nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒05‒24
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Measuring People's Trust By John F. Ermisch; Diego Gambetta; Heather Laurie; Thomas Siedler; S.C. Noah Uhrig
  2. On the Economics of Corporate Responsibility By Lundgren, Tommy
  3. Does Self Help Group Participation Lead to Asset Creation?, By Bali Swain, Ranjula; Varghese, Adel
  4. Mums and their sons; Dads and their daughters: Panel Data Evidence of Parental Altruism across 14 EU Countries By Jose Alberto Molina; Maria Navarro; Ian Walker
  5. The social science of economics By Brian Loasby
  6. Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle By Alison L. Booth; Jan Van Ours
  7. Inequality and Quiescence: A Continuing Conundrum By R. E. Pahl; David Rose; Liz Spencer
  8. Wealth Constraints, Skill Prices or Networks: What Determines Emigrant Selection? By Jesús Fernández-Huertas Moraga
  9. A Model of Religious Investment to Explain the Success of Megachurches By Marc von der Ruhr; Joseph Daniels
  10. On Feelings as a Heuristic for Making Offers in Ultimatum Negotiations By Stephen, Andrew T.; Pham, Michel Tuan
  11. Bargaining Set Solution Concepts in Dynamic Cooperative Games By Hellman, Ziv
  12. The Behaviour of Corporate Actors. A Survey of the Empirical Literature By Christoph Engel

  1. By: John F. Ermisch (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Diego Gambetta (Nuffield College, Oxfod); Heather Laurie (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Thomas Siedler (DIW Berlin); S.C. Noah Uhrig (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: We measure trust and trustworthiness in British society with an experiment using real monetary rewards and a sample of the British population. The study also asks the most typical survey question that aims to measure trust, showing that it does not predict ‘trust’ as measured in the experiment. Overall, about 40% of people were willing to trust a stranger in our experiment, and their trust was rewarded one-half of the time. Analysis of variation in the trust behaviour in our survey suggests that trust is more likely if people are older, their financial situation is ‘comfortable’, they are a homeowner, or they are divorced or separated. Trustworthiness is less likely if a person’s financial situation is perceived by them as ‘just getting by’ or difficult.
    Keywords: social trust
    Date: 2008–01
  2. By: Lundgren, Tommy (Umeå School of Business)
    Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the economic mechanisms behind corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a micro-economic model of the firm. The motivation of this study is to shed some light on the potential causes of the observed phenomena of voluntary over-compliance among firms. We consider a few diferent models, both static and dynamic, to investigate how various assumptions about costs and benefits may aspect CSR behavior through a stock of goodwill capital. Our analysis show that in optimum, the profit maximizing firm must balance costs and benefits of CSR. From a cursory look into the CSR literature, we find evidence that some of the hypotheses that can be derived from the models in this paper can be verified empirically.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility; dynamics; goodwill; uncertainty
    Date: 2007–11–22
  3. By: Bali Swain, Ranjula (Department of Economics); Varghese, Adel (IFMR & Texas A & M University)
    Abstract: We evaluate the effect of Self Help Group participation on a long term impact parameter, namely asset creation. Indian Self Help Groups (SHGs)are unique in that they are mainly NGO-formed microfinance groups but later funded by commercial banks. The results reveal that longer membership in SHGs positively impacts asset creation, robust to various asset specifications. With longer participation in SHGs, members move away from pure agriculture as an income source towards other sources such as livestock income. Training by NGOs positively impacts asset creation but the type of SHG linkage per se has no effect.
    Keywords: Asset creation; microfinance; impact; Self Help Groups
    JEL: G21 I32 O12
    Date: 2008–05–19
  4. By: Jose Alberto Molina (Department of Economic Analysis, University of Zaragoza, Spain); Maria Navarro (Department of Economic Analysis, University of Zaragoza, Spain); Ian Walker (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, UK)
    Abstract: We study how fathers’ and mothers’ income satisfaction correlate with the income satisfaction of their sons and daughters, as well as with other economic and sociodemographic variables. We estimate these correlations using data on parents and children in households surveyed in the eight waves of the European Community Household Panel-ECHP (1994-2001) for 14 EU countries. To assess the robustness of simple correlations to we exploit siblings in the Panel and we investigate the sensitivity of the estimates to the inclusion of other control variables. We also adopt a multi-level random effects ordered probit specification that exploits step-parents in the data to allow us to decompose nature from nurture effects. Our headline results suggest strong altruism effects, but these estimated effects differ across countries, differ between mothers and fathers, and are different between sons and daughters.
