nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒06‒21
seventeen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. The Impact of Social Capital on Crime: Evidence from the Netherlands By Akçomak, Semih; Weel, Bas ter
  2. Determinants of In-group Bias: Group Affiliation or Guilt-aversion? By Werner Güth; Matteo Ploner; Tobias Regner
  3. Public Goods, Social Norms and Naive Beliefs By Edward Cartwright; Amrish Patel
  4. Mafia Business: economic performances of the organised crime and the role of the public policies By Suppa, Alberto
  5. Information Trading in Social Networks By Karavaev, Andrei
  6. Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens By Reinhardt, Forest L.; Stavins, Robert N.; Vietor, Richard H.K.
  7. Religion and Income By L. Bettendorf; E. Dijkgraaf
  8. Altruism, Partner Choice, and Fixed-Cost Signalling By Andriy Zapechelnyuk; Ro'i Zultan
  9. Crime and Partnerships By Michael Svarer
  10. Keeping the wheels turning : multi-level dynamics in organizing networks of practice By Agterberg, M.; Hooff, B. van den; Huysman, M.
  11. Leadership in online knowledge networks : challenges and coping strategies in a network of practice By Agterberg, M.; Huysman, M.; Hooff, B. van den
  12. No 'Third Way' for Economic Organizations? Networks and Quasi-Markets in Broadcasting By Simon Deakin; Ana Lourenço; Stephen Pratten
  13. Social Effects in a Multi-Agent Investment Game. An Experimental Analysis By Luigi Mittone; Matteo Ploner
  14. Networks for change: How networks influence organizational change By Manuel Portugal Ferreira
  15. Values, inequality and happiness By Claudia Biancotti; Giovanni D'Alessio
  16. Easterlin-types and Frustrated Achievers: the Heterogeneous Effects of Income Changes on Life Satisfaction By Becchetti, L.; Corrado, L.; Rossetti , F.
  17. And What About the Family Back Home? International Migration and Happiness By Fernando Borraz; Susan Pozo; Máximo Rossi

  1. By: Akçomak, Semih (UNU-MERIT); Weel, Bas ter (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relation between social capital and crime. The analysis contributes to explaining why crime is so heterogeneous across space. By employing current and historical data for Dutch municipalities and by providing novel indicators to measure social capital, we find a link between social capital and crime. Our results suggest that higher levels of social capital are associated with lower crime rates and that municipalities’ historical states in terms of population heterogeneity, religiosity and education affect current levels of social capital. Social capital indicators explain about 10 percent of the observed variance in crime. It is also shown why some social capital indicators are more useful than others in a robustness analysis.
    Keywords: Social capital, Crime, the Netherlands
    JEL: A13 A14 K42 Z13
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Werner Güth (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, Germany); Matteo Ploner (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, Germany); Tobias Regner (Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: In-group favoritism in social dilemma situations is one of the main findings of studies in Social Identity Theory. We investigate what causes the in-group bias: is it due to mere group affiliation or, alternatively, is guilt-aversion a possible explanation? We induce group membership in a minimal group setting, observe in-/out-group transfers and elicit re- spective beliefs. We ?nd that mere group affiliation affects beliefs and explains a substantial part of the bias, but we also ?nd evidence in favor of guilt-aversion as a source of motivation.
    Keywords: social preferences, experiments, social dilemma, group identity, guilt aversion
    JEL: C72 D01 C91 C92 D84
    Date: 2008–06–10
  3. By: Edward Cartwright; Amrish Patel
    Abstract: An individual’s contribution to a public good may be seen by others as a signal of attributes such as generosity or wealth. An individual may, therefore, choose their contribution so as to send an appropriate signal to others. In this paper we question how the inferences made by others will influence the amount contributed to the public good. Evidence suggests that individuals are naive and biased towards taking things at "face value". We contrast, therefore, contributions made to a public good if others are expected to make rational inferences versus contributions if others are expected to make naive inferences.
    Keywords: signalling; naive beliefs; public goods
    JEL: D8 H41
    Date: 2008–05
  4. By: Suppa, Alberto
    Abstract: The Tenth Annual Report published by "Sos Impresa", an Antiracket Association, notices that the organized crime is ah heavy "ballast" in the Southern Italian Economy: "Mafia Business makes annual revenues for 90 mln €, about the 6% ofItalian GDP". This work presents a reading of the organized crime under two perspectives: on one hand, the Becker's theory suggests an important role of the public security expending in the battle between the State and organized crime; on the other hand, the trust that Mafia tries toimpose in market relations, according Zamagni and Sen's contributes, makes Mafia an important social player in many economic backward countries.
