nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒08‒31
ten papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Social Interactions and Smoking By Cutler, David; Glaeser, Edward L.
  2. Corporate Social Responsibility through an Economic Lens By Stavins, Robert; Reinhardt, Forest; Vietor, Richard
  3. The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity By Gächter, Simon; Nosenzo, Daniele; Sefton, Martin
  4. The Economics and Politics of Corporate Social Performance By Baron, David P.; Harjoto, Maretno A.; Jo, Hoje
  5. Cooperation networks and innovation: A complex system perspective to the analysis and evaluation of a EU regional innovation policy programme By Russo, Margherita; Rossi, Federica
  6. Social Interactions in Demand By Grodner, Andrew; Kniesner, Thomas J.
  7. Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering By Clingingsmith, David; Khwaja, Asim Ijaz; Kremer, Michael
  8. Attitudes Towards Immigrants, Other Integration Barriers, and Their Veracity By Amelie Constant; Martin Kahanec; Klaus F. Zimmermann
  9. Including Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Sustainaibility, and Ethics in Calibrating MBA Job Preferences By Montgomery, David B.; Ramus, Catherine
  10. Religiosity: A comparison between Latin Europe and Latin America By Ianina Rossi; Máximo Rossi

  1. By: Cutler, David (Harvard U); Glaeser, Edward L.
    Abstract: re individuals more likely to smoke when they are surrounded by smokers? In this paper, we examine the evidence for peer effects in smoking. We address the endogeneity of peers by looking at the impact of workplace smoking bans on spousal and peer group smoking. Using these bans as an instrument, we find that individuals whose spouses smoke are 40 percent more likely to smoke themselves. We also find evidence for the existence of a social multiplier in that the impact of smoking bans and individual income becomes stronger at higher levels of aggregation. This social multiplier could explain the large time series drop in smoking among some demographic groups.
    Date: 2008–03
  2. By: Stavins, Robert (Harvard U and Resources for the Future); Reinhardt, Forest (Harvard U); Vietor, Richard (Harvard U)
    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.
    JEL: L51
    Date: 2008–04
  3. By: Gächter, Simon (University of Nottingham); Nosenzo, Daniele (University of Nottingham); Sefton, Martin (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of pay comparison information (i.e. information about what co-workers earn) and effort comparison information (information about how co-workers perform) in experimental firms composed of one employer and two employees. Exposure to pay comparison information in isolation from effort comparison information does not appear to affect reciprocity toward employers: in this case own wage is a powerful determinant of own effort, but co-worker wages have no effect. By contrast, we find that exposure to both pieces of social information systematically influences employees’ reciprocity. A generous wage offer is virtually ineffective if an employee is matched with a lazy co-worker who is also paid generously: in such circumstances the employee tends to expend low effort irrespective of her own wage. Reciprocity is more pronounced when the co-worker is hard-working, as effort is strongly and positively related to own wage in this case. Reciprocity is also pronounced when the employer pays unequal wages to the employees: in this case the co-worker’s effort decision is disregarded and effort decisions are again strongly and positively related to own wage. On average exposure to social information weakens reciprocity, though we find substantial heterogeneity in responses across individuals, and find that sometimes social information has beneficial effects. We suggest that group composition may be an important tool for harnessing the positive effects of social comparison processes.
    Keywords: reciprocity, gift-exchange, social information, social comparisons, pay comparisons, peer effects
    JEL: A13 C92 J31
    Date: 2008–08
  4. By: Baron, David P. (Stanford U); Harjoto, Maretno A. (Pepperdine U); Jo, Hoje (Santa Clara U)
    Abstract: This paper provides an empirical test of a theory that relates corporate financial performance (CFP), corporate social performance (CSP), and social pressure from government and social activist for improved social performance. A three-equation structural model is estimated for a large number of firms for 1996-2004. The estimates are statistically and economically significant and consistent with the theory. CFP as measured by Tobin’s q is increasing in CSP, indicating that it is rewarded by consumers, employees, or investors, and decreasing in social pressure. CSP is increasing in social pressure, indicating that social performance is responsive to social pressure which mitigates some of the negative effect of social pressure on CFP. CSP is also increasing in CFP, which is consistent with social performance being a perquisite for management. Social pressure is decreasing in CFP and increasing in CSP, which is consistent with social pressure being directed to soft targets that are likely to be responsive. The measures of CSP and social pressure are also disaggregated, and the relations among CFP, CSP, and social pressure are largely due to responsive CSP and social pressure arising from private politics.
