nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒04‒21
eleven papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. A Caseworker Like Me - Does The Similarity Between Unemployed And Caseworker Increase Job Placements? By Stefanie Behncke; Markus Frölich; Michael Lechner
  2. Managers, Firms and (Secret) Social Networks: The Economics of Freemasonry By Braggion, F.
  3. Fast or Fair? A Study of Response Times By Marco Piovesan; Erik Wengström
  4. “Ingroup Love" and “Outgroup Hate" as Motives for Individual Participation in Intergroup Conflict: A New Game Paradigm By Nir Halevy; Gary Bornstein; Lilach Sagiv
  5. Do Markets Promote Prosocial Behavior? Evidence from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. By E. Anthon Eff; Malcolm M. Dow
  6. The two sides of command in organizations: reading Marx again By Bruno Tinel
  7. Choosing One’s Own Informal Institutions: On Hayek’s Critique of Keynes’s Immoralism By Berggren, Niclas
  8. The Power of Positional Concerns By Benno Torgler; Sascha L. Schmidt; Bruno S. Frey
  9. An Exploratory Study on the Level of Trust towards Online Retailers among Consumers in the United Kingdom and Malaysia By Nasir, Rosniwati; Ponnusamy, Vanitha; Wazeer, Mohd Wazni
  10. A web of intercorrelations: culture, financial reporting and social output By DIMA, BOGDAN; CRISTEA, STEFANA MARIA
  11. Large Institutional Underpinnings of Trustworthiness in Infrastructure Contracts: Trust and Trust Perceptions By Xeni Dassiou; Jon Stern

  1. By: Stefanie Behncke; Markus Frölich; Michael Lechner
    Abstract: This paper examines whether the chances of job placements improve if unemployed persons are counselled by caseworkers who belong to the same social group, defined by gender, age, education, and nationality. Based on an unusually informative dataset, which links Swiss unemployed to their caseworkers, we find positive employment effects of about 4 percentage points if caseworker and unemployed belong to the same social group. Coincidence in a single characteristic, e.g. same gender of caseworker and unemployed, does not lead to detectable effects on employment. These results, obtained by statistical matching methods, are confirmed by several robustness checks.
    Keywords: Social identity, social interactions, public employment services, unemployment, gender, age, education, treatment effects, matching estimators
    JEL: J64 J68 C31
    Date: 2008–04
  2. By: Braggion, F. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationships between managers? a? liations with Freema- sonry and companies' performance. Using a unique data set of 410 companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange between 1895 and 1902, I find that Masonic managers were associated with greater access to credit in small and young companies whose se- curities where traded over the counter. These companies earned higher profits, but the effect is not statistically significant. On the other hand, large publicly quoted corpora- tions that were managed by Freemasons did not obtain greater access to credit; they had lower profiys and lower Tobin's Q. These findings help to understand how social networks are related to companies' performances. Although social networks help to resolve agency problems between lenders and borrowers in firms that have difficulties in obtaining debt finance, in larger publicly quoted companies they are associated with worse agency conflicts between managers and shareholders and with worse economic performance.
    Keywords: Freemasons;Social Networks;Access to Credit
    JEL: G30 G39 N23
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Marco Piovesan (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Erik Wengström (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This paper uses a modified dictator game to investigate the relationship between response times and social preferences. We find that egoistic subjects make faster decisions than subjects with social preferences. Moreover, our within-analysis reveals that, for a given individual, egoistic payoff maximizing decisions are reached quicker than choices expressing social preferences.
    Keywords: response times; social preferences
    JEL: C72 C91
    Date: 2008–04
  4. By: Nir Halevy; Gary Bornstein; Lilach Sagiv
    Abstract: What motivates individual self-sacrificial behavior in intergroup conflicts? Is it the altruistic desire to help the ingroup or the aggressive drive to hurt the outgroup? This paper introduces a new game paradigm, the Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma – Maximizing Difference (IPD-MD) game, designed specifically to distinguish between these two motives. The game involves two groups. Each group member is given a monetary endowment and can decide how much of it to contribute. Contribution can be made to either of two pools, one which benefits the ingroup at a personal cost, and another which, in addition, harms the outgroup. An experiment demonstrated that contributions in the IPD-MD game are made almost exclusively to the cooperative within-group pool. Moreover, pre-play intragroup communication increases intragroup cooperation but not intergroup competition. These results are compared with those observed in the Intergroup Prisoner's Dilemma (IPD) game, where group members' contributions are restricted to the competitive between-group pool.
    Date: 2007–12
  5. By: E. Anthon Eff; Malcolm M. Dow
    Abstract: Recent experimental games conducted by ethnographers (Henrich et al. 2004) have shown that groups with higher levels of market integration exhibit higher levels of prosocial behavior. In order to see whether these results are confirmed in a broader ethnographic sample, this paper draws from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample variables measuring the degree to which a culture seeks to inculcate generosity, honesty, and trust. Using these as dependent variables, models are developed where market-related variables are among the independent variables. The paper uses the methodology developed by Dow (2007) to correct for Galton’s problem, and uses multiple imputation to deal with the problem of missing data. The results fail to confirm a systematic association between generalized prosocial behavior and market integration.
