nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒03‒01
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Happiness over the life cycle: exploring age-specific preferences By Lelkes, Orsolya
  2. One Chance in a Million: Altruism and the Bone Marrow Registry By Ted Bergstrom; Rod Garratt; Damien Sheehan-Connor
  3. Corruption and Political Interest: Empirical Evidence at the Micro Level By Benno Torgler; Bin Dong
  4. Study on the Social and Labour Market Integration of Ethnic Minorities By Klaus F. Zimmermann; Martin Kahanec; Amelie Constant; Don DeVoretz; Liliya Gataullina; Anzelika Zaiceva
  5. The Influence of Secrecy on the Communication Structure of Covert Networks By Lindelauf, R.; Borm, P.E.M.; Hamers, H.J.M.
  6. Differences in Social Preferences - Profitable for the Firm? By Küpper, Hans-Ulrich; Sandner, Kai
  7. Why Has the Border Effect in the Japanese Machinery Sectors Declined? The Role of Business Networks in East Asian-Machinery Trade By Kyoji Fukao; Toshihiro Okubo
  8. Economic And Social Determinants Of The Crime Rate In Turkey:Cross-Section Analysis By Cömertler, Necmiye; Kar, Muhsin
  9. What's in a name? An inquiry on the cognitive and entrepreneurial profile of the social entrepreneur By Cools, E.; Vermeulen, S.
  10. Empowering women via microfinance in fragile states. By Beatriz Armendariz; Nigel Roome

  1. By: Lelkes, Orsolya
    Abstract: Existing evidence suggests a U-shaped relationship between age and life satisfaction, when controlling for income and education and other personal characteristics. On the other hand, there is no clear pattern between old age and happiness without the use of controls. Thus, it is not ageing as such, which results declining happiness, but rather the circumstances which are associated with ageing. Which of these circumstances could be averted? Are the preferences of the elderly are similar to others? The paper aims to explore these issues, using the European Social Survey. The results imply that the varying level of life satisfaction during the life cycle may be explained partly by changing preferences (by the decreasing importance of work, the increasing importance of religion, and the declining disutility of being single), and partly by changing circumstances. While changing preferences seem to increase well-being, changing circumstances seem to decrease it. Exceptions are the few positive changes in circumstances, which are likely to contribute to higher well-being, include increasing religiosity and relatively low pensioners’ poverty across the 21 European countries examined here. Old days thus are happy above all due to changing priorities in life.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction; Age; Preferences
    JEL: J14 I31 Z10
    Date: 2008–02–20
  2. By: Ted Bergstrom (University of California, Santa Barbara); Rod Garratt (University of California, Santa Barbara); Damien Sheehan-Connor (UCSB)
    Abstract: Transplants of donated stem cells save the lives of many patients with blood diseases. Donation is somewhat painful, but rarely has lasting adverse effects. Patients can accept transplants only from donors with compatible immune systems. Those lacking a sibling match must seek donations from the population at large. The probability that two persons of the same race are compatible is less than 1/10,000. Health authorities maintain a registry of several million genetically-tested potential donors who have agreed to donate if asked. We study the peculiar structure of voluntary public good provision represented by the registry, and compare the marginal benefits and marginal costs of expanding the registry.
    Keywords: altruism, voluntary contributions of public goods, value of statistical life, benefit-cost analysis, donations, bone marrow registry, genetics,
    Date: 2007–08–20
  3. By: Benno Torgler; Bin Dong
    Abstract: In recent years the topic of corruption has attracted a great deal of attention. However, there is still a lack of empirical evidence about the determinants of corruption at the micro level. Therefore we explore in detail the impact of political interest using three different proxies. Furthermore, investigation of the effects of political interest on corruption has been neglected in the present literature. We address this deficiency by analyzing a cross-section of individuals, using the World Values Survey to explore the determinants of corruption using not only perceived corruption as a dependent variable, but also the justifiability of corruption. In addition, we present empirical evidence at both the cross-country level and at the within country level. The results of the multivariate analysis suggest that political interest has an impact on corruption, when controlling for additional significant factors such as institutional conditions (e.g., voice and accountability).
