nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒02‒23
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Reputation, Group Structure and Social Tensions By Dominic Rohner
  2. The analysis of welfare state effects on social trust in a multidimensional approach By Tamilina, Larysa
  3. Can Social Norms Affect the International Allocation of Innovation? By Guido Cozzi
  4. Why do I like people like me? By Manuel F. Bagues; Maria Jose Perez Villadoniga
  5. When Clusters become Networks By Sandra Phlippen; Bert van der Knaap
  6. Do immigrants cause crime? By Milo Bianchi; Paolo Buonanno; Paolo Pinotti
  7. Psychosocial Resources and Social Health Inequalities in France: Exploratory Findings from a General Population Survey By Florence Jusot; Michel Grignon; Paul Dourgnon
  8. Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship? By Ed Hopkins
  9. CSR in Belgium: the institutional context and practices By Louche, C.; Van Liedekerke, Luc; Everaert, Patricia; Leroy, Dirk; Rossy, Ans; d'Huart, Marie
  10. Banking Sector Reforms and Co-operative Credit Institutions in India By Shah, Deepak

  1. By: Dominic Rohner (University of York)
    Abstract: Social tensions impede social cohesion and public goods provision. They can also be a driving force for more serious conflicts such as civil wars. Surprisingly, however, the emergence of social tensions has only rarely been studied in the literature. In the present contribution a game-theoretic model highlights how reputation concerns and the structure of group cleavages matter for the emergence of social tensions. In particular, the respective effects of fractionalisation, polarisation and segregation are assessed. The predictions of the model can account for recent empirical evidence on ethnic conflicts. The framework can also be applied to the study of social capital and merger failures.
    Keywords: Conflict, Information, Reputation, Ethnicity, Social Capital
    JEL: C73 D74 L14 Z13
    Date: 2008–01
  2. By: Tamilina, Larysa (Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Bremen)
    Abstract: Crowding-out hypothesis asserts that in the presence of developed social obligations, social trust levels tend to be low. Empirical evidence of the crowding-out is however poor while this relationship is mainly studied under narrow assumption about unidimensionality of welfare state development operationalized through social spending as a percentage of GDP. The main objective of this study is to show that allowing for multidimensionality in welfare states provides more support for the crowding-out. The multidimensionality is formed around three axes: functional, outcome and qualitative. Functional dimension is defined on the basis of functions social policy performs taking as an example pension and unemployment spending. Outcome dimension accounts for the effects of decommodification and stratification on interpersonal and institutional trust. And, finally, qualitative dimension describes the impact of social provisions’ characteristics, namely their institutional design, delivery form and mode of financing on social trust levels. Empirical results generally support the idea that the sign in the relationship between welfare state and social trust depends on the measure of welfare state development.
    Keywords: crowding-out; social trust ; welfare state ; multidimensionality ; social benefits
    Date: 2008–02
  3. By: Guido Cozzi
    Abstract: If economic agents coordinate on social norms more oriented towards the protection of national industries, an asymmetric in- ternational specialization in the research and development (R&D) arises even in a tariff free world with no a priori differences across countries in endowments, demography or technology. This paper exploits the indifference in the composition of R&D expenditure across sectors of the typical multi-sector Schumpeterian framework (forward-looking decisions, CRS R&D technology and free entry) to construct a theory of the international allocation of innovation and education based on sunspot equilibrium. A role for industrial policies as mere coordination devices emerges in an international Schumpeterian framework. The implications for the relationships between inequality and growth are examined.
    Keywords: Schumpeterian Growth Theory, Inequality, International Trade, Social Norms, Indeterminacy, Sunspots.
    JEL: O41 O32 D33 F43
  4. By: Manuel F. Bagues; Maria Jose Perez Villadoniga
    Abstract: In many dimensions the ability to assess knowledge depends critically on the observer's own knowledge of that dimension. Building on this feature, this paper offers both theoretical and empirical evidence showing that, in those tasks where multidisciplinary knowledge is required, evaluations exhibit a similar-to-me effect: candidates who excel in the same dimensions as the evaluator tend to be ranked relatively higher. It is also shown that, if races or genders differ in their distribution of ability, group discrimination will arise unless evaluators (i) are well informed about the extent of intergroup differences and (ii) they may condition their assessments on candidates' group belonging.
