nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒07‒30
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. The Impact of Social Capital on Crime: Evidence from the Netherlands By Akçomak, I. Semih; ter Weel, Bas
  2. Measuring the Importance of Labor Market Networks By Judith K. Hellerstein; Melissa McInerney; David Neumark
  3. Satisfaction with Democracy and Collective Action Problems: The Case of the Environment By Martin Halla; Friedrich Schneider; Alexander Wagner
  4. The Relationship between Ethical Culture and Unethical Behavior in Work Groups: Testing the Corporate Ethical Virtues Model By Kaptein, M.
  5. The Currency of Reciprocity - Gift-Exchange in the Workplace By Sebastian Kube; Michel André Maréchal; Clemens Puppe
  6. Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data By Frijters, Paul; Johnston, David W.; Shields, Michael A.
  7. The Geography of Economics and Happiness By Luca Stanca
  8. Fostering Civil Society to Build Institutions: Why and When By Peter Grajzl; Peter Murrell
  9. Epistemic Conditions and Social Preferences in Trust Games By Gillies, Anthony S; Rigdon, Mary L
  10. Ethnicity, Assimilation and Harassment in the Labor Market By Epstein, Gil S.; Gang, Ira N.
  11. Social Protection and Migration in China: What Can Protect Migrants from Economic Uncertainty? By Song, Lina; Appleton, Simon
  12. Network formation with decreasing marginal benefits of information By Kris De Jaegher; Jurjen Kamphorst

  1. By: Akçomak, I. Semih (Maastricht University); ter Weel, Bas (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: 2008–07
  2. By: Judith K. Hellerstein; Melissa McInerney; David Neumark
    Abstract: We specify and implement a test for the importance of network effects in determining the establishments at which people work, using recently-constructed matched employer-employee data at the establishment level. We explicitly measure the importance of network effects for groups broken out by race, ethnicity, and various measures of skill, for networks generated by residential proximity. The evidence indicates that labor market networks play an important role in hiring, more so for minorities and the less-skilled, especially among Hispanics, and that labor market networks appear to be race-based.
    JEL: J15 J61
    Date: 2008–07
  3. By: Martin Halla (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria); Friedrich Schneider (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria); Alexander Wagner (Institute for Swiss Banking University of Zurich Plattenstrasse 14 CH-8032 Zurich Switzerland)
    Abstract: Using modern methods for analyzing multi-level data, we find that, by and large, citizens of OECD countries are more satisfied with the way democracy works in their country if more environmental policies are in place and if environmental quality is higher. We also document that parents care about carbon dioxide emissions more than non-parents and that those with a high willingness to pay for environmental quality deplore intervention through government policies.
    Keywords: Collective action problems, environmental economics and policy, satisfaction with democracy
    JEL: K32 P16 Q21 Q28
    Date: 2008–07
  4. By: Kaptein, M. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: The Corporate Ethical Virtues Model, which is a model for measuring the ethical culture of organizations, has not been tested on its predictive validity. This study tests the relationship between this model and observed unethical behavior in work groups. The sample consists of 301 triads comprising a manager and two direct reports. The results show that six of the eight virtues are negatively related to observed unethical behavior. An important implication of this finding is that multiple corporate virtues are required to reduce unethical behavior in work groups.
    Keywords: ethical culture;unethical behavior;virtue theory;ethical climate;ethics program;work groups
    Date: 2008–07–11
  5. By: Sebastian Kube; Michel André Maréchal; Clemens Puppe
    Abstract: What determines reciprocity in employment relations? We conducted a controlled field experiment and tested the extent to which cash and non-monetary gifts affect workers' productivity. Our main finding is that the nature of the gift, not its monetary value, determines the prevalence of reciprocal reactions. A gift in-kind results in a significant and substantial increase in workers' productivity. An equivalent cash gift, on the other hand, is largely ineffective - even though an additional experiment showed that workers would strongly favor the gift's cash equivalent.
    Keywords: Field experiment, reciprocity, gift exchange, fringe benefits, perks, compensation.
    JEL: C93 J30
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: Frijters, Paul (Queensland University of Technology); Johnston, David W. (University of Melbourne); Shields, Michael A. (University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the question of when and to what extent individuals are affected by major positive and negative life events, including changes in financial situation, marital status, death of child or spouse and being a victim of crime. The key advantage of our data is that we are able to identify these events on a quarterly basis rather than on the yearly basis used by previous studies. We find evidence that life events are not randomly distributed, that individuals to a large extent anticipate major events and that they quickly adapt. These effects have important implications for the calculation of monetary values needed to compensate individuals for life events such as crime or death of spouse. We find that our new valuation methodology that incorporates these dynamic factors produces considerably smaller compensation valuations than those calculated using the standard approach.
