nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒02‒16
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Social Capital, Well-Being, and Earnings: Theory and Evidence from Poland By Growiec, Jakub; Growiec, Katarzyna
  2. Promoting Social Participation for Healthy Ageing - A Counterfactual Analysis from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) By Thierry Debrand; Nicolas Sirven
  3. Does participation in productive associations signal trust and creditworthiness ? evidence for Nicaragua By Molina, Ezequiel; Angel-Urdinola, Diego F.
  4. Social Norms and Rationality of Choice By Bossert, Walter; Suzumura, Kotaro
  5. The Dynamic Interplay of Inequality and Trust - An Experimental Study By Ben Greiner; Axel Ockenfels; Peter Werner
  6. Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship? By Ed Hopkins
  7. Social interactions and student achievement in a developing country : An instrumental variables approach By Chaudhury, Nazmul; Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz
  8. Psychosocial resources and social health inequalities in France: Exploratory findings from a general population survey By Florence Jusot; Michel Grignon; Paul Dourgnon
  9. Girl Power? An analysis of peer effects using exogenous changes in the gender make-up of the peer group. By Steven Proud
  10. Peer Effects and Entrepreneurship By Ramana Nanda; Jesper B. Sorensen
  11. Neighborhood Violence and Urban Youth By Anna Aizer

  1. By: Growiec, Jakub; Growiec, Katarzyna
    Abstract: We study the relationship between two distinct dimensions of social capital (bridging and bonding social capital) and the personal performances of individuals: their reported subjective well-being (SWB) and earnings. A theoretical model is put forward which explains the sources and dynamics of social capital formation. It predicts an inverse U-shaped relationship between any type of social capital and SWB, an inverse U-shaped relationship between bridging social capital and earnings, and an unambiguously negative impact of bonding social capital on earnings. The key predictions of the model are confirmed using cross-section survey data from the 2005 wave of the “Social Diagnosis” survey program conducted in Poland. Very low levels of bridging social capital observed in Poland imply that it is unambiguously beneficial to invest in it: both SWB of individuals and their earnings would increase in such case.
    Keywords: bridging social capital; bonding social capital; earnings; subjective well-being; Poland
    JEL: D10 J20
    Date: 2007–12–06
  2. By: Thierry Debrand (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics); Nicolas Sirven (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics)
    Abstract: Promoting social participation of the older population (e.g. membership in voluntary associations) is often seen as a promising strategy for 'healthy ageing' in Europe. Although a growing body of academic literature challenges the idea that the link between social participation and health is well established, some statistical evidence suggest a robust positive relationship may exist for older people. One reason could be that aged people have more time to take part in social activities (due to retirement, fewer familial constraints, etc.); so that such involvement in voluntary associations contributes to maintain network size for social and emotional support; and preserves individuals' cognitive capacities. Using SHARE data for respondents aged fifty and over in 2004, this study proposes to test these hypotheses by evaluating the contribution of social participation to self-reported health (SRH) in eleven European countries. The probability to report good or very good health is calculated for the whole sample (after controlling for age, education, income and household composition) using regression coefficients estimated for individuals who do and for those who do not take part in social activities (with correction for selection bias in these two cases). Counterfactual national levels of SRH are derived from integral computation of cumulative distribution functions of the predicted probability thus obtained. The analysis reveals that social participation contributes by three percentage points to the increase in the share of individuals reporting good or very good health on average. Higher rates of social participation could improve health status and reduce health inequalities within the whole sample and within every country. Our results thus suggest that 'healthy ageing' policies based on social participation promotion may be beneficial for the aged population in Europe.
    Keywords: Healthy ageing, Self-reported health, Social participation, Social capital, SHARE data, Counterfactual analysis, Stochastic dominance
    JEL: I12 Z13
    Date: 2008–01
  3. By: Molina, Ezequiel; Angel-Urdinola, Diego F.
    Abstract: This article studies the extent to which participation in productive associations in Nicaragua contributes to increase individuals ' access to social programs and credit services. By participating in productive associations, individuals give a good signal to firms and are rewarded with better transactions and more access to the services they provide, ceteris paribus. Estimates using 2005 data indicate that househol ds that participate in productive associations display higher access to credit and to social programs that promote investment. Additionally, participation in productive associations is weakly associated to more favorable credit outcomes among those households that receive loans, such as lower interest rates and a lower probability of wanting more credit than what was accessible to them.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,,Corporate Law,Labor Policies,Debt Markets
    Date: 2008–02–01
  4. By: Bossert, Walter; Suzumura, Kotaro
    Abstract: Ever since Sen (1993) criticized the notion of internal consistency of choice, there exists a wide spread perception that the standard rationalizability approach to the theory of choice has difficulties coping with the existence of external social norms. This paper introduces a concept of norm-conditional rationalizability and shows that external social norms can be accommodated so as to be compatible with norm-conditional rationalizability by means of suitably modified revealed preference axioms in the theory of rational choice on general domains à la Richter (1966;1971) and Hansson (1968)
    JEL: D11 D71
    Date: 2007
  5. By: Ben Greiner (Harvard Business School); Axel Ockenfels (University of Cologne, Department of Economics); Peter Werner (University of Cologne, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We study the interplay of inequality and trust in a dynamic game, where trust increases efficiency and thus allows higher growth of the experimental economy in the future. We find that trust is initially high in a treatment starting with equal endowments, but decreases over time. In a treatment with unequal endowments, trust is initially lower yet remains relatively stable. The difference seems partly due to the fact that equal start positions increase subjects' inclination to condition their trust decisions on wealth comparisons, whereas conditional trust is much less prevalent with unequal initial endowments. As a result, with respect to efficiency, the initially more unequal economy fares worse in the short run but better in the long run, and the disparity of wealth distributions across economies mitigates over time.
    Keywords: inequality, trust, growth, laboratory experiments
    JEL: C73 C92 D63 E25 O15
    Date: 2007–10
  6. By: Ed Hopkins
    Date: 2008–02–10
  7. By: Chaudhury, Nazmul; Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz
    Abstract: This paper identifies endogenous social effects in mathematics test performance for eighth graders in rural Bangladesh using information on arsenic contamination of water wells at home as an instrument. In other words, the identification relies on variation in test scores among peers owing to exogenous exposure to arsenic contaminated water wells at home. The results suggest that the peer effect is significant, and school selection plays little role in biasing peer effects estimates.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Primary Education,Secondary Education
    Date: 2008–02–01
  8. By: Florence Jusot (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics); Michel Grignon (Departments of Economics and Health, Aging and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario); Paul Dourgnon (IRDES institut for research and information in health economics)
    Abstract: We study the psychosocial determinants of health, and their impact on social inequalities in health in France. We use a unique general population survey to assess the respective impact on self-assessed health status of subjective perceptions of social capital controlling for standard sociodemographic factors (occupation, income, education, age and gender). The survey is unique for two reasons: First, we use a variety of measures to describe self-perceived social capital (trust and civic engagement, social support, sense of control, and self-esteem). Second, we can link these measures of social capital to a wealth of descriptors of health status and behaviours. We find empirical support for the link between the subjective perception of social capital and health. Sense of control at work is the most important determinant of health status. Other important ones are civic engagement and social support. To a lesser extent, sense of being lower in the social hierarchy is associated with poorer health status. On the contrary, relative deprivation does not affect health in our survey. Since access to social capital is not equally distributed in the population, these findings suggest that psychosocial factors can explain a substantial part of social inequalities in health in France.
    Keywords: social capital, social support, relative deprivation, sense of control, social health inequalities, France
    JEL: J12 I10
    Date: 2007–11
  9. By: Steven Proud
    Abstract: The effect of a child’s peers has long been regarded as an important factor in affecting their educational outcomes. However, these effects follow several different mechanisms and are often difficult to estimate, due to unobserved selection. This paper builds on the work of Hoxby (2000) and uses exogenous changes in the proportion of girls within UK school cohorts to estimate the effect of a more female peer group. I include estimates of effects at a classroom level for schools that appear to contain only one class per cohort to estimate the direct effect of a peer group. Further, I examine if there is a differential effect of boys and girls with differing socioeconomic status, and also examine the effect of a more female peer group on a child’s value added score. I find large significant negative effects of a more female peer group on boy’s outcomes in English, whilst in maths and science, both boys and girls benefit from a more able peer group up until age 11.
    Keywords: peer groups, education
    JEL: J13 D1 I21 I38
    Date: 2008–01
  10. By: Ramana Nanda (Harvard Business School, Entrepreneurial Management Unit); Jesper B. Sorensen (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)
    Abstract: We examine whether the likelihood of entrepreneurial activity depends on the prior career experiences of an individual's co-workers. We argue that peers may increase an individual's likelihood of becoming an entrepreneur through two channels: by increasing the likelihood that an individual will perceive entrepreneurial opportunities, and by increasing his or her willingness to pursue those opportunities. Our analysis uses a unique panel dataset that allows us to track the career histories of individuals across firms. We find that an individual is more likely to become an entrepreneur if his or her co-workers have been entrepreneurs before, or if the co-workers' careers involved frequent movement between firms. Peer influences appear to be substitutes for direct experience: the effects are strongest for those without exposure to entrepreneurship in their family of origin, and for those who have engaged in little inter-firm mobility themselves. These effects are robust to attempts to address concerns about unobserved heterogeneity bias.
    Date: 2006–03
  11. By: Anna Aizer
    Abstract: Three quarters of American children have been exposed to neighborhood violence in their lifetimes. Most of the existing research has concluded that exposure to violence leads to restricted emotional development, aggressive behavior and poor school outcomes. However, this literature fails to account for the fact that children exposed to neighborhood violence are highly disadvantaged in other ways: they are more likely to be black, poor and have poorly educated parents. As such, it is not clear whether exposure to violence or the underlying measures of disadvantage are responsible for the poor child outcomes observed. Using individual survey data on urban youth and their families from Los Angeles, we find that the most violent neighborhoods are also characterized by the highest degree of disadvantage: greatest poverty, highest unemployment, least education. And while living in a violent neighborhood increases the probability of exposure to violence, within violent neighborhoods those personally exposed to street violence are significantly more disadvantaged and are more likely to associate with violent peers than their unexposed neighbors. Once we control for observed and unobserved family disadvantage, the impact of violence declines for some child outcomes, suggesting that underlying disadvantage explains some of the negative outcomes observed, but not all - it is still the case that associating with violent peers is negatively correlated with cognitive test scores. In addition, when we control for underlying differences across families, the relationship between violence and internalizing behavioral problems appears stronger.
    JEL: I1 I3 J15 J24 K42
    Date: 2008–02

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