nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2008‒10‒28
sixteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Microstructure of Collaboration: The Network of Open Source Software By Chaim Fershtman; Neil Gandal
  2. Leadership in Collective Action By Joan Esteban; Esther Hauk
  3. Strong reciprocity and reputation management By Yamagishi, Toshio; Horita, Yutaka; Takagishi, Haruto
  4. Civilising Globalism: Transnational Norm-Building Networks—A Research Programme By Ulrich Mückenberger
  5. Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation By Bruno S. Frey; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
  6. Institutions, Social Norms, and Bargaining Power: An Analysis of Individual Leisure Time in Couple Households By Nabanita Datta Gupta; Leslie S Stratton
  7. How Do Heterogeneous Social Interactions Affect the Peer Effect in Rural-Urban Migration?: Empirical Evidence from China By Zhao Chen; Shiqing Jiang; Ming Lu; Hiroshi Sato
  8. Local social capital and geographical mobility. A theory By Quentin David; Alexandre Janiak; Etienne Wasmer
  9. Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens By Robert N. Stavins; Forest L. Reinhardt; Richard H. K. Vietor
  10. Environmental Participation and Environmental Motivation By Benno Torgler; Maria A. Garcia-Valinas; Alison Macintyre
  11. Occupational Choice and Social Contacts Across Regions By Stefan Bauernschuster; Oliver Falck; Stephan Heblich
  12. Determinants of Integration and its Impact on the Economic Success of Immigrants: A Case Study of the Turkish Community in Berlin By Danzer, Alexander M.; Ulku, Hulya
  13. What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation By Henry Sauermann; Wesley M. Cohen
  14. Environmental Policy Attitudes: Issues, Geographical Scale, and Political Trust By Jeffrey Milyo; David M. Konisky; Lilliard E. Richardson, Jr.
  15. Endogenous Neighborhood Selection and the Attainment of Cooperation in a Spatial Prisoner’s Dilemma Game By Jason Barr; Troy Tassier
  16. CSR as contractarian model of multi-stakeholder corporate governance and the game-theory of its implementation By Lorenzo Sacconi

  1. By: Chaim Fershtman (Department of Economics, Tel Aviv University,); Neil Gandal (Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: The open source model is a form of software development with source code that is typically made available to all interested parties. At the core of this process is a decentralized production process: open source software development is done by a network of unpaid software developers. Using data from, the largest repository of Open Source Software (OSS) projects and contributors on the Internet, we construct two related networks: A Project network and a Contributor network. Knowledge spillovers may be closely related to the structure of such networks, since contributors who work on several projects likely exchange information and knowledge. Defining the number of downloads as output we finds that (i) additional contributors are associated with an increase in output, but that additional contributors to projects in the giant component are associated with greater output gains than additional contributors to projects outside of the giant component; (ii) Betweenness centrality of the project is positively associated with the number of downloads. (iii) Closeness centrality of the project appears also to be positively associated with downloads, but the effect is not statistically significant over all specifications. (iv) Controlling for the correlation between these two measures of centrality (betweenness and closeness), the degree is not positively associated with the number of downloads. (v) The average closeness centrality of the contributors that participated in a project is positively correlated with the success of the project. These results suggest that there are positive spillovers of knowledge for projects occupying critical junctures in the information flow. When we define projects as connected if and only if they had at least two contributors in common, we again find that additional contributors are associated with an increase in output, and again find that this increase is much higher for projects with strong ties than other projects in the giant component.
    Keywords: open source, network, Microstructure of Collaboration
    JEL: L17
    Date: 2008–04
  2. By: Joan Esteban; Esther Hauk
    Abstract: We extend the model of collective action in which groups compete for a budged by endogenizing the group platform, namely the specific mixture of public/private good and the distribution of the private good to group members which can be uniform or performance-based. While the group-optimal platform contains a degree of publicness that increases in group size and divides the private benefits uniformly, a success-maximizing leader uses incentives and distorts the platform towards more private benefits - a distortion that increases with group size. In both settings we obtain the anti-Olson type result that win probability increases with group size.