    Keywords: Mafia; organized crime; trust; conflict; Southern Italy; Amartya Sen; Gary becker; Calabria; Sicilia; Adam Smith;monopoly
    JEL: D21 H50 O10 D20 A11 A13 D43 A14
    Date: 2008–05–05
  5. By: Karavaev, Andrei
    Abstract: This paper considers information trading in fixed networks of economic agents who can only observe and trade with other agents with whom they are directly connected. We study the nature of price competition for information in this environment. The linear network, when the agents are located at the integer points of the real line, is a specific example I completely characterize. For the linear network there always exists a stationary equilibrium, where the strategies do not depend on time. I show that there is an equilibrium where any agent has a nonzero probability of staying uninformed forever. Under certain initial conditions this equilibrium is a limit of equilibria of finite-horizon games. The role of a transversality condition is emphasized, namely that the price in the transaction should not exceed the expected utility of all the agents who get the information due to the transaction. I show that the price offered does not converge to zero with time.
    Keywords: Networks; information trading; information diffusion
    JEL: Z13 D83 O33 D85
    Date: 2008–03–15
  6. By: Reinhardt, Forest L.; Stavins, Robert N.; Vietor, Richard H.K.
    Abstract: Business leaders, government officials, and academics are focusing considerable attention on the concept of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR), particularly in the realm of environmental protection. Beyond complete compliance with environmental regulations, do firms have additional moral or social responsibilities to commit resources to environmental protection? How should we think about the notion of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? May they do so within the scope of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Can they do so on a sustainable basis, or will the forces of a competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? And finally, should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities (i.e., is this an efficient use of social resources)? We address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal analysis and business scholarship.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility, voluntary environmental performance
    JEL: M14 L51 Q50
    Date: 2008–04–25
  7. By: L. Bettendorf (Erasmus University Rotterdam); E. Dijkgraaf (SEOR-ECRi, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: This paper tests whether the behaviour of households in different countries is homogeneous with respect to the influence of religion on income. The violation of the homogeneity assumption would have two consequences. First, results based on country studies might not be applicable to other countries. Second, one should be careful when pooling cross-country data in this type of research. Data at household level of the European and World Values Survey are pooled for 25 Western countries. We estimate simultaneously an income and a religion equation to correct for the endogeneity of religiosity. We find that estimation outcomes are different between low and high-income countries. Whereas church membership is found to have a positive effect on income for high-income countries, this effect is negative for low-income countries. This result is robust to denominational distribution, participation effects and alternative measures of religiosity.
    Keywords: Income; Religious Membership; Religious Participation
    JEL: Z12 D31
    Date: 2008–01–29
  8. By: Andriy Zapechelnyuk; Ro'i Zultan
    Date: 2008–06–09
  9. By: Michael Svarer (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)
    Abstract: This paper tests whether being convicted of a crime affects marriage market outcomes. While it is relatively well documented that crime hurts in terms of reduced future income, there has been little systematic analysis on the association between crime and marriage market outcomes. This paper exploits a detailed Danish register-based data set to fill this gap in the literature. The main findings are that male convicts do not face lower transition rates into partnerships as such, but they face a lower chance of forming partnerships with females from more well-o¤ families. In addition males who are convicted face a significantly higher dissolution risk than their law abiding counterparts.
    Keywords: Crime, Marriage, Divorce
    JEL: J12
    Date: 2008–06–04
  10. By: Agterberg, M. (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Hooff, B. van den; Huysman, M.
    Abstract: This paper addresses organizing dynamics of intra-firm ‘networks of practice’ (NOPs). It unravels different dimensions that play a role in knowledge sharing within NOPs: (1) practice dimension; (2) social dimension; and (3) organizational dimension. Based on a unique interpretive case study, we ‘unpack’ each dimension and consider them as dynamic based on either positive or negative forces that influence knowledge sharing in NOPs. By introducing the metaphor of a cogwheel, we argue that maintaining continuation of a NOP involves the dynamics of three levels of embeddedness (1) embeddedness of the NOP in local practices; (2) social embeddedness of the network; and (3) organizational embeddedness of the network. This integrative framework of multi-level dynamics helps to further our understanding regarding the success and failures of organizing NOPs.
    Keywords: Distributed Organizations; Knowledge Management; Networks of Practice, Distributed Organizations; Knowledge Management; Networks of Practice;Organization; Practice-based learning; Social embeddedness
    Date: 2008
  11. By: Agterberg, M. (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Huysman, M.; Hooff, B. van den
    Abstract: In this paper we explore the challenges and coping strategies for leading online intraorganizational Networks of Practice (NOPs). The research indicates that coordinating distributed knowledge in NOPs poses a leadership challenge that is not yet addressed in the literature on knowledge management in general and is unique when comparing intraorganizational NOPs to research on leadership in other types of online knowledge networks. This challenge entails creating and maintaining a balance between the interests of the formal organization and the interests of the informal network, and shows that coordinating informal knowledge sharing in a formal context involves a management dilemma thereby contributing to theory on coordinating distributed knowledge
    Keywords: distributed knowledge; knowledge coordination; leadership, management dilemma; networks of practice
    Date: 2008
  12. By: Simon Deakin; Ana Lourenço; Stephen Pratten
    Abstract: We present two linked, longitudinal case studies of the use of quasi markets in UK broadcasting over the past decade: one looks at the regulated outsourcing of programme making to independent producers, the other at the development of an internal market system within the BBC. New network forms are shown to have arisen from the interaction of legal regulation, contracts, and property rights. However, these organizational forms are also seen to be associated with increased transaction costs and with signs of deterioration in programme quality and innovation. We suggest that for such networks to be a viable 'third way' between markets and hierarchy, closer attention needs to be given to the issue of institutional design.
