nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒10‒13
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Social Capital and Urban Growth By Edward L. Glaeser; Charles Redlick
  2. Social Capital and Relative Income Concerns: Evidence from 26 Countries By Justina Fischer; Benno Torgler
  3. A theoretical analysis of the relationship between social capital and corporate social responsibility: concepts and definitions By Lorenzo Sacconi; Giacomo Degli Antoni
  4. Individual behavior and group membership: Comment By Matthias Sutter
  5. Polarisation and Health By Blanco Pérez, Cristina; Ramos, Xavi
  6. Effects of social norms and fractionalization on voting behavior in Japan By yamamura, eiji
  7. Migrant networks: Empirical Implications for the Italian Bilateral Trade By Marina Murat; Barbara Pistoresi
  8. The Construction of Neighbourhoods and its Relevance for the Measurement of Social and Ethnic Segregation: Evidence from Denmark By Damm, Anna Piil; Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise
  9. Does Corporate Social Responsibility Affect Firms' Performance? By Laura Poddi; Sergio Vergalli
  10. Reti di cooperazione e innovazione. Analisi e valutazione di una politica regionale europea a sostegno dell’innovazione By Margherita Russo; Federica Rossi
  11. The Political Economy of Cultural Spending: Evidence from Italian Cities By Chiara Dalle Nogare; Matteo M Galizzi
  12. Ethnic Intermarriage among Immigrants: Human Capital and Assortative Mating By Chiswick, Barry R.; Houseworth, Christina A.

  1. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Charles Redlick
    Abstract: Social capital is often place-specific while schooling is portable, so the prospect of migration may reduce the returns to social capital and increase the returns to schooling. If social capital matters for urban success, it is possible that an area can get caught in a bad equilibrium where the prospect of out-migration reduces social capital investment and a lack of social capital investment makes out-migration more appealing. We present a simple model of that process and then test its implications. We find little evidence to suggest that social capital is correlated with either area growth or rates of out-migration. We do, however, find significant differences in the returns to human capital across space, and a significant pattern of skilled people disproportionately leaving declining areas. For people in declining areas, the prospect of out-migration may increase the returns to investment in human capital, but it does not seem to impact investment in social capital.
    JEL: D0 H0 I0 J0 R0
    Date: 2008–10
  2. By: Justina Fischer; Benno Torgler
    Keywords: Research on the effects of positional concerns on individuals’ attitudes and behaviour is sorely lacking. Therefore, using the International Social Survey Programme 1998 data on 25’000 individuals from 26 countries this paper investigates the impact of relative income position on facets of social capital, covering horizontal and vertical trust as well as norm compliance. Testing relative deprivation theory, we identify a deleterious positional income effect for persons below the reference income, the absolute size of which far outweighs that of relative income advantage. In contrast, social capital rises in absolute income, while distributional fairness perceptions partially mediate relative income effects.
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Lorenzo Sacconi; Giacomo Degli Antoni
    Abstract: The paper studies the relationship between social capital (SC) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by investigating the idea of a virtuous circle, between the level of SC and the implementation of CSR practices, that fosters socio-economic development by generating social inclusion and social networks based on trust and trustworthiness. Following the literature on SC that stresses its multidimensional character, both a cognitive and a structural idea of SC are considered. The first one essentially refers to the dispositional characters of agents that affect their propensity to behave in different ways. The latter refers to social networks connecting agents. With regard to the concept of CSR, a contractarian approach is adopted and CSR is considered as an extended model of corporate governance, based on the fiduciary duties owed to all the firm’s stakeholders. Among stakeholders, a original distinction between “strong” and “weak” stakeholders is introduced. The key element that allows to distinguish between strong and weak stakeholders concerns the consequences that the break in the relationship with the firm produces both on the stakeholder and on the firm. Both these two categories have made specific investments in the firm. However, strong stakeholders are precious for the firm because they bring in strategic assets. On the contrary, weak stakeholders do not bring strategic assets into the firm and firms have material incentives at defecting in the relationship with them. Considering the notions of cognitive and structural SC, a contractarian approach to CSR and the distinction between weak and strong stakeholders, the paper shows that: a) the level of cognitive SC plays a key role in inducing the firm to adopt and observe CSR practices that respect all the stakeholders; b) the decision of adopting formal instruments of CSR contributes to create cognitive SC that is endogenously determined in the model; c) the level of cognitive SC and the decision of adopting CSR practices creates structural SC in terms of a long term relationship between the firm and the weak and strong stakeholders.