    Keywords: collective contests, leadership, group platform, incentives, sharing rules
    JEL: D70 D72 D74
    Date: 2008–10–13
  3. By: Yamagishi, Toshio; Horita, Yutaka; Takagishi, Haruto
    Abstract: Large scale cooperation among non-kin individuals is an evolutionary puzzle since it enhances other individuals’ fitness at a cost to oneself. One possible solution to this puzzle is evolution of strong reciprocity through group selection. Rejection choices of unfair offers in the ultimatum game has been considered a testimony to the operation of the social preferences of inequity aversion and reciprocity that underlie strong reciprocity. Across three studies using three different methodologies (strategy method, one-shot game, repeated one-shot game), we compared rejection behavior in the ultimatum, impunity, and private impunity games. Results showed that about 30-40% of responders who faced an unfair offer rejected it even when such behavior aggravated unfairness rather than reducing it (i.e., in the impunity and the private impunity games), though the rejection rates in these games were only about a half of that in the ultimatum game. It was also found, across three studies, that the rejection rate of unfair offers in the impunity game was about the same as that in the private impunity game, in which the responder’s decision was not informed to the propose
    Keywords: Reputation; Strong reciprocity
    JEL: C72
    Date: 2008–10–20
  4. By: Ulrich Mückenberger (Hamburg University)
    Abstract: Decentralised, self-organised cross-border activities are increasingly shaping global policymaking. While state actors have lost ground, policy and economic networks have emerged as key actors, transforming international relations as well as national spheres. Academic discourse is following their activity, often focusing on "advocacy networks" and on the role of transnational actors within the transformation of the world economy and world polity. In contrast to these research activities, the approach proposed here extends the scope of inquiry to include the role of transnational networks in norm-building and norm-implementation. The networks under scrutiny here do not confine themselves to the articulation of particular interests, the resolution of particular conflicts, or compliance with legal norms. It is presumed here that a variety of networks which are fundamentally concerned with the creation of norms have emerged. The predominance of the nation-state, one of the main characteristics of modern democratic thinking, has eroded to the point where the fundamental nexus of voice (democratic participation) and entitlement (legal and social rights and duties) has been weakened or even broken. We presume that this decentration has fundamentally changed the option of voice as one of the most important responses by citizens to crisis and change. This comes to the fore with the emergence and effectiveness of transnational norm-building networks. The article develops a research programme, the outcome of which will shed light on this new resource for the development of a democratised world polity.
    Keywords: networks, norms, world polity, globalisation, global civil society
    Date: 2008–10
  5. By: Bruno S. Frey; David A. Savage; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: This paper explored the determinants of survival in a life and death situation created by an external and unpredictable shock. We are interested to see whether pro-social behaviour matters in such extreme situations. We therefore focus on the sinking of the RMS Titanic as a quasi-natural experiment do provide behavioural evidence which is rare in such a controlled and life threatening event. The empirical results support that social norm such as “women and children first” survive in such an environment. We also observe that women of reproductive age have a higher probability of surviving among women. On the other hand, we observe that crew members used their information advantage and their better access to resources (e.g. lifeboats) to generate a higher probability of surviving. The paper also finds that passenger class, fitness, group size, and cultural background matter.
    Keywords: Decision under Pressure, Altruism, Social Norms, Interdependent Preferences, Excess of Demand
    JEL: D63 D64 D71 D81
    Date: 2008–10–23
  6. By: Nabanita Datta Gupta (Danish National Centre for Social Research); Leslie S Stratton (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)
    Abstract: We exploit time use data from Denmark and the United States to examine the impact institutions and social norms have on individuals' bargaining power within a household, hypothesizing that the more generous social welfare system and more egalitarian social norms in Denmark will mitigate the impact standard economic power measures have upon couples' time use. Further we posit that leisure time will be more sensitive to power considerations than housework time which may be more influenced by preferences regarding household public goods, to gendered notions of time use, and to censoring. Our results are generally supportive of these hypotheses, with leisure time on non-work days in the US being particularly responsive to economic power. In addition, we find some evidence that institutions matter as women in the US who are more likely to receive welfare benefits enjoy more leisure time than would be suggested by their economic power alone.