    Date: 2007–06–12
  5. By: Brian Loasby (SCEME, University of Stirling)
    Abstract: The argument of this paper is that much modern economics is drastically undersocialised because it lacks an understanding of the distinctive characteristics of the evolved human mind, despite the significant insights provided by three of our most famous economists, Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall and Friedrich Hayek. This deficiency results from a failure to apply what may be considered the defining principle of economics, that of analysing the implications of scarcity. These implications challenge the adequacy of a theoretical structure based on the confrontation of preference functions and opportunity sets, even when extended to include formal interdependence, as in game theory; they require both a more modest view of human cognitive abilities and a more extensive view of human motivation and potential.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, Hayek
    JEL: B41 Z1
    Date: 2007–11
  6. By: Alison L. Booth (Department of Economics, University of Essex); Jan Van Ours (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: Using fixed effects ordered logit estimation, we investigate the relationship between part-time work and working hours satisfaction; job satisfaction; and life satisfaction. We account for interdependence within the family using data on partnered men and women from the British Household Panel Survey. We find that men have the highest hours-of-work satisfaction if they work full-time without overtime hours but neither their job satisfaction nor their life satisfaction are affected by how many hours they work. Life satisfaction is influenced only by whether or not they have a job. For women we are confronted with a puzzle. Hours satisfaction and job satisfaction indicate that women prefer part-time jobs irrespective of whether these are small or large. In contrast, female life satisfaction is virtually unaffected by hours of work. Women without children do not care about their hours of work at all, while women with children are significantly happier if they have a job regardless of how many hours it entails.
    Date: 2007–10
  7. By: R. E. Pahl (Institute for Social and Economic Research); David Rose (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Liz Spencer (New Perspectives)
    Abstract: How may we account for the fact that most people appear to accept widespread social and economic inequalities? This is a question that has often been posed in the social sciences. One possible explanation is that individuals tend to make comparisons with others like themselves and so, as a result, do not appreciate the full range of inequality. This was the conclusion drawn by research in the 1960s and was re-affirmed by further research in the 1970s. However, more recently, it has been suggested that social and economic change in the intervening period may have had effects on the range and type of comparisons people are able to make. In particular, it has been argued that the growth of the mass media has exposed people to a broader range of lifestyles and the expansion of the consumer society has created ever greater desires. In these circumstances, it is thought that people's horizons will have expanded so that they no longer have such restricted points of reference for their social comparisons. In this paper, we use evidence from a small scale pilot qualitative study to investigate social comparisons in the 21st century. We find that, in many ways, social comparisons are still narrow and knowledge of the true extent of inequality is still limited. What comparisons people do make appear to be based on lifestyle and consumption. Hence, they are neither resentful of the super-rich, nor of others closer to themselves who have done better in life. However, they are very aware of their advantages compared with less fortunate members of society. Our respondents see themselves as members of a comfortable middle mass of 'ordinary, hard-working families'. The paper concludes with some reflections on the nature of social cohesion in the UK today.
    Date: 2007–09
  8. By: Jesús Fernández-Huertas Moraga
    Abstract: The productive characteristics of migrating individuals, emigrant selection, affect welfare. The empirical estimation of the degree of selection suffers from a lack of complete and nationally representative data. This paper uses a new and better dataset to address both issues: the ENET (Mexican Labor Survey), which identifies emigrants right before they leave and allows a direct comparison to non-migrants. This dataset presents a relevant dichotomy: it shows on average negative selection for Mexican emigrants to the United States for the period 2000-2004 together with positive selection in Mexican emigration out of rural Mexico to the United States in the same period. Three theories that could explain this dichotomy are tested. Whereas higher skill prices in Mexico than in the US are enough to explain negative selection in urban Mexico, its combination with network effects and wealth constraints is required to account for positive selection in rural Mexico.
    Keywords: international migration, selection, wealth constraints, household survey
    JEL: F22 O15 J61 D33
    Date: 2008–03–12
  9. By: Marc von der Ruhr (Department of Economics, St. Norbert College); Joseph Daniels (Center for Global and Economic Studies, Marquette University)
    Abstract: Despite their non-traditional approach, megachurches have grown significantly in the United States since 1980. This paper constructs a model of religious investment to examine how “seeker”-oriented megachurches succeed in attracting and retaining new members. The model illustrates that megachurches have been able to encourage additional religious investment through group-based activities. Hence, these activities may be viewed as a subsidy for religious investment. As a result, individuals associated with megachurches increase their religious investment relative to individuals associated with non-megachurches. Data from the FACT2000 survey provide evidence that megachurches employ groups to help subsidize individuals’ religious investment, and that the resulting religious capital rises among members of megachurches relative to members of non-megachurches.