    Keywords: life satisfaction, life events, adaptation, compensation
    JEL: I0
    Date: 2008–07
  7. By: Luca Stanca
    Abstract: This paper investigates the spatial pattern of the e®ects of eco- nomic conditions on subjective well-being, using a large sample of in- dividuals from 81 countries throughout the world. We ¯nd evidence of substantial spatial heterogeneity and spatial dependence in the cross- country distribution of the e®ects of income and unemployment on happiness. We examine the impact of macroeconomic conditions on country-level sensitivities of subjective well-being to microeconomic conditions. The e®ect of income on well-being is found to be signif- icantly stronger in countries with lower GDP per capita and higher unemployment rate. The e®ect of unemployment on well-being is in- stead signi¯cantly stronger in countries with higher GDP per capita and higher unemployment rate.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, economic geography, spatial econometrics
    JEL: A12 D12 I31
    Date: 2008–06
  8. By: Peter Grajzl (Department of Economics, Central European University); Peter Murrell (Department of Economics, University of Maryland)
    Abstract: AWe revisit the ubiquitous claim that aiding civil society improves institutional outcomes. In our model, a vibrant civil society initiates public debate in a reform process that would otherwise be dominated by partisan interest groups and politicians. By altering the incentives of interest groups submitting institutional reforms, civil society involvement sometimes solves adverse selection problems that arise because interest groups are better informed than politicians. Because aid increases the cost to the politician of excluding civil society, it affects institution-building. We show that the welfare implications of fostering civil society critically depend on the specifics of local politics, thereby casting new light on the experience of civil society aid in post-communist and developing countries. Our analysis uncovers a particularly disturbing instance of the tragedy that aid can be counter-productive where institutions are poor. An empirical application shows how the impact of civil society aid varies with the level of democracy.
    Keywords: civil society, institutional reform, civil society aid, interest groups, post-communist countries, developing countries
    JEL: D02 D78 F35 O19 P50
    Date: 2008–07
  9. By: Gillies, Anthony S; Rigdon, Mary L
    Abstract: It is well-known that subjects in bilateral bargaining experiments often exhibit choice behavior suggesting there are strong reciprocators in the population. But it is controversial whether explaining this data requires a social preference model that invokes genuine strong reciprocity or whether some social preference model built on other-regarding preferences as a surrogate can explain it. Since the data precedes theory here, all the social preference models agree on most of it — making direct tests more difficult. We report results from a laboratory experiment using a novel method for testing between the classes of social preference models in the trust game that manipulates the distribution of payoff information in the game. We find evidence supporting the strong reciprocity hypothesis.
    Keywords: social preferences; trust game; reciprocity; strong reciprocators
    JEL: C70 C91
    Date: 2008–07–13
  10. By: Epstein, Gil S. (Bar-Ilan University); Gang, Ira N. (Rutgers University)
    Abstract: We often observe minority ethnic groups at a disadvantage relative to the majority. Why is this and what can be done about it? Efforts made to assimilate, and time, are two elements working to bring the minority into line with the majority. A third element, the degree to which the majority welcomes the minority, also plays a role. We develop a simple theoretical model useful for examining the consequences for assimilation and harassment of growth in the minority population, time, and the role of political institutions. Over time, conflicts develop within the minority group as members exhibit different interests in assimilating and in maintaining their cultural identity. We discuss how this affects the minority’s position over time and the influence of public policy.
    Keywords: market structure, ethnicity, assimilation, contracts, networks, harassment
    JEL: D74 F23 I20 J61 L14
    Date: 2008–07
  11. By: Song, Lina (University of Nottingham); Appleton, Simon (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Job-related welfare entitlements are common in China. Migrants who do not hold urban registration are, in principle, not entitled to job-related welfare even if they are employees in the State sector. The official explanation is that rural-urban migrants are allocated access to farm land in their rural origins, and hence their welfare rights and security are covered by this entitlement to the use of land. In this paper, we look at whether migrants still benefited from these opportunities. Second, we investigate whether it is the poor, the unentitled and the vulnerable that are excluded from public protection programs. Chinese official social protection programs are, like in most western countries, officially designated as being for poverty alleviation. However would such programs still be targeted in ways that limit their coverage, curtail the range of basic needs provided for and allocate benefits very unequally? Thirdly, we explore whether households with favourable productive characteristics are more likely to get into social protection programs. Here, the ongoing debate concerning equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes has some relevance. Finally, we examine the roles social networks or Guanxi (the Chinese term for social connections) may play in dealing with economic shocks.
    Keywords: migration, social protection, entitlement, China
    JEL: H41 H42 D63
    Date: 2008–07
  12. By: Kris De Jaegher; Jurjen Kamphorst
    Abstract: In the two-way flow connections model of the seminal paper by Bala and Goyal (2000a), the marginal benefit of obtaining the information of one more player is constant. However, it is plausible that the marginal benefit of such information is decreasing. This paper explores the consequences for the stability of networks of such decreasing marginal benefits. We start by characterizing the strict Nash networks for both the case of constant and the case of decreasing marginal benefits. Using this characterization, we next explore how the set of strict Nash networks differs for the two cases. The results and intuition tells us that long diameter networks have certain features which make them relatively more likely to be stable under decreasing marginal benefits of information as compared to short diameter networks.
    Keywords: Network Formation, Concave Benefits, Two-Way Flow Model
    JEL: C72 D85
    Date: 2008–07

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