    Keywords: Social capital, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social network, Ideal utility, Cooperation, Trust.
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Matthias Sutter (Department of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, and Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg.)
    Abstract: Charness et al. (2007) have shown that group membership has a strong effect on individual decisions in strategic games when group membership is salient through payoff commonality. In this comment I show that their findings also apply to non-strategic decisions, even when no outgroup exists, and I relate the effects of group membership on individual decisions to joint decision making in teams. I find in an investment experiment that individual decisions with salient group membership are largely the same as team decisions. This finding bridges the literature on team decision making and on group membership effects.
    Keywords: Individual behavior, group membership, team decision-making, experiment
    JEL: C91 C92 D71
    Date: 2008–10–07
  5. By: Blanco Pérez, Cristina (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Ramos, Xavi (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of income polarisation on individual health. We argue that polarisation captures much better the social tension and conflict that underlie some of the pathways linking income disparities and individual health, and which have been traditionally proxied by inequality. We test our premises with panel data for Spain. Results show that polarisation has a detrimental effect on health. We also find that the way the relevant population subgroups are defined is important: polarisation is only significant if measured between education-age groups for each region. Regional polarisation is not significant. Our results are obtained conditional on a comprehensive set of controls, including absolute and relative income.
    Keywords: polarisation, health, fixed-effects ordered logit model, conflict, psychosocial stress, social capital
    JEL: D31 I1
    Date: 2008–09
  6. By: yamamura, eiji
    Abstract: This paper uses prefecture-level panel data from Japan, spanning the period 1989–2003, to examine the influence of social norms and fractionalization on voting behavior. The key findings obtained from analysis via the fixed effects estimation, which controls for unobserved prefecture-specific fixed effects, are as follows: (1) the voter turnout is higher in close-knit communities, indicating that social norms enhance voting; (2) fractionalization, from both economic and generational standpoints, lowers the voter turnout; and (3) a lack of social capital can lead to the distribution of votes being spread thinly among the competing parties.
    Keywords: Voter turnout ・ Distribution of votes ・ Social norms ・ Fractionalization
    JEL: D70 D72 Z13
    Date: 2008–05–25
  7. By: Marina Murat; Barbara Pistoresi
    Abstract: A significant number of empirical studies, focusing on different countries, have found a positive link between migration and trade. This paper studies the relationship between emigration, immigration and trade using Italian data. The sample regards 51 foreign trading partners and spans from 1990 to 2005. The results suggest that: networks of Italian emigrants in foreign countries boost bilateral trade. The effects of immigrants are weak, on exports, or negative, on imports. Results do not change when the cultural and institutional dissimilarities between countries are considered.
    Keywords: International Migration, Italian Bilateral Trade
    JEL: F10 F22 F23
    Date: 2007–09
  8. By: Damm, Anna Piil (Aarhus School of Business); Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit)
    Abstract: In this paper we propose a model for constructing neighbourhoods based on geo-referenced data and administrative data. The 431,233 inhabited hectare cells in Denmark are clustered into 9,404 small and 2,296 large neighbourhoods, inhabited on average in 2004 by 572 and 2,343 persons respectively. The priorities in the clustering process are to obtain neighbourhoods that are unaltered over time, delineated by physical barriers, compact, homogeneous in terms of type of housing and ownership, relatively small, homogeneous in terms of number of inhabitants, and comprised of a contiguous cluster of cells. To illustrate the importance of detailed neighbourhood information we compare social and ethnic segregation measured by Isolation and Dissimilation indices on the levels of municipalities and of small neighbourhoods. Our findings demonstrate substantial variation in the residential mix in neighbourhoods within a given municipality, and thus show the importance of having information on a more detailed geographical level than that of the municipality.