    Keywords: prosocial behavior, multiple imputation, market integration, Galton’s problem
    JEL: R12 F16
    Date: 2008–04
  6. By: Bruno Tinel (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: In his chapter 13 of the Capital, Marx shows that cooperation involves coordination whatever the mode of production is. In his opinion, command in capitalist production has two sides: coordination and exploitation. The main features of command in a democratic organization of production are briefly drawn through this analysis.
    Keywords: democratic organization ; collective labourer ; command ; coordination ; cooperation ; subjection of labour
    Date: 2007–10
  7. By: Berggren, Niclas (The Ratio Institute)
    Abstract: In the main, Hayek favored rules that apply equally to all and located such rules in tradition, beyond conscious construction. This led Hayek to attack Keynes’s immoralism, i.e. the position that one should be free to choose how to lead one’s life irrespective of the informal institutions in place. However, it is argued here that immoralism may be compatible with Hayek’s enterprise since Hayek misinterpreted Keynes, who did not advo-cate the dissolving of all informal rules for everybody. By avoiding this misinterpretation, immoralism can be seen as institutional experimentation at the margin, which Hayek himself favored.
    Keywords: Institutions; rules; traditions; morality; liberty; rule of law
    JEL: B25 O17 P48 Z13
    Date: 2008–04–14
  8. By: Benno Torgler; Sascha L. Schmidt; Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: People care a great deal about their relative economic position and not solely about their absolute economic position. However, behavioral evidence is rare. This paper provides evidence on how the relative income position affects professional sports performances. Our analysis suggests that if a player’s salary is below the average and this difference increases, his performance worsens. Moreover, the larger the income differences, the stronger positional concern effects are observable. We also find that the more the players are integrated, the more evident a relative income effect is. Finally, we find that positional effects are stronger among high performing teams.
    Keywords: Relative income; positional concerns; organizational justice; envy; social comparison; relative derivation; equity theory; prospect theory; loss aversion; performance
    Date: 2008–04
  9. By: Nasir, Rosniwati; Ponnusamy, Vanitha; Wazeer, Mohd Wazni
    Abstract: This study aims to investigate the extant level of trust towards online retailers among consumers in two different geographical and cultural locations – UK and Malaysia based on Michell’s et al. trust model. The objectives of this study are: 1. To identify the predictive variables of customers’ trust towards online retailers 2. To ascertain the extent of the consumer trust variable as being the essential element of online shopping 3. To analyse the differences in perception of online trust between consumers in the United Kingdom and Malaysia The study showed that online retailers are comparatively more trusted in UK than in Malaysia indicative by the higher average levels of trust from consumers in the UK. Additionally, the UK had a higher age group in the 25 – 34 category contributing the highest average trust value compared to Malaysia’s highest average trust value found in the lower 18 – 24 age group. There were a relatively higher percentage of male users; 66 per cent and 78 per cent in the UK and Malaysia respectively. Multiple stepwise regressions were used to analyse the level of trust against the selected trust correlates.
    JEL: L14 L81 O57
    Date: 2007–12–17
    Abstract: In the context of a growing literature on the connection between cultural variables and accounting regulations, the general objective of the paper is to provide a theoretical framework and empirical evidence on the recent trends in financial reporting and on their impact on the dynamics of the social output. Thus, the specific objectives are: 1) to provide an operational definition of culture; 2) to advance a model of the interactions between culture, design of accounting regulations and the economic growth; 3) to test some of these interactions at the European based on an empirical pool data model. The dependent variable are: a dummy aiming to capture the specificity of the IFRSs endorsement in EU; the average real GDP rates of growth; and the explanatory variables which are represented by the cultural descriptors derived from World Values Survey questions. The main results of the paper consist in the following theses: the culture is relevant for the national characteristics of IFRSs implementation in European Union; and the accounting framework matters for the outcomes of social decisions.
    Keywords: Accounting harmonization; culture; financial reporting; social output; world values survey; IFRSs
    JEL: C23 M40 M49
    Date: 2008–04–12
  11. By: Xeni Dassiou (Department of Economics, City University, London); Jon Stern (Department of Economics, City University, London)
    Abstract: This paper discusses trust and trust perceptions in infrastructure contracts. We focus on perceptions of the trustworthiness of the government purchasers of infrastructure services (a) by supplying companies and (b) by governments. In particular, we allow for trust misalignments which may give rise to `undertrusting' and `overtrusting'. The core of the paper sets out a game theoretic model of contracts which we use to explore the impact of trust misalignment both on economic efficiency and on investment levels, taking account both of asset specificity issues and maladaptation costs. We explore flexible contracts with and without pre-payments, rigid contracts (which do not allow for post-investment renegotiation) and hybrid contracts. Their efficiency is compared to an incentive compatible benchmark contract. The model is also used to shed light on current issues on the sustainability of private investment infrastructure contracts both in OECD countries (e.g. Private-Public Partnerships) and in developing countries.
    Date: 2008–04

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