    Keywords: Time Use, Power, Leisure, Institutions, Norms
    JEL: J22
    Date: 2008–09
  7. By: Zhao Chen; Shiqing Jiang; Ming Lu; Hiroshi Sato
    Abstract: In this paper, we use the "2002 Chinese Household Income Project Survey" (CHIP2002) data to examine how heterogeneous social interactions affect the peer effect in the rural-urban migration decision in China. We find that the peer effect, measured by the village migration ratio, significantly increases the individual probability of outward migration. We also find that the magnitude of the peer effect is nonlinear, depending on the strength and type of social interactions with other villagers. Interactions in information sharing can increase the magnitude of the peer effect, while interactions in mutual help in labor activities, such as help in housing construction, nursing and farm work in busy seasons, will impede the positive role of the peer effect. Being aware of the simultaneity bias caused by the two-way causality between social interaction strengths and migration, we utilize "historical family political identity in land reform" as an instrumental variable for social interactions. However, the hypothesis that probit and instrumental-variable probit results are not significantly different is not rejected. The existence of a nonlinear peer effect has rich policy implications. For policy makers to encourage rural-urban migration, it is feasible to increase education investment in rural areas or increase information sharing among rural residents. However, only an increase in the constant term in the regression, i.e., a "big push" in improving institutions for migration, can help rural Chinese residents escape the low equilibrium in migration.
    Keywords: labor migration, urbanization, peer effect, social interaction, social multiplier
    JEL: J61 O15 R23
    Date: 2008–10
  8. By: Quentin David; Alexandre Janiak; Etienne Wasmer
    Abstract: In this paper we study a large class of resource allocation problems with an important complication, the utilization cost of a given resource is private information of a profit maximizing agent. After reviewing the characterization of the optimal bayesian mechanism, we study the informational cost introduced by the presence of private information. Our main result is to provide an upper bound for the ratio between the cost under asymmetric information and the cost of a fully informed designer, which is independent of the combinatorial nature of the problem and tight. We also show that this bound holds for a variation of the Vickrey-Clark-Groves mechanism. Finally we point out implementation issues of the optimal mechanism.
    Date: 2008
  9. By: Robert N. Stavins (Harvard University); Forest L. Reinhardt (Harvard Business School); Richard H. K. Vietor (Harvard Business School)
    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: 2008–10
  10. By: Benno Torgler; Maria A. Garcia-Valinas; Alison Macintyre
    Abstract: We explore whether environmental motivation affects environmental behavior by focusing on volunteering. The paper first introduces a theoretical model of volunteering in environmental organizations. In a next step, it tests the hypothesis working with a large micro data set covering 32 countries from both Western and Eastern Europe using several different proxies to measure environmental motivation. Our results indicate that environmental motivation has a strong impact on individuals’ voluntary engagement in environmental organizations. A higher level of environmental motivation due to higher environmental moral standards may lead to a stronger voluntary involvement in environmental organizations.
    Keywords: environmental participation, environmental motivation, environmental morale, pro-environmental attitudes, social capital
    JEL: D11 H41 H26 H73 D64
    Date: 2008–10–23
  11. By: Stefan Bauernschuster (University of Jena); Oliver Falck (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Stephan Heblich (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)
    Abstract: This paper tests the importance of social contacts on entrepreneurship. To measure differences in the interconnectedness of social contacts, we compare rural and agglomerated areas. A smaller community size in rural areas generates greater network closure. Agents’ neighborhoods are more likely to overlap, which intensifies social contacts and thus facilitates resource mobilization. Analyzing the impact of social contacts across regions, we find that greater network closure increases the likelihood of being an entrepreneur by 1.9 to 14.2 percentage points, depending on the number of underlying social contacts. These results remain robust after applying matching techniques and concentrating on young entrepreneurs.
    Keywords: Occupational Choice, Entrepreneurship, Social Contacts
    JEL: J Z13
    Date: 2008–10–30
  12. By: Danzer, Alexander M. (Royal Holloway, University of London); Ulku, Hulya (University of Manchester)
    Abstract: Using a new data on 590 Turkish households in Berlin, we investigate the determinants and impact of integration on economic performance. We find that usual suspects such as time spent in Germany and education have positive impact, while networks have no impact on integration. There is strong evidence that political integration and the degree of full integration promote income. Using endogenous switching regression models, we show that local familial networks increase the income of unintegrated migrant groups only, while transnational networks decrease it. We also find that education is more welfare improving for integrated than non-integrated immigrants.
