness on the labour market, while the weak ties shaping voluntary organizations are the only type of social capital that nourish human development, thereby fostering sustainable growth.
    Keywords: Social capital; Labour market; Precariousness; Precariato
    JEL: Z13 J0
    Date: 2008–01–04
  3. By: Gordon Dahl; Stefano DellaVigna
    Abstract: Laboratory experiments in psychology find that media violence increases aggression in the short run. We analyze whether media violence affects violent crime in the field. We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004, and study the effect on same-day assaults. We find that violent crime decreases on days with larger theater audiences for violent movies. The effect is partly due to voluntary incapacitation: between 6PM and 12AM, a one million increase in the audience for violent movies reduces violent crime by 1.1 to 1.3 percent. After exposure to the movie, between 12AM and 6AM, violent crime is reduced by an even larger percent. This finding is explained by the self-selection of violent individuals into violent movie attendance, leading to a substitution away from more volatile activities. In particular, movie attendance appears to reduce alcohol consumption. Like the laboratory experiments, we find indirect evidence that movie violence increases violent crime; however, this effect is dominated by the reduction in crime induced by a substitution away from more dangerous activities. Overall, our estimates suggest that in the short-run violent movies deter almost 1,000 assaults on an average weekend. While our design does not allow us to estimate long-run effects, we find no evidence of medium-run effects up to three weeks after initial exposure.
    JEL: A12 C91 C93 J08
    Date: 2008–01
  4. By: Lena Edlund (Columbia University and IZA); Hongbin Li (Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tsinghua University); Junjian Yi (Chinese University of Hong Kong); Junsen Zhang (Chinese University of Hong Kong and IZA)
    Abstract: Crime rates almost doubled in China between 1992 and 2004. Over the same period, sex ratios (males to females) in the crime-prone ages of 16-25 years rose sharply, from 1.053 to 1.093. Although scarcity of females is commonly believed to be a source of male antisocial behavior, a causal link has been difficult to establish. Sex-ratio variation is typically either small or related to social conditions liable to also affect crime rates. This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime.
    Keywords: male-biased sex ratios, crime, one-child policy, China
    JEL: J12 J13 K42
    Date: 2007–12
  5. By: Evers, Hans-Dieter; Gerke, Solvay
    Abstract: We have identified three dimensions of market expansion: the growth of market oriented production and trade, internal and external market integration and the creation of virtual markets. These three processes can occur side by side and are connected with social and cultural change.
    Keywords: markets culture market expansion
    JEL: Z1 O10
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Benedikt Herrmann (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We report evidence from public goods experiments with and without punishment which we conducted in Russia with 566 urban and rural participants of young and mature age cohorts. Russia is interesting for studying voluntary cooperation because of its long history of collectivism, and a huge urban-rural gap. In contrast to previous experiments we find no cooperation-enhancing effect of punishment. An important reason is that there is substantial punishment of high contributors in all four subject pools. Thus, punishment can also undermine the scope for self-governance in the sense of high levels of voluntary cooperation that are sustained by sanctioning free riders only.
    Keywords: social norms, free riding, misdirected punishment, experiments
    JEL: H41 C91 D23 C72
    Date: 2007–11
  7. By: Antonio Jimenez-Martinez (School of Economics, Universidad de Guanajuato)
    Abstract: We develop a model of information transmission in networks where agents decide on costly information extraction from their neighbors. Agents have incomplete and complementary information about the underlying state. For a exogenously given network, each agent decides first on information extraction from her neighbors and then, after processing the information extracted, takes an action. The payoff to each agent has two components: (i) a concern about oneÕs own action and (ii) a concern about the other agentsÕ actions or team concern. We formalize the extraction of information by considering that each agent is able, by incurring a cost, to induce each of her neighbors to send her a signal. Then, each receiver updates her beliefs according to BayesÕ rule. We characterize both the efficient and the equilibrium information extraction strategy profiles for the overall game and relate them to the network architecture.
