nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒07‒05
thirteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Social Interactions and Labor Market Outcomes in Cities By Zenou, Yves
  2. Behavorial Effects in Individual Decisions of Network Formation By Harmsen-van Hout Marjolein J.W.; Dellaert Benedict G.C.; Herings P. Jean-Jacques
  3. Political Polarization and the Size of Government By Lindqvist, Erik; Östling, Robert
  4. When Equality Trumps Reciprocity: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment By Xiao, Erte; Bicchieri, Cristina
  5. Sharing information in web communities By Gabrielle Demange
  6. The passive drinking effect: Evidence from Italy By Martina Menon; Federico Perali; Luca Piccoli
  7. Eliciting motives for trust and reciprocity by attitudinal and behavioural measures By Francesco Farina; Niall O'Higgins; Patrizia Sbriglia
  8. Altruism and Career Concern By Shchetinin, Oleg
  9. The European Union, Civil Society and Conflict Transformation By Nathalie Tocci
  10. The Bright and Dark Side of Cooperation for Regional Innovation Performance By Tom Broekel; Andreas Meder
  11. Social Responsibility and Environmental Ethics - Elements of the Ecological Culture in 21st Century Organizations: A study on Romanian companies By Mironiuc, Marilena
  12. Natural concentration in industrial research collaboration By Bastian Westbrock
  13. Democratization and Growth By Elias Papaioannou; Gregorios Siourounis

  1. By: Zenou, Yves (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We develop a model where information about jobs is essentially obtained through friends and relatives, i.e. strong and weak ties. Workers commute to a business center to work and to interact with other people. We find that housing prices increase with the level of social interactions in the city because information about jobs is transmitted more rapidly and, as a result, individuals are more likely to be employed and to be able to pay higher land rents. We also show that, under some conditions, workers using more their weak ties than strong ties to find a job receive a higher wage. We finally demonstrate that workers living far away from jobs pay lower housing prices but experience higher unemployment rates than those living close to jobs because they mainly rely on their strong ties to obtain information about jobs.
    Keywords: Weak Ties; Labor Market; Social Networks; Land Rent
    JEL: A14 J60 R14
    Date: 2008–06–19
  2. By: Harmsen-van Hout Marjolein J.W.; Dellaert Benedict G.C.; Herings P. Jean-Jacques (METEOR)
    Abstract: Network formation constitutes an important part of many social and economic processes, but relatively little is known about how individuals make their linking decisions. This article provides an experimental investigation of behavioral effects in individual decisions of network formation. Our findings demonstrate that individuals systematically simplify more complex components of network payoff in their linking decisions. Specifically, they focus on only part of the normative payoff, namely on their own direct payoff and tend to ignore indirect payoff and payoff for others in the network. Additionally, individuals use descriptive behavioral traits of link choice alternatives to guide their choices. They are sensitive to whether an alternative involves link deletion or creation and whether it concerns an isolated or a central node. Furthermore, we find that complexity of one type can moderate individuals’ dealing with a complex feature of another type. These behavioral effects have important implications for researchers and managers working in areas that involve network formation.
    Keywords: Economics (Jel: A)
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Lindqvist, Erik (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Östling, Robert (Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study the effect of political polarization on government spending and redistribution using the dispersion of self-reported political preferences as our measure of polarization. Politically polarized countries have lower levels of redistribution and government consumption. The relationship between political polarization and the size of government is stronger in democratic countries, indicating that the effect goes through the political system. The results are robust to a large set of controlvariables, including GDP per capita and income inequality.
    Keywords: Political Polarization; Social Cohesion; Ethnic Fractionalization; Social Capital; Size of Government
    JEL: H11 H20 H41
    Date: 2008–05–15
  4. By: Xiao, Erte; Bicchieri, Cristina
    Abstract: Inequity aversion and reciprocity have been identified as two primary motivations underlying human decision making. However, because income and wealth inequality exist to some degree in all societies, these two key motivations can point to different decisions. In particular, when a beneficiary is less wealthy than a benefactor, a reciprocal action can lead to greater inequality. In this paper we report data from a trust game variant where trustees’ responses to kind intentions generate inequality in favor of investors. In relation to a standard trust game treatment where trustees’ responses reduce inequality, the proportion of non-reciprocal decisions is twice as large when reciprocity promotes inequality. Moreover, we find investors expect that this will be the case. Overall, although both motives clearly play a role, we found strong evidence for inequality aversion. Our results call attention to the potential importance of inequality in principal-agent relationships, and have important implications for designing policies aimed at promoting cooperation.