    Keywords: Corruption; Political Interest; Social Norms
    JEL: K42 D72 O17 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  4. By: Klaus F. Zimmermann (IZA, DIW Berlin, Bonn University); Martin Kahanec (IZA); Amelie Constant (IZA, DIW DC, Georgetown University); Don DeVoretz (IZA, Simon Fraser University); Liliya Gataullina (IZA, DIW Berlin); Anzelika Zaiceva (IZA, University of Bologna)
    Abstract: Report for the High Level Advisory Group on Social and Labour Market Integration of Ethnic Minorities and the European Commission
    Date: 2008–02
  5. By: Lindelauf, R.; Borm, P.E.M.; Hamers, H.J.M. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: In order to be able to devise successful strategies for destabilizing terrorist organizations it is vital to recognize and understand their structural properties. This paper deals with the opti- mal communication structure of terrorist organizations when considering the tradeoff between secrecy and operational efficiency. We use elements from game theory and graph theory to determine the `optimal' communication structure a covert network should adopt. Every covert organization faces the constant dilemma of staying secret and ensuring the necessary coordina- tion between its members. For several different secrecy and information scenarios this dilemma is modeled as a game theoretic bargaining problem over the set of connected graphs of given order. Assuming uniform exposure probability of individuals in the network we show that the Nash bargaining solution corresponds to either a network with a central individual (the star graph) or an all-to-all network (the complete graph) depending on the link detection probabil- ity, which is the probability that communication between individuals will be detected. If the probability that an individual is exposed as member of the network depends on the information hierarchy determined by the structure of the graph, the Nash bargaining solution corresponds to cellular-like networks.
    Keywords: covert networks;terrorist networks;Nash bargaining;game theory;information;secrecy.
    JEL: C50 C78
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Küpper, Hans-Ulrich; Sandner, Kai
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of heterogeneous (social) preferences on the weighing and the combination of performance measures as well as on firm profitability. We consider rivalry, egoism and altruism as extreme forms within the continuum of possible preferences and show, that the principal normally can exploit both altruistic as well as rivalistic behavior of his agents. Firm profits reach their maximum value, if the agents differentiate as much as possible in their individual characteristics. We provide further insights that in order to realize these gains in profitability, reallocations of participations in performance measures are necessary, where competitive agents have to be privileged compared to altruistic agents. In this context, stochastic interdependencies are of importance since they yield overlapping functions of the share parameters causing additional adaptions in the optimal design of the wage compensation system.
    Keywords: Social Preferences; Rivalry; Altruism; Egoism; Team Composition; Performance Measurement
    JEL: D23 D82 D86 M41 M52
    Date: 2008–02–21
  7. By: Kyoji Fukao; Toshihiro Okubo
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the causes of the decline in Japan's border effect in four machinery industries (electrical, general, precision, and transportation machinery) by estimating gravity equations for Japan's international and interregional trade. In the estimation, we explicitly take account of firms' networks. We find that ownership relations usually enhance trade between two regions (countries); moreover, we find that we can explain 35% of the decline in Japan's border effect from 1980 to 1995 in the electrical machinery industry by the increase of international networks.
    Keywords: Gravity Model, Border Effect, Networks, Fragmentation
    JEL: F14 F17 F21 L14
    Date: 2008–02
  8. By: Cömertler, Necmiye; Kar, Muhsin
    Abstract: There is an important support to the view in public that crime rate has been increasing in the recent years in Turkey. In addition, it is argued that social and economic factors play an important role in increasing the crime in the country. The aim of this article is to determine to what extent the economic and social factors are important in this process for 81 provinces. According to the cross section analysis based on 2000 data in the province level, it is observed that income, unemployment, migration, education, demographic factors such as population density and birth rate and urbanization ratio are the main and important determinants of crime rate.