    Keywords: Megachurches, Religious Investment, Subsidy
    JEL: Z12
    Date: 2008–05
  10. By: Stephen, Andrew T.; Pham, Michel Tuan
    Abstract: This research examines how the reliance on emotional feelings as a heuristic influences the proposal of offers in negotiations. Results from three experiments based on the classic ultimatum game show that, compared to proposers who do not rely on their feelings, proposers who rely on their feelings make less generous offers in the standard ultimatum game, more generous offers in a variant of the game allowing responders to make counteroffers, and less generous offers in the dictator game where no responses are allowed. Reliance on feelings triggers a more literal form of play, whereby proposers focus more on how they feel toward the offers themselves than on how they feel toward the possible outcomes of these offers, as if their offers were the final outcomes. Proposers relying on their feelings also tend to focus on gist-based, simpler construals of negotiations that capture only the essential aspects of the situation.
    Keywords: affect; emotions; heuristics; bargaining; ultimatum game; affect as information; affect heuristic; trust in feelings
    JEL: D81 D11 D71 A13 A12 C70 D83
    Date: 2008–05–08
  11. By: Hellman, Ziv
    Abstract: This paper is concerned with the question of defining the bargaining set, a cooperative game solution, when cooperation takes place in a dynamic setting. The focus is on dynamic cooperative games in which the players face (finite or infinite) sequences of exogenously specified TU-games and receive sequences of imputations against those static cooperative games in each time period. Two alternative definitions of what a ‘sequence of coalitions’ means in such a context are considered, in respect to which the concept of a dynamic game bargaining set may be defined, and existence and non-existence results are studied. A solution concept we term ‘subgame-stable bargaining set sequences’ is also defined, and sufficient conditions are given for the non-emptiness of subgame-stable solutions in the case of a finite number of time periods.
    Keywords: Cooperative game; Repeated game; Bargaining set
    JEL: C71 C73
    Date: 2008–04–17
  12. By: Christoph Engel (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: Much of behavioural research, both in economics and in psychology, is limited in one respect: it tests isolated individuals. In many practically relevant situations, there are discernible actors, but these actors are not individuals. Rather firms, regulatory bodies, associations, countries or international organisations become active. The social problem at hand is best understood if one attributes judgement and decision making to higher level aggregates of individuals. Which elements from the rich body of behavioural evidence transfer to these corporate actors? Are there other deviations from the predictions of the rational choice model, not present or studied in individuals? This paper surveys the empirical literature from experimental economics, psychology, sociology and law. While some building blocks, like the behaviour of managers and of ad hoc groups, are relatively well understood, our knowledge about the effects of more elaborate internal structure on the dealings of corporate actors with the outer world is still relatively limited.
    Keywords: Behaviour, Firms, Organizations, Associations, Groups
    JEL: C92 D21 D23 K22 L20
    Date: 2008–05
  13. By: Nicolò Bellanca (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are analyzed through nine dilemmas that they face in their ordinary functioning. These dilemmas rise from typical difficulties of collective action. When aid and emergency activities are carried out, they get even harder because of further difficulties which are due to the principal-agent relationship and the reduction of transaction costs. In the last section of the paper, the work of NGOs is examined in contexts of humanitarian emergencies and the new “democratic” aid conditionality which followed to the end of the Cold War.
    Keywords: Non-Governmental Organization; Collective Action; Agency Dilemma; Transaction Cost; Incentive.
    Date: 2008
  14. By: Antonio Magliulo (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: Il “paradosso della felicità in economia” ha suscitato un interesse crescente tra studiosi di tutto il mondo. Nelle società opulente gli individui, nonostante l’aumento di reddito, non si dichiarano più felici. Una delle spiegazioni proposte si basa sulla constatazione che la crescita economica può distruggere alcuni beni relazionali da cui la felicità dipende: rapporti familiari, amicali, affettivi e civili. La spiegazione si avvale di un’interpretazione storica: il marginalismo, disconoscendo la natura economica dei beni relazionali, avrebbe offuscato il tema della felicità in economia. Questa ricerca intende ricostruire la storia di un tentativo, negletto ma rilevante, compiuto da Menger e Böhm-Bawerk e successivamente da Wicksteed e Robbins di risolvere il problema delle relazioni umane in economia.
    Keywords: Scuola Austriaca, Economia e Felicità
    JEL: B13 D60
    Date: 2008

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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