nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒01‒17
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Let us pray: religious interactions in life satisfaction By Andrew E. Clark; Orsolya Lelkes
  2. Regulation and Distrust By Philippe Aghion; Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc; Andrei Shleifer
  3. Do Strong Family Ties Inhibit Trust? By Ermisch J; Gambetta D
  4. Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education By Antoni Calvó-Armengol; Eleonora Patacchini; Yves Zenou
  5. Bridges in social capital: A review of the definitions and the social capital of social capital researchers By Akcomak, Semih
  6. Social networks in determining migration and labour market outcomes: Evidence from the German Reunification By Rainer H; Siedler T
  7. Environmental Participation and Environmental Motivation By Benno Torgler; María A. García Valiñas; Alison Macintyre
  8. Ethics Auditing and Conflict Analysis as Management Tools By Anu Virovere; Merle Rihma
  9. Immigration and crime: an empirical analysis By Milo Bianchi; Paolo Buonanno; Paolo Pinotti

  1. By: Andrew E. Clark; Orsolya Lelkes
    Abstract: We use recent pooled survey data on 90 000 individuals in 26 European countries to examine religious spillover effects on life satisfaction. Own religious behaviour is positively correlated with individual life satisfaction. More unusually, average religiosity in the region also has a positive impact: people are more satisfied in more religious regions. This spillover holds both for those who are religious and for those who are not. The flipside of the coin is that a greater proportion of "atheists" (those who say they do not currently belong to any religious denomination) has negative spillover effects, for the religious and atheists alike. We last show that both Protestants and Catholics like to live in regions where their own religion is dominant, while Protestants are also more satisfied when Catholics dominate. The generic positive spillover effect of others' religion is not explained by social capital, crime, or trust.
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Philippe Aghion; Yann Algan; Pierre Cahuc; Andrei Shleifer
    Abstract: In a cross-section of countries, government regulation is strongly negatively correlated with social capital. We document this correlation, and present a model explaining it. In the model, distrust creates public demand for regulation, while regulation in turn discourages social capital accumulation, leading to multiple equilibria. A key implication of the model is that individuals in low trust countries want more government intervention even though the government is corrupt. We test this and other implications of the model using country- and individual-level data on social capital and beliefs about government’s role, as well as on changes in beliefs and in trust during the transition from socialism.
    JEL: K2 P5
    Date: 2009–01
  3. By: Ermisch J (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Gambetta D (Nuffield College, Oxfod)
    Abstract: We provide direct evidence that people with strong family ties have a lower level of trust in strangers than people with weak family ties, and argue that this association is causal. We also investigate the mechanisms that underlie this effect, and provide evidence that these revolve around the level of outward exposure: factors that limit exposure limit subjects’ experience as well as motivation to deal with strangers. Our findings are based on experimental data derived from a new design of the ‘trust game’ combined with panel survey data, both drawn from a near-representative sample of the British population.
    Date: 2008–11–18
  4. By: Antoni Calvó-Armengol; Eleonora Patacchini; Yves Zenou (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Stockholm University, IFN, GAINS, and CREAM)
    Abstract: This paper studies whether structural properties of friendship networks affect individual outcomes in education. We first develop a model that shows that, at the Nash equilibrium, the outcome of each individual embedded in a network is proportional to her Katz-Bonacich centrality measure. This measure takes into account both direct and indirect friends of each individual but puts less weight to her distant friends. We then bring the model to the data by using a very detailed dataset of adolescent friendship networks. We show that, after controlling for observable individual characteristics and unobservable network specific factors, the individual’s position in a network (as measured by her Katz-Bonacich centrality) is a key determinant of her level of activity. A standard deviation increase in the Katz- Bonacich centrality increases the pupil school performance by more than 7 percent of one standard deviation.
    Date: 2008–11
  5. By: Akcomak, Semih (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University)
    Abstract: There has been a recent surge of interest in social economics and social capital. Articles on social capital that are published in the last five years constitute more than 60 percent of all articles on social capital. Research on social capital is now massive and spans sociology, economics, management, political science and health sciences. Despite this interest there is still not a consensus on the definition and the measurement of social capital. This paper argues that this is due to lack of interaction between disciplines. The social capital of social capital researchers is low between disciplines. Different from other theories of capital, social capital theory has concurrently been developed by various disciplines and as such, advancements in social capital research could only be achieved by conducting cross-disciplinary research.
    Keywords: Capital, social capital, co-authorship network, network analysis, diffusion processes
    JEL: A13 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Rainer H (School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews); Siedler T (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper empirically examines social network explanations for migration decisions in the context of the German reunification. Using longitudinal data from the German Socio- Economic Panel, we first show that the presence of family and friends in West Germany is an important predictor for the migration hazard rate of East Germans. We then explore whether pre-migration networks have a discernible impact on the economic and social assimilation of East German immigrants in West Germany. We find that East German immigrants are more likely to be employed, and to hold higher-paying jobs, when socially connected to the West prior to emigrating. East Germans immigrants with pre-migration networks also appear to be more integrated into their Western host communities than movers without preexisting social ties.
    Date: 2008–11–13
  7. By: Benno Torgler (Queensland University of Technology); María A. García Valiñas (University of Oviedo); Alison Macintyre (The School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology)
    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: 2008–11
  8. By: Anu Virovere (Institute of Business Administration at Tallinn University of Technology); Merle Rihma (Institute of Business Administration at Mainor Business School)
    Abstract: This paper deals with management tools like conflict analysis and ethics auditing. Ethics auditing is understood as an opportunity and agreement to devise a system to inform on ethical corporate behaviour. This system essentially aims to increase the transparency and credibility of a company’s commitment to ethics. At the same time, the process of elaborating this system allows us to introduce the moral dimension into the company’s actions and decisions, thereby completing a key dimension of the production, maintenance and development of trust capital. Conflicts in organizations are directly or indirectly caused by violation of ethical principles. Both conflict analysis and ethics auditing help to lower the number of conflicts. In the first chapter we give an overview of different ethical management instruments. In the next chapters the ethics auditing process and conflict analysis as a management tool are described. Also their use in managing organizations plus raising levels of motivation and effectiveness is shown.
    Keywords: business ethics, corporate social responsibility, ethics, ethics auditing, conflict, conflicts analyses, social audits, social reporting, organizational effectiveness.
    JEL: M10 M14
    Date: 2008
  9. By: Milo Bianchi (Paris School of Economics); Paolo Buonanno (Università di Bergamo); Paolo Pinotti (Banca d'Italia)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the empirical relationship between immigration and crime across Italian provinces during the period 1990-2003. Drawing on police data, we first document that the size of the immigrant population is positively correlated with the incidence of property crimes and with the overall crime rate. We then use instrumental variables based on migration towards other European countries to identify the causal impact of exogenous changes in the immigrant population of Italy. According to these estimates, immigration increases only the incidence of robberies and has no effect on all other types of crime. Since robberies represent a very small fraction of all criminal offences, the effect on the overall crime rate is not significantly different from zero.
    Keywords: immigration, crime
    JEL: F22 J15 K42 R10
    Date: 2008–12

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