    JEL: D63 C72 C91
    Date: 2008–06–01
  5. By: Gabrielle Demange
    Abstract: The paper investigates information sharing communities. The environment is characterized by the anonymity of the contributors and users, as on the Web. It is argued that a community may be worth forming because it facilitates the interpretation and understanding of the posted information. The admission within a community and the stability of multiple communities are examined when individuals differ in their tastes.
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Martina Menon; Federico Perali; Luca Piccoli
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether consumption of alcoholic beverages affects distribution of resources among household members. We refer to this effect, highlighting the negative impact that alcohol addicted individuals can have on other household members wellbeing. To investigate this issue we rely on the collective framework and estimate a structural collective demand system. Our results show that for Italian households a high level of alcohol consumption influences the allocation of resources in favour of the husband, with a larger effect in poor households. This evidence implies that alcohol consumption is not only an individual problem. Public costs that are transferred to the other household members should be taken into account when designing social policies.
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Francesco Farina; Niall O'Higgins; Patrizia Sbriglia
    Abstract: The intention to “invest” in the Trust Game in extensive form revealed by a move could conceal different motivations. Whether the motive hidden beneath the manifest behaviour of the first mover is the desire to invest in a relationship of mutual advantage with the trustee or the desire to be good to him independently from his own final payoff, remains an unsettled question. The question then is how to identify the motive which is actually at work, out of the two possible motives embedded in the trust game: 1) an “investment” motive - conditional cooperation is a way to express the expectation of reciprocal behaviour; and/or, 2) an altruistic motive - what may appear as an “investment” actually conceals a social preferences, that is the intention to gratuitously favour the other player. In this paper we attempt to elicit the true motive underlying the behaviour of each of the two players and suggest that the most informative utilization of surveys in this regard goes beyond the simple comparison between answers to a questionnaire and actual behaviour. The statistical treatment of players’ behaviour in the sessions, by means of attitudes as shown by their answers, allows a deeper understanding of the players’ behaviour and a better evaluation of the experimental results. Therefore, the objective of disentangling the strategic motive (the intention of the trustor to elicit benevolence from the trustee, and the trustee interest in reciprocating) from the altruistic motive will be pursued by establishing a correlation between the attitudinal and the behavioural measures of trust and trustworthiness. In this paper, we will then be using the “words” of answers to a questionnaire in order to more deeply understand the motivations behind “actions”.
    Keywords: Experimental economics, Surveys, Trust, Reciprocity
    JEL: C42 C72 C91 D63 D64 D83
    Date: 2008–06
  8. By: Shchetinin, Oleg
    Abstract: The paper studies the impact of altruism on Agent's motivation in the career concerns model. The main result is that higher altruism can decrease effort though conventional wisdom suggests the opposite should always the case. The key for the result is the distinction between current and anticipated altruism. The current altruism stimulates the Agent because it makes him partially internalize the Principal's benefit from output. More subtle, the anticipated altruism weakens effort because it lessens career concerns. The paper contributes to the literature on interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. It gives an example when intrinsic motivator (altruism) lessens extrinsic motivation (career concerns). The model has a number of other interesting features. It gives an example of winner's blessing. It shows that if the worker pushes himself too hard trying to pretend more skilled, it can hinder altruistic relationship. Whereas if the worker shirks, his laziness is safe for establishing altruistic relation in the future. The natural interpretation of the model is labor contract between friends, other applications are also discussed.
