nep-soc New Economics Papers
on Social Norms and Social Capital
Issue of 2009‒02‒07
fourteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Siena

  1. Networks and Political Attitudes: Structure, Influence, and Co-evolution By Lazer, David; Rubineau, Brian; Katz, Nancy; Chetkovich, Carol; Neblo, Michael A.
  2. Motivations to volunteer and social capital: the role of intrinsic motivations in promoting networks of cooperative relations By Giacomo Degli Antoni
  3. Altruism, Favoritism, and Guilt in the Allocation of Family Resources: Sophie's Choice in Mao's Mass Send Down Movement By Li, Hongbin; Rosenzweig, Mark; Zhang, Junsen
  4. International Migration, Transfers of Norms and Home Country Fertility By Michel, BEINE; FrŽdŽric, DOCQUIER; Maurice, SCHIFF
  5. Total factor productivity, intangible assets and spatial dependence in the European regions By Barbara Dettori; Emanuela Marrocu; Raffaele Paci
  6. The Austrian School on Happiness and Relational Goods By Antonio Magliulo
  7. Conflict Leads to Cooperation in Nash Bargaining By Rozen, Kareen
  8. Elicited Beliefs and Social Information in Modified Dictator Games: What Do Dictators Believe Other Dictators Do? By Nagore Iriberri; Pedro Rey-Biel
  9. Exploring the fit between CSR and innovation By MacGregor, Steven P.; Fontrodona, Joan
  10. Lending a Helping Hand: Voluntary Engagement in Knowledge Sharing By Mergel, Ines; Lazer, David; Binz-Scharf, Maria
  11. Searching for Answers: Networks of Practice among Public Administrators By Lazer, David; Binz-Schaft, Maria; Mergel, Ines
  12. The Happiness of Giving: The Time-Ask Effect By Liu, Wendy; Aaker, Jennifer L.
  13. Internet network externalities By Cooper, Russel; Madden, Gary G
  14. Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India By Jha, Saumitra

  1. By: Lazer, David (Harvard U); Rubineau, Brian (Cornell U); Katz, Nancy (Harvard U); Chetkovich, Carol (Mills College); Neblo, Michael A. (Ohio State U)
    Abstract: How do political views and social affiliations co-evolve? A long stream of research has focused on the relationship between political views and social affiliations, however, it is typically difficult to discern the causal relationship between views and affiliations. Here we use longitudinal attitudinal and whole network data collected at critical times (notably, at the inception of the system) to pinpoint and specify the determinants of attitudes and affiliations. We find significant conformity tendencies: individuals shift their political views toward the political views of their associates. This conformity is driven by social ties rather than task ties. We also find that, while individuals tend to associate with similar others, political views are notably less a basis for associational choices than demographic and institutional factors.
    Date: 2008–09
  2. By: Giacomo Degli Antoni (EconomEtica)
    Abstract: Although intrinsic motivations receive increasing attention in explaining human actions, our knowledge on their causes and effects is incomplete. Quite surprisingly, the existing literature fails to consider the relationship between intrinsic motivations and social capital formation. The present paper increases understanding on the effect of intrinsic motivations by studying the role that different motivations to volunteer have on the creation of volunteers’ social capital which is intended as networks of cooperative relations. Our empirical analysis considers three indices of social capital, aimed at measuring both the quantitative (number) and the qualitative (degree of familiarity and cooperation) character of social relations, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to volunteer (ideal motivations, the desire to feel useful to others, the pursuit of social recognition and the desire to increase the number of acquaintances or friends). We find that the creation of social capital through participation in voluntary associations is not indifferent to the motivations which induced the volunteer to start his/her unpaid activity. In particular, we show that intrinsic motivations enable people to extend their social networks by creating relations characterized by a significant degree of familiarity. By contrast, extrinsic motivations, and in particular the decision to join an association in order to increase the number of acquaintances or friends, promote the creation of networks from a quantitative point of view, but they do not facilitate the creation of relations based on a particular degree of confidence.
    Keywords: Intrinsic Motivations, Social Capital, Volunteer Work, Social Networks
    JEL: A13 D01 L31
    Date: 2009–01
  3. By: Li, Hongbin (Tsinghua U); Rosenzweig, Mark (Yale U); Zhang, Junsen (The Chinese U of Hong Kong)
    Abstract: In this paper, we use new survey data on twins born in urban China, among whom many experienced the consequences of the forced mass rustication movement of the Chinese "cultural revolution," to identify the distinct roles of altruism and guilt in affecting behavior within families. Based on a model depicting the choices of the allocation of parental time and transfers to multiple children incorporating favoritism, altruism and guilt, we show the conditions under which guilt and altruism can be separately identified by experimental variation in parental time with children. Based on within-twins estimates of affected cohorts, we find that parents selected children with lower endowments to be sent down; that parents behaved altruistically, providing more gifts to the sibling with lower earnings and schooling; but also exhibited guilt--given the current state variables of the two children, the child experiencing more years of rustication received significantly higher transfers.