    Keywords: Crime rate; per capita income; unemployment; migration; urbanization; schooling rate; cross-section analysis; Turkey
    JEL: A13 H75 Z13 C21
    Date: 2007
  9. By: Cools, E.; Vermeulen, S. (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)
    Abstract: Given the rise of social enterprises, the aim of this study is to get more insight into what typifies social entrepreneurs. Although entrepreneurship research has a long tradition in the study of the individual entrepreneur, there are not many studies on the profile of the social entrepreneur. Our research wants to extend the existing knowledge about who the entrepreneur is by comparing the cognitive and entrepreneurial profile of different types of entrepreneurs. Our inquiry addresses two main questions: (1) Does the cognitive style of social entrepreneurs differ significantly from the profile of commercial entrepreneurs? (2) Is there a significant difference between the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of commercial and social firms? The data for this research are collected in two phases using two online surveys. For the cognitive styles (as measured with the Cognitive Style Indicator), we find no significant differences between commercial entrepreneurs (n = 152) and social entrepreneurs (n = 41). Looking at the entrepreneurial orientation of commercial and social enterprises, we find that commercial enterprises score significantly higher on EO than social enterprises. Interestingly, significant differences are found for the innovativeness and risk-taking dimensions of EO, but not for the proactiveness dimension. To conclude, we found that the cognitive-based approach is inadequate to capture the behavioral characteristics of social entrepreneurs within their organization. However, in the environment in which they operate, social entrepreneurs seem to behave differently than commercial entrepreneurs. Implications for further research and for practitioners and policy makers are discussed.
    Keywords: cognitive styles, entrepreneurial orientation, types of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurship
    Date: 2008–02–11
  10. By: Beatriz Armendariz (CERMi, Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Business School, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels and Harvard University.); Nigel Roome (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Business School, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels and TiasNimbas Business School, Tilburg Campus, The Netherlands.)
    Abstract: Ever since microfinance was popularized in the mid-1970s in Bangladesh one of its salient features has been the overwhelming representation of women, mostly in fragile states. Institutional structures and social norms in such states are very rigid. Nevertheless, the trend has increased steadily, particularly during the 1980s. According to 2006 Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, seven out of ten microfinance clients are women. Millions of these women are married or live with a partner, and many have children. Relative to initial lending practices by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the bias in favor of loans to women in microfinance has been accompanied by an increasing trend to exclude men from microfinance services, particularly in the context of loans to those with very low income levels. The practice of exclusion might however prove to be counterproductive for it can generate frictions within households, as men feel increasingly threatened in their role as primary breadwinners within the household. In this essay we argue that the promotion of women in microfinance initiatives and the bias against men is taking place in the absence of solid empirical evidence on the effects of this approach on the balance of power in households and on the health, education and well-being of all household members. We hold to these to be key aspects of development. We further argue that this issue deserves research attention given the possibility of unforeseen outcomes and adverse consequences that run counter to the goal to encourage microfinance initiatives as a means to promote development. To clarify the central issues, on the one hand, higher household income in the hands of women might increase health and education for women and their household members –we call this the women-empowerment effect. On the other hand, the exclusion of men from access to subsidized finance might create frictions, and rebound effects that diminish the supportive role women play for their spouses and wider household members in the production of health and education – we call this the women-disempowering effect. In the event that the latter effect dominates over the former, then subsidized microfinance for women might have no overall positive impact, or even worse, a negative impact on health and education at the household level and the women in households. An even more challenging issue is to better understand what influence social and institutional conditions exercise on the empowerment and disempowerment effects experienced by women in microfinance initiatives and the subsequent outcomes in terms of development. This issue matters because microfinance initiatives are specifically directed at household level, and, yet prevailing social and institutional norms are determined at community or societal level. In the circumstances where social and institutional conditions dominate the effects of microfinance initiatives it would imply that microfinance projects might lead to better outcomes when they are accompanied by measures for institutional capacity building that promote the rights and role of women in society. This essay is structured as follows. First, it provides an overview of what we currently know about microfinance, gender, health and education in the context of Bangladesh, where most research has been conducted. Second, some anecdotal evidence from Bangladesh and Africa on the notion of microfinance empowerment is presented and discussed. This raises questions about the influence of institutional structures and norms on the enhanced capacity of women to assert their role as the main providers of health and education, mainly arising from the fact that the empowerment of women generates frictions with their partners, which in turn leads to a potential disempowerment effects. It also suggests that institutional structures and norms serve to constrain the outcomes of microfinance initiatives. Third, anecdotal evidence from Chiapas, in southern Mexico, is outlined which provided the basis for empirical research on new approaches to microfinance now being undertaken in the region. Fourth, the essay outlines this experimental intervention in southern Mexico, where the women borrowers in a microfinance initiative can invite their spouses to be part of women-only solidarity groups as borrowers, in order to see whether potential frictions could be eliminated as a way better to enhance women empowerment and provide for improved access to health and education at the household level. The main challenges of implementing this type of intervention as revealed through the experience to date in the South Mexican experiment are described. Finally, a fifth section spells out some concluding remarks.
    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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.