    Date: 2008–07
  5. By: Russo, Margherita; Rossi, Federica
    Abstract: Recent developments in innovation theory and policy have led policymakers to assign particular importance to supporting networks of cooperation among heterogeneous economic actors, especially in production systems composed of small and medium enterprises. Such innovative policies call for parallel innovations in policy analysis, monitoring and assessment. Our analysis of a policy experiment aimed at supporting innovation networks in the Italian region of Tuscany intends to address some issues connected with the design, monitoring and evaluation of such interventions. Combining tools from ethnographic research and social networks analysis, we explore the structural elements of the policy programme, its macroscopic impact on the regional innovation system, and the success of individual networks in attaining their specific objectives. This innovative approach allows us to derive some general methodological suggestions for the design and evaluation of similar programmes.
    Keywords: Innovation policy; cooperation networks; evaluation; regional development; SMEs production systems; complex systems
    JEL: R58 O38 D78 O32 O31
    Date: 2008–06–26
  6. By: Grodner, Andrew (East Carolina University); Kniesner, Thomas J. (Syracuse University)
    Abstract: We examine theoretically demand in a two-good economy where the demand of one good is influenced by either a spillover effect in the form of an externality from other consumers’ choices and or a conformity effect representing a need for making similar choices as others. A positive spillover effect increases the demand for the good with interactions, and a conformity effect makes the demand curve pivot around the average market demand to make demand less price sensitive. The collateral implication is that spillover in consumption increases the associated derived demand for labor and conformity in consumption makes the associated derived demand for labor less elastic. Finally, we also demonstrate how the presence of a good with social interactions affects the demand for the good without social interactions and the associated demand for the labor producing the non-interactions good.
    Keywords: spillover, social interactions, consumer demand, conformity, labor demand
    JEL: D11
    Date: 2008–08
  7. By: Clingingsmith, David (Case Western Reserve U); Khwaja, Asim Ijaz (Harvard U); Kremer, Michael
    Abstract: We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.
    JEL: D02
    Date: 2008–04
  8. By: Amelie Constant; Martin Kahanec; Klaus F. Zimmermann
    Abstract: The paper studies opinions and attitudes towards immigrants and minorities and their interactions with other barriers to minorities' economic integration. Specifically, we consider the minority experts' own perceptions about these issues, the veracities and repercussions of unfavorable attitudes of natives. Employing newly available data from the IZA Expert Opinion Survey 2007 we depict main trends in the integration situation of ethnic minorities in Europe in a comparative manner. Using a unique dataset, this innovative study is the first to gauge the perspectives of expert stakeholders and ethnic minorities on their integration situation and the main barriers that hinder it. Robust findings show that ethnic minorities: face integration problems; natives' general negative attitudes are a key factor of their challenging situation; discrimination is acknowledged as the single most important integration barrier; low education and self-confidence as well as cultural differences also hinder integration; minorities want change and that it come about by policies based on the principle of equal treatment. Well designed integration policies that take the specific situation of the respective ethnic minority into account, are persistent and enforce anti-discrimination laws are desirable.
    Keywords: Attitudes, opinions, immigrants, ethnic minorities, labor market
    JEL: J15 J71 J78
    Date: 2008
  9. By: Montgomery, David B. (Stanford U and Singapore Management U); Ramus, Catherine (U of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: Our research studies 759 MBA’s graduating from eleven business schools to gain insight into what MBA’s in the 21st Century care about during their job searches. We update the MBA job preference literature by using adaptive conjoint analysis to calibrate the relative importance of a wide variety of job factors combining factors found in previous research in disparate fields (general management, applied psychology, corporate social performance, ethics, and marketing). Our results show the relative importance of organizational reputation related to caring for employees, ethical products and practices, and social and environmental responsibility, compared to factors like financial package, job challenge, etc. to 759 MBA’s graduating from eleven business schools – eight in North America and three in Europe. Study limitations and some mitigations of these are discussed.
    Date: 2007–12
  10. By: Ianina Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República); Máximo Rossi (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)
    Abstract: We present a brief discussion about religious behavior from a microeconomic perspective considering individual decisions about church attendance and its frequency in some Latin European and American countries. With this aim, we analyze the links between individuals’ religiosity and several socioeconomic variables. We confirmed that Uruguayans are the least religious. We also found that religious activity is more intense for women and older people, and the education level has an ambiguous effect on the intensity of religious activity. In addition, we find that richer people are more religious, but countries with higher income per capita are less religious.
    Keywords: church attendance, religious activity, religion and socioeconomic variables
    JEL: Z12
    Date: 2008–07

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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.