    JEL: J12 J13 O12
    Date: 2008–09
  4. By: Michel, BEINE; FrŽdŽric, DOCQUIER (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Department of Economics); Maurice, SCHIFF
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between international migration and source country fertility. The impact of international migration on source country fertility may have a number of causes, including a transfer of destination countriesÕ fertility norms and an incentive to acquire more education. We provide a rigorous test of the diffusion of fertility norms using original and detailed data on migration. Our results provide evidence of a strong transfer of fertility norms from migrants to their country of origin.
    Keywords: International migration; endogenous fertility; human capital; social norms
    JEL: J13 J61 O11
    Date: 2008–12–15
  5. By: Barbara Dettori; Emanuela Marrocu; Raffaele Paci
    Abstract: In the last decade there has been an upsurge of studies on international comparisons of Total Factor Productivity (TFP). The empirical evidence suggests that countries and regions differ not only in traditional factor endowments (labour and physical capital) but mainly in productivity and technology. Therefore, a crucial issue is the analysis of the determinants of such differences in the efficiency levels across economies. In this paper we try to assess these issues by pursuing a twofold aim. First, we derive a regression based measure of regional TFP which have the nice advantage of not imposing a priori restrictions on the inputs elasticities; this is done by estimating a Cobb-Douglas production function relationship for 199 European regions over the period 1985-2006, which includes the traditional inputs as well as a measure of spatial interdependences across regions. Secondly, we investigate the determinants of the TFP levels by analyzing the role played by intangible factors: human capital, social capital and technological capital. It turns out that a large part of TFP differences across the European regions are explained by the disparities in the endowments of such assets. This outcome indicates the importance of policy strategies which aim at increasing the level of knowledge and social capital as stressed by the Lisbon agenda.
    Keywords: Total factor productivity; human capital; social capital; technology; Europe.
    JEL: R11 O47 O52 C31
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Antonio Magliulo (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche)
    Abstract: Austrian economists do not directly face the problem of the relationships between economics and happiness. They even rather rarely use the word happiness and do not bother to define the philosophical meaning of it referring to Aristotle or to the Enlightenment. They prefer to speak of human welfare: a comprehensive welfare, not limited to the satisfaction of material needs. The problem that they directly face is whether and in what sense non-instrumental human relationships (that is relational goods) can be considered and dealt with as economic goods increasing human welfare. In this way, they indirectly explore the theme of the relationships between economics and happiness.
    Keywords: Austrian School, Economics and Happiness, Well-Being, Relational Goods
    JEL: B13 D60
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Rozen, Kareen (Yale U)
    Abstract: We consider a Nash demand game where N players come to the bargaining table with requests for coalition partners and a potentially generated resource. We show that group learning leads to complete cooperation and an interior core allocation with probability one. Our arguments highlight group dynamics and demonstrate how destructive group behaviors--exclusion, divide and conquer tactics, and scapegoating--can propel groups toward beneficial and self-enforcing cooperation.
    JEL: C7
    Date: 2008–03
  8. By: Nagore Iriberri; Pedro Rey-Biel
    Abstract: We use subjects’ actions in modified dictator games to perform a within-subject classification of individuals into four different types of interdependent preferences: Selfish, Social Welfare maximizers, Inequity Averse and Competitive. We elicit beliefs about other subjects’ actions in the same modified dictator games to test how much of the existent heterogeneity in others’ actions is known by subjects. We find that subjects with different interdependent preferences in fact have different beliefs about others’ actions. In particular, Selfish individuals cannot conceive others being non-Selfish while Social Welfare maximizers are closest to the actual distribution of others’ actions. We finally provide subjects with information on other subjects’ actions and re-classify individuals according to their (new) actions in the same modified dictator games. We find that social information does not affect Selfish individuals, but that individuals with interdependent preferences are more likely to change their behavior and tend to behave more selfishly.
    Keywords: Interdependent preferences, social welfare maximizing, inequity aversion, belief elicitation, social information, experiments, mixture-of-types models
    JEL: C72 C9 D81
    Date: 2008–04
  9. By: MacGregor, Steven P. (IESE Business School); Fontrodona, Joan (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: An exploration of the fit or space between CSR and innovation is presented, based on the RESPONSE project, a 15-month study involving 60 SMEs throughout Europe. The main practical output of the project was the Social Innovation model, yet a conceptual understanding of CSR and innovation is best advanced through the three hypotheses that constitute the conclusions of the project: H1) The diffusion of CSR should be modelled on the diffusion of innovation; H2) CSR implementation and innovation can be configured to form a virtuous circle; and H3) There is a maturity path toward true integration of CSR and innovation. These three hypotheses inform, respectively, on the background, results and development of the project. H1 is framed within the context of the original European Commission call and proposal; H2 ties in with the Social Innovation model; and H3 is discussed in the light of a short case involving a high-performing SME. Since the hypotheses were the result of the project, we do not attempt to prove them here, but discuss their significance, with the idea that further research and community development will fully evaluate their accuracy.
    Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; innovation; small and medium-size enterprises;
    Date: 2008–07–17
  10. By: Mergel, Ines (Harvard U); Lazer, David (Harvard U); Binz-Scharf, Maria (City College of New York, CUNY)
    Abstract: Knowledge is essential for the functioning of every social system, especially for professionals in knowledge-intensive organizations. Since individuals do not possess all the work-related knowledge that they require, they turn to others in search for that knowledge. While prior research has mainly focused on antecedents and consequences of knowledge sharing and understanding why people do not share knowledge, less is known why people provide knowledge, and what conditions trigger voluntary engagement in knowledge sharing. Our paper addresses this gap by proposing a multi-level framework for voluntary engagement in knowledge sharing: individual, relational, group, and informational. We provide illustrations from a particular knowledge-intensive community, DNA forensic scientists who work at public laboratories.
    Date: 2008–10
  11. By: Lazer, David (Harvard U); Binz-Schaft, Maria (City College of New York); Mergel, Ines (Syracuse U)
    Abstract: The obstacles to innovation in government have been the subject of much academic scrutiny. Far less studied, however, has been the sharing of innovation among public administrators. How does a lesson learned, for example, in one agency provide insights that other agencies might borrow? Such sharing of experiences across agency boundaries, while at times potentially offering enormous value to the system as a whole, faces substantial challenges. In the US, one fundamental challenge is the natural dispersion of government across the country, within state and local government. We examine the alternative mechanisms that evolve within the public sector to compensate for this dispersion of expertise. In particular, we argue that the knowledge sharing practices of DNA forensic scientists working in government crime labs constitute such an alternative mechanism. Findings from an in-depth case study of this community suggest that concerns around trust, reliability, and cost, interacting with context specific features, result in the emergence of a network of practice that is fairly parochial, with a few dominant hubs, and a reliance on different channels depending on the needs for security in communication. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
    Date: 2008–10
  12. By: Liu, Wendy (U of California, Los Angeles); Aaker, Jennifer L. (U of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: This research examines how a focus on time versus money can lead to two distinct mindsets that impact consumers' willingness to donate to charitable causes. The results of three experiments, conducted both in the lab and in the field, reveal that asking individuals to think about "how much time they would like to donate" (versus "how much money they would like to donate") to a charity increases the amount that they ultimately donate to the charity. Fueling this effect are differential mindsets activated by time versus money. Implications for the research on time, money and emotional well-being are discussed.
    Date: 2008–08
  13. By: Cooper, Russel; Madden, Gary G
    Abstract: Abstract: A driving force behind the emergence of the ‘new’ or information economy is the growth of the internet network capacity. A fundamental problem in mapping this dynamic is the lack of an acceptable theoretical framework through which to direct empirical investigations. Most of the models in the literature on network externalities have been developed in a static framework, with the externalities viewed as instantaneous or self-fulfilling. The model specified here builds on the received theory from several sources to extend these features and develops a dynamic model that is both capable of econometric estimation and which provides as an output a direct measure of the network effect. Accordingly, the main goal of this paper is to find the magnitude of the external effect on internet network growth. In addition, this paper illustrates the ability of the panel data to generate estimates of structural parameters capable of explaining internet host growth.
    Keywords: Information; network externalities; internet; growth
    JEL: L96
    Date: 2008
  14. By: Jha, Saumitra (Stanford U)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the incentives that shaped Hindu and Muslim interaction in India's towns from the rise of Islam to the rise of European intervention in the 17th century; it argues that differences in the degree to which medieval Hindus and Muslims could provide complementary, non-replicable services and a mechanism to share the gains from exchange has resulted in a sustained legacy of religious tolerance. Due to Muslim-specific advantages in Indian Ocean shipping, incentives to trade across ethnic lines were strongest in medieval trading ports, leading to the development of institutional mechanisms that further supported inter-religious exchange. Using new town-level data spanning India's medieval and colonial history, this paper finds that medieval trading ports were 25 percent less likely to experience a religious riot between 1850-1950, two centuries after Europeans disrupted Muslim dominance in overseas shipping. Medieval trading ports continued to exhibit less widespread religious violence during the Gujarat riots in 2002. The paper shows that these differences are not the result of variation in geography, political histories, wealth, religious composition or of medieval port selection, and interprets these differences as being transmitted via the persistence of institutions that emerged to support inter-religious medieval trade. The paper further characterises these institutions and the lessons they yield for reducing contemporary ethnic conflict.
    JEL: F10 N25 O17 Z12
    Date: 2008–01

This nep-soc issue is ©2009 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.