    Keywords: career concern; altruism; labor contract; intrinsic motivation
    JEL: D86 D64 M50
    Date: 2008–07
  9. By: Nathalie Tocci (Istituto Affari Internazionali)
    Abstract: The European Union considers conflict resolution as a cardinal objective of its foreign policy. It makes use of a number of policy instruments to promote conflict transformation through ‘constructive engagement’, which cover a range of sectors affecting conditions and incentives at the micro level. The EU has recognised the importance of engaging with civil society in situations of violent conflict, but needs to engage more with local civil society to make its policies more effective. This briefing aims to aid the understanding of the role of civil society organisations in situations of violent conflict, and the potential role of EU policies in enhancing CSOs’ conflict transformation efforts.
    Keywords: Civil society, European Union, European Neighbourhood Policy, violent conflict
    JEL: F35 D74
    Date: 2008
  10. By: Tom Broekel (Department of Economic Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands); Andreas Meder (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)
    Abstract: Studies analyzing the importance of intra- and inter-regional cooperation for regional innovation performance are mainly of qualitative nature and focus strongly on the positive effects that high levels of cooperation can yield. For the case of the German labor market regions and the Electrics + Electronics industry the paper provides a quantitative-empirical analysis taking into account the possibility of negative effects related to regional lock-in, lock-out, and cooperation overload situations. Using conditional nonparametric frontier techniques and cooperation behavior measures we ï¬nd positive as well as substantial negative effects of cooperation with the latter being induced by excessive and unbalanced cooperation behavior.
    Keywords: regional innovation performance, cooperation, lock-out, lock-in, cooperation overload
    JEL: R12 O18 O31
    Date: 2008–06–26
  11. By: Mironiuc, Marilena
    Abstract: During the last decade, the business community ends especially the companies that activate in the fields responsible for the degradation of the environment, are seen as subjects whose main role is to ensure sustainable development. They must face growing pressures from the stakeholders, who wish to know their position regarding sustainable development, in its three dimensions: economical development, that generates profits and jobs; social development, as a guarantee for the well-being and for the compliance to human rights; environmental development, which must ensure the preservation of natural resources and the ability of the ecosystem to absorb and tolerate pollution. A company is defined as sustainable if it is socially responsible. This paper is the result of a process of investigation, of an analysis of the present framework, and of a bibliographical synthesis in the field of social responsibility and environmental ethics. First of all, we have made a historical incursion in the problematic of social responsibility of companies, and then we have mentioned the most important challenges that justify socially responsible behavior in today’s world. In order to point out the degree of responsibility of Romanian enterprises, regarding the actions for the protection of the environment, we have drawn an empirical analysis on a representative sample of Romanian companies.
    Keywords: responsabilité sociale de l'entreprise; culture pro-responsabilité sociale
    JEL: M14 Q56 Q01
    Date: 2008–07–03
  12. By: Bastian Westbrock
    Abstract: Empirical work suggests that the network of research and development alliances is asymmetric, with a small number of firms involved in the majority of partnerships. This paper relates the structure of the collaboration network to a fundamental characteristic of the demand for research output: the benefits of knowledge accumulation create private and social incentives for a concentration of collaborative activities. I theoretically investigate the formation of bilateral collaborative links in two different industry settings, one socially managed, the other oligopolistic. I find that in both cases a concentrated network is the typical equilibrium structure as well as the socially efficient structure.
    Keywords: R&D collaboration, market structure, networks
    JEL: D43 D85 L13
    Date: 2008–06
  13. By: Elias Papaioannou; Gregorios Siourounis
    Abstract: This paper challenges cross-sectional findings that democracy has a negligible effect on growth. We employ a new dataset of political transitions during the Third Wave of Democratization and examine the within effect of democratization in countries that abandoned autocracy and consolidated representative institutions. The panel estimates imply that on average democratizations are associated with a one half increase in annual per capita growth. The dynamic analysis reveals that: while during the transition growth is slow, in the medium and long run it stabilizes at a higher level. This evidence favours development theories of democratic rule and Friedrich Hayek (1960)’s idea that the merits of democracy appear in the long run..
    Keywords: event study, institutions, political economy, democracy, annual growth.
    Date: 2008

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