    Keywords: geo-referenced data, neighbourhoods, segregation
    JEL: I3 J61 R2
    Date: 2008–09
  9. By: Laura Poddi; Sergio Vergalli
    Abstract: In the last two decades in the OECD countries there have been a raising development of firms certified as Social Responsible (CSR is the acronym of Corporate Social Responsibility). This kind of certification is assigned by private companies that guarantee that the behaviour of a certain firms environmentally and sociologically correct. Some papers (among other Preston and O'Bannon, 1997; Waddock and Graves, 1997; McWilliams and Sieger, 2001; Ullman, 1985) tried to verify if there exists a link between Social Responsibility certification and firms' performance. Their results are ambiguous and do not show a common path. This ambiguity depends mainly on the static nature of their analyses and on problem if performance is affected more by certification costs or by increasing sales due to a reputation effect. Our work would like to verify, after a review of literature, by using panel data, if some performance indicators can be affected by the firms' social responsible behaviour and their certifications. The novelty of our analysis comes from its dynamic aspect and from the building of a CSR index that intersects two of the three main international indices (Domini 400 Social Index, Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, FTSE4Good Index), in order to be objective and to have a representative sample. The main results seem to support the idea that the CSR firms are the more virtuous, having better performances in the long run: they bear some initial costs but obtain higher sales and profits due to several causes: reputation effect, a reduction of long rin costs, increasing social responsible demand.
    Date: 2008
  10. By: Margherita Russo; Federica Rossi
    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 impact on the regional innovation system, and the success of individual networks in attaining their specific objectives. This innovative approach also allows us to derive suggestions for policymakers intending to implement similar programmes.
    Keywords: Innovation policy; local development policies; regional development policies; evaluation management
    JEL: D78 O31 O32 O38 R58
    Date: 2008–06
  11. By: Chiara Dalle Nogare; Matteo M Galizzi
    Abstract: Political Economy and the Economics of Art and Cultural Heritage rarely have intersected. In this paper we investigate the relationship between Italian municipalities’ spending on culture in the 90s and 2000s and a number of political variables, such as a left/right dummy, an election year dummy and a term limit indicator, controlling, among others, for economic as well as socio-demographic characteristics of their population, level of human capital and instruction, proxies of social capital, extent of private financing of cultural provision, touristic and artistic relevance. We use panel data regression analysis and find that there are indeed some significant political determinants of local government cultural expenditure.
    Date: 2008
  12. By: Chiswick, Barry R. (University of Illinois at Chicago); Houseworth, Christina A. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of interethnic marriages among immigrants in the United States. The dependent variable is intermarriage across ethnic groups and the inclusion of the explanatory variables is justified by a simple rational choice economic model. A binomial logistic regression is estimated using data from the 1980 US Census, the last Census where post-migration marriages can be identified. Results show that the probability of intermarriage increases the longer a migrant resides in the U.S. and the younger the age at arrival. Both relationships can be attributable to the accumulation of US-specific human capital and an erosion of ethnic-specific human capital. Inter-ethnic marriages are more likely between individuals with similar education levels, providing evidence of positive assortative mating by education for immigrants. Construction of the availability ratio for potential spouses and group size are unique to this study, providing a more accurate measure of the marriage market by using data from several Censuses. Intermarriage is lower the greater the availability ratio and the larger the size of the group. Linguistic distance indirectly measures the effect of English language ability at arrival and is found to be a significant negative predictor of intermarriage. Those who report multiple ancestries and who were previously married are more likely to intermarry.
    Keywords: immigrants, marriage, ethnicity/ancestry
    JEL: J12 J15 J61 F22
    Date: 2008–09

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