    Keywords: Communication Networks, Incomplete Information, Information Extraction, Complementarities, Coordination
    JEL: C72 D82 D83 D85
  8. By: Fabrizio Casalin
    Abstract: This paper presents an experimental investigation of strong indirect reciprocity. We examine both generalized indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then B helps C) and social indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then C helps A), in a setting where reciprocal behavior cannot be explained by strategic motivations. We also consider a treatment for direct reciprocity, as a benchmark, and use a variant of the strategy method to control for di®erences in ¯rst movers' actions across treatments. We ¯nd evidence of strong reciprocity within each treatment, both for strategies and decisions. Generalized indirect reciprocity is found to be signi¯cantly stronger than social indirect reciprocity and, interestingly, direct reciprocity. This ¯nd- ing is interpreted as re°ecting the relevance of ¯rst movers' motivation for second movers' reciprocal behavior.
    Keywords: Reciprocity, Experimental Economics.
    JEL: C78 C91 C92
    Date: 2007–11
  9. By: Hiroshi Sato (Hitotsubashi University); Li Shi (Beijing Normal University and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper examines the influence of family human capital on offspring’s economic status in post reform rural China by concentrating on the father-son relationship. We focus on two indicators of family background: family class origin (jiating chengfen) and occupational experience. The results of a family wealth function for 2002 suggest that, after controlling for other individual and family characteristics, both measures of family background have a significant influence on family wealth. First, parental experience of a nonagricultural family business before collectivization has a positive and statistically significant effect on current family wealth. Second, the offspring of landlord/rich peasant and middle peasant families are more likely to have higher family wealth than poor and lower-middle peasant families. We also find cohort and regional differences in the influence of family background. Our findings suggest that the strength and robustness of the Chinese rural family as a cultural institution preserves family human capital across radical institutional changes.
    Keywords: family human capital, family background, intergenerational correlation, distribution of wealth
    JEL: D31 J24 N35 O15
    Date: 2007–12
  10. By: Krishna Patel (Georgetown University); Francis Vella (Georgetown University and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper employs United States Census data to study the occupational allocation of immigrants. The data reveal that the occupational shares of various ethnic groups have grown drastically in regional labor markets over the period 1980 to 2000. We examine the extent to which this growth can be attributed to network effects. That is, we examine the relationship between the occupational choice decision of recently arrived immigrants with those of established immigrants from the same country. We also consider the earnings implications of these immigrant networks for recent arrivals. The empirical evidence strongly suggests the operation of networks in the immigrant labor market. First, we find evidence that new arrivals are locating in the same occupations as their countrymen. Moreover, this location decision is operating at the level of regional labor markets. Second, we find that individuals who locate in the "popular" occupations of their countrymen enjoy a large and positive effect on their hourly wage and their level of weekly earnings.
    Keywords: network effects, immigrants, occupational choice, earnings
    JEL: J24 J3 J61
    Date: 2007–12
  11. By: Eli Berman; David D. Laitin
    Abstract: Can rational choice modeling explain why Hamas, Taliban, Hezbollah and other radical religious rebels are so lethal? The literature rejects theological explanations. We propose a club framework, which emphasizes the function of voluntary religious organizations as efficient providers of local public goods in the absence of government provision. The sacrifices religious clubs require are economically efficient (Iannaccone (1992)), making them well suited for solving the extreme principal-agent problems faced by terrorist and insurgent organizations. Thus religious clubs can be potent terrorists. That explanation is supported by data on terrorist lethality in the Middle East. The same approach explains why religious clubs often choose suicide attacks. Using three data sources spanning a half century, and comparing suicide attackers to civil war insurgents, we show that suicide attacks are chosen when targets are "hard," i.e., difficult to destroy. Data from Israel/Palestine confirm that prediction. To explain why radical religious clubs specialize in suicide attacks we model the choice of tactics by rebels attacking hard targets, considering the human costs and tactical benefits of suicide attacks. We ask what a suicide attacker would have to believe to be rational. We then embed that attacker and other operatives in a club model. The model has testable implications for tactic choice and damage achieved by clubs and other rebels, which are supported by data on terrorist attacks in the Middle East: Radical religious clubs are more lethal and choose suicide terrorism more often, when they provide benign local public goods. Our results suggest benign tactics to counter terrorism by religious radicals.
    JEL: D2 D31 H41 H56 H68 J0 J13 O17 O24 Z12
    Date: 2008–01

This nep-soc issue is ©2008 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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