    Keywords: integration, economic success, ethnic networks, Turkish migrants
    JEL: O15 J15 C25 D10
    Date: 2008–10
  13. By: Henry Sauermann; Wesley M. Cohen
    Abstract: We examine the impact of individual-level motives upon innovative effort and performance in firms. Drawing from economics and social psychology, we develop a model of the impact of individuals' motives and incentives upon their innovative effort and performance. Using data on over 11,000 industrial scientists and engineers (SESTAT 2003), we find that individuals' motives have significant effects upon innovative effort and performance. These effects vary significantly, however, by the particular kind of motive (e.g., desire for intellectual challenge vs. pay). We also find that intrinsic and extrinsic motives affect innovative performance even when controlling for effort, suggesting that motives affect not only the level of individual effort, but also its quality. Overall, intrinsic motives, particularly the desire for intellectual challenge, appear to benefit innovation more than extrinsic motives such as pay.
    JEL: O3 O30 O31 O32
    Date: 2008–10
  14. By: Jeffrey Milyo (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia); David M. Konisky; Lilliard E. Richardson, Jr.
    Abstract: Objectives. This article examines environmental policy attitudes, focusing on the differences in preferences across issue type (i.e., pollution, resource preservation) and geographical scale (i.e., local, national, global). In addition, we study whether an individuals trust in government influences environmental policy attitudes. Methods. Analyzing data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we estimate a series of OLS regression models to examine the publics environmental policy attitudes. Results. We find stronger public support for government action to address pollution issues than resources issues, and stronger support for local and national pollution abatement than dealing with global problems. We also find that Republicans and ideological conservatives are less likely to support further government effort to address the environment, and that more trusting individuals are more favorable to government action to address pollution and global issues. Conclusion. Environmental policy attitudes vary by the nature of the issue; however, political ideology and partisan affiliation are consistent predictors of preferences across issues, even when controlling for an individuals level of trust in government.
    Keywords: Environment, NIMBY, Public Opinion, Political Economy
    JEL: Q5 H1
    Date: 2008–10–17
  15. By: Jason Barr (Rutgers University, Newark, Department of Economics); Troy Tassier (Fordham University, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: There is a large literature in economics and elsewhere on the emergence and evolution of cooperation in the repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma. Recently this literature has expanded to include cooperation in spatial prisoner dilemma games where agents play only with local neighbors in a specified geography. In this paper we explore how the ability of agents to move and choose new locations and new neighbors influences the emergence of cooperation. First, we explore the dynamics of cooperation by investigating agent strategies that yield Markov transition probabilities. We show how different agent strategies yield different Markov chains which generate different asymptotic behaviors in regard to the attainment of cooperation. Second, we investigate how agent movement affects the attainment of cooperation in various spatial networks using agent based simulations.
    Keywords: repeated prisoner’s dilemma, cooperation, agent-based economics, endogenous networks, Markov chains
    JEL: C63 C72 C73 D8
    Date: 2008
  16. By: Lorenzo Sacconi
    Abstract: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is here defined as a multi-stakeholder model of corporate governance and fiduciary duties naturally emerging from a critical assessment of the incomplete contracts view of the firm based on concepts like as authority and residual rights of control. As far as the normative point of view is concerned, multi-stakeholder fiduciary duties are deduced from a theory of the firm’s stakeholders Social Contract. This provide for a clear cut and calculable objective function, a criterion for governance and strategic management no less able to set a bottom-line to the firm management than the profit maximization principle. The theory of co-operative bargaining games, and the Nash bargaining solution in particular, provides the key concepts. By the way this also answers some criticisms raised by Michael Jensen (2001) against the notion of stakeholders value. As far as implementation of the normative model is concerned, four roles of voluntary but explicit CSR norms or social standard are presented in terms of a non-cooperative game theory of implementation. It is shown that they allow the description of strategies and equilibria, even if multiple, in a game played under unforeseen contingencies. Secondly, a CSR norm permits the ex ante selection of the equilibrium point that meets the requirements of an impartial choice. An explicit agreement on a contractarian norm is moreover a way to introduce psychological conformist equilibria, and quite surprisingly to derive the significant result that mixed strategy equilibria are absent in a psychological repeated Trust Game. Lastly, a cognitive and predictive role is played by an agreed CSR norm as the appropriate starting point for an equilibrium selection mechanism that, from a state of predictive uncertainty about possible equilibria, generates a state of mutually consistent expectations consistent with the prediction that all players will converge on the psychological equilibrium fully conforming with the norm as the effective solution of the game.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility,stakeholders, incomplete contracts, social norms, reputations, psychological games, conformity, equilibrium selection
    Date: 2008

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