    Keywords: Statistical discrimination, Evaluation biases
    JEL: J71 D82
    Date: 2008–02
  5. By: Sandra Phlippen (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Bert van der Knaap (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Policy makers spend large amounts of public resources on the foundation of science parks and other forms of geographically clustered business activities, in order to stimulate regional innovation. Underlying the relation between clusters and innovation is the assumption that co-located firms engaged in innovative activities benefit from knowledge that diffuses locally. In order to access this knowledge, firms are often required to form more- or less formal relations with co-located firms. Empirical evidence shows however that besides some success cases like Silicon Valley and the Emilia- Romagna region where firms collaborate intensively, many regional clusters are mere co-locations of firms. To enhance our understanding of why some clusters become networks of strategic collaboration and others don’t, we study link formation within European biopharmaceutical clusters. More specifically we look at the effect of cluster characteristics such as number of start-up firms, established firms or academic institutions, or the nature of the collaborations on the probability of local link formation
    Keywords: regional clusters; networks; local & global linkages; pharmaceutical industry
    JEL: R11 R12 R58 D83 D85
    Date: 2007–12–20
  6. By: Milo Bianchi; Paolo Buonanno; Paolo Pinotti
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the empirical relationship between immigration and crime across Italian provinces during the period 1990-2003. Drawing on police administrative data, we first document that the size of immigrant population is positively correlated with the incidence of most types of crime, as well as with the overall number of criminal offenses. However, using changes of immigrant population in other European countries to identify exogenous shifts of immigrant population in Italy, the causal effect seems limited to some categories of crime: murders, robberies and, to a lesser extent, thefts.
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Florence Jusot (Institut de Recherche et de Documentation en Economie de la Santé (IRDES), Paris, France); Michel Grignon (Departments of Economics and Health, Aging, & Society, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster Universitym Associate Researcher, IRDES, France); Paul Dourgnon (Institut de Recherche et de Documentation en Economie de la Santé (IRDES), Paris, France)
    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
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Ed Hopkins
    Abstract: This paper briefly and informally surveys different theoretical models of relative concerns and their relation to inequality. Models of inequity aversion in common use in experimental economics imply a negative relation between inequality and happiness. In contrast, empirical studies on happiness typically employ models of relative concerns that assume that increases in others’ income always have a negative effect on own happiness. However, in these latter models, the relation between inequality and happiness can be positive. One possible solution is a rivalry model where a distinction is made between endowment and reward inequality which have respectively a negative and positive effect on happiness. These different models and their contrasting results may clarify why the empirical relationship between inequality and happiness has been difficult to establish.
    Keywords: : inequality, relative position, social preferences, tournaments, evolution.
    Date: 2008–02–11
  9. By: Louche, C.; Van Liedekerke, Luc; Everaert, Patricia; Leroy, Dirk; Rossy, Ans; d'Huart, Marie (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)
    Abstract: Corporate Social Responsibility is a quite recent concept in Belgium which has gained significant momentum since 1995. In May 1997, Belgium set up a legal framework for sustainable development. In April 2006, the government adopted a Reference Framework for CSR followed in 2007 by the CSR action plan. Next to governmental initiatives, the number of actors and platforms involved in CSR has significantly increased leading to the multiplication of CSR initiatives. However, it would be overoptimistic to state that CSR is a well and equally established concept and a set of practices among all Belgian companies. Indeed, CSR in Belgium offers great disparities and diversities. Based on multiple sources of information, the paper provides a descriptive and narrative view on CSR in Belgium, gradually leading towards reflection by the end of the paper. After a brief overview of the context for corporate social responsibility in Belgium, the paper investigates the different components that have been shaping CSR since the 1970s. Subsequently it zooms in to the CSR practices in Belgian companies. Finally, conclusions are drawn on the progress made in Belgium in the area of corporate social responsibility and the future prospects.
    Date: 2007–12–06
  10. By: Shah, Deepak
    Abstract: The credit cooperatives in Maharashtra have shown slower growth in their membership and institutional financing. On the other hand, a faster growth has been observed in outstanding against loan advances. A lackadaisical approach of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Credit Societies (PACS) has been observed towards SC/ST members, particularly in terms of their coverage, pattern of loan advances to them and recovery pattern. The study has identified several issues that need to be taken cognizance of to revitalize the rural credit delivery system through the cooperatives. One of these is wide variations in total and crop loan advances across various districts and regions of Maharashtra. A decline in the loan advances with rise in GCA in the Konkan region is another issue, but the most important one among all is the mounting overdues and non-performing assets (NPAs) of the cooperatives operating in both forward and backward regions of Maharashtra. The viability of two central level credit institutions, viz. Sangli District Central Cooperative Bank and Buldana District Central Cooperative Bank, has been estimated. In order to rejuvenate the rural credit delivery system through cooperatives, the major problems facing the system, viz. high transaction cost, poor repayment performance, mounting NPAs, distributional aspect of credit, low coverage of SC/ST members, etc. need to be tackled with more fiscal jurisprudence reserving exemplary punishment for willful defaults, particularly by the large farmers.
    Keywords: Banking Sector Reforms Co-operative Credit Institutions
    JEL: G21
    Date: 2008–02

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