    Keywords: networks, quasi markets, television production
    JEL: K23 L14 L24 L82
    Date: 2008–03
  13. By: Luigi Mittone; Matteo Ploner
    Abstract: We experimentally investigate social effects in a principal-agent setting with incomplete contracts. The strategic interaction scheme is based on the Investment Game (Berg et al., 1995). In our setting four trustees and one trustor are interacting and the access to choices of peers in the group of trustees is experimentally manipulated. We find that when the trust- worthiness of some participants is made available to peers, the high levels of trustworthiness displayed by those being observed tend to negatively impact on the trustworthiness of those observing them.
    Date: 2008
  14. By: Manuel Portugal Ferreira (Instituto Politécnico de Leiria)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on organizational change by examining organizations as social entities embedded in inter-organizational networks. In contrast to extant research that focuses on macro environment and internal factors to explain organizational change we put forth the social network surrounding the firm as a major driver of any change process. In specific we examine organization change as driven by the organizations? positions and relations in an interorganizational network. Our conceptual framework demonstrates that inter-organizational networks are important mid-level environmental factors that complement the macro-environment and internal organizational factors for the study of organizational changes. We conclude with a discussion on normative implications for organizations and avenues for future research.
    Keywords: organizational change, social networks
    JEL: M0 M1
    Date: 2008–06–09
  15. By: Claudia Biancotti (Bank of Italy, Economic and Financial Statistics Department); Giovanni D'Alessio (Bank of Italy, Economic and Financial Statistics Department)
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between inequality and happiness through the lens of heterogeneous values, beliefs and inclinations. Drawing upon opinion data from the European Social Survey for twenty-three countries, we find that individual views on a wide range of themes can be effectively summarized by two orthogonal dimensions: moderation and inclusiveness. The former is defined as a tendency to take mild stands on issues rather than extreme ones; the latter is defined as the degree of support for a social model that grants equal rights to everyone who willingly subscribes to a shared set of rules, regardless of background and circumstances. These traits matter when it comes to how inequality affects subjective well-being; specifically, those who are either more moderate or more inclusive than their average compatriots prefer lower levels of inequality. In the case of moderation, inequality aversion can be read in terms of a desire for stability: people who are reluctant to take strong stands are especially wary of conflict, tension and unrest, which often go handin-hand with disparities. In the case of inclusiveness, the main element at play is likely to be distress accruing on a perception of unfairness.
    Keywords: happiness, inequality, heterogeneity
    JEL: D31 D63
    Date: 2008–04
  16. By: Becchetti, L.; Corrado, L.; Rossetti , F.
    Abstract: Most philosophers and social scientists argue that the relationship between life satisfaction and its determinants is intermediated by cultural drivers (education, race, gender, religion, regional cultural background, etc.) and that (as suggested by descriptive evidence on "frustrated achievers") the relationship between changes in income and changes in life satisfaction is not necessarily positive. We investigate such relationship across the waves of the British Household Panel Study. By using a latent class approach which accounts for slope heterogeneity, omitted variable bias and departures from normality assumptions we have the unique opportunity of identifying determinants of the income-life satisfaction relationship and testing econometrically for the existence of “frustrated achievement". Our findings reveal the presence of a vast majority of "Easterlin-type" individuals with positive but very weak relationship between changes in income and changes in life satisfaction and a small minority (2 percent) of frustrated achievers with negative relationship. Such share is much below descriptive evidence on frustrated achievement (17.5 percent). The probability of belonging to such group is shown to be positively related with divorced status and negatively related to education and relative (personal to reference group) income. Our interpretation of these results is that the standard concave money-life satisfaction relationship provides a partial and incomplete picture of the complex nexus between life satisfaction and income as it does not take into account two important phenomena: the role of peers and of reference group income and that of the dynamics between realisations and expectations. The paradox of a negative relationship between changes in income and changes in life satisfaction may be explained by the fact that, in spite of a positive income change, the change in individual expectations and of peers income may be even higher, thereby generating the negative change in satisfaction.
    Keywords: income-life satisfaction relationship, frustrated achievement, mixture models.
    JEL: C14 C23 I30
    Date: 2008–04
  17. By: Fernando Borraz (Universidad de Montevideo); Susan Pozo (Western Michigan University); Máximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: In this study we use data on subjective well being and migration in Cuenca, one of the Ecuador's largest cities. We examine the impact of migration on the happiness of the family left behind. We use the propensity score matching estimator to take into account the endogeneity of migration. Our results indicate that migration reduces the happiness of those left behind. We also find that the monetary inflows (remittances) that accompany migration do not increase happiness levels among recipients. These results suggest that the family left behind cannot be compensated, for the increase in unhappiness that it sustains on account of the emigration of loved ones, with remittances from abroad.
    Keywords: Happiness, migration, remittances
    JEL: A12 F22 I31
